For our patients with asthma and other respiratory conditions, they know that allergens make life less comfortable. So often that means sacrificing for the sake of breathing easier. But no one should have to sacrifice so much as to not know the love of a pet. But what does it mean to have a hypoallergenic pet? Aeroflow Healthcare breaks it down for you.
Never Say Never
If you love animals but hate allergies, you may be tempted to spring for a pricey hypoallergenic pet said to never trigger allergic reactions. But the only pets proven to be hypoallergenic have scaly skin—like iguanas and snakes. But one factor to keep in mind: pets with longer hair may pick up more allergens, such as pollen, when outdoors.
What many pet seekers don’t know is that it’s the saliva, skin, or other proteins, not the dog’s hair per se, that causes allergies. Allergens (particularly saliva proteins) can latch on to the hair, so less shedding in general—rather than the length of the hair—may be helpful.
If you’re thinking it’s safe to go with a short-haired dog, think again. You’ll find short- and long-haired breeds make up the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) list of dogs that can do well with people with allergies.
In general, pet allergens are microscopic particles that can hitch a ride on other air pollutants, including cigarette smoke and stirred-up dust caused by traffic. Experts say that cutting down on indoor air pollution can help stop the circulation of symptom-triggering allergens in your home.
Getting Better With Age
In general, kittens shed more allergens than older cats. And although the levels seem to drop at 6 to 12 months of age, doctors say all cats have the potential to cause allergies.
Here’s a tip for those do-it-yourself groomers with allergies: do the grooming outside the house and you’re not going to stir up as much allergen in a confined space (that is if your allergies and medications allow you to be comfortable outside). It can also help to wipe the animal down with a slightly soapy cloth.
While there’s no rock-solid evidence that smaller pets trigger fewer allergy symptoms than large ones, experts say they probably produce fewer allergens. Simply looking at the numbers, a smaller animal should shed less total than a larger pet.
For more information about respiratory relief, contact Aeroflow Healthcare or check out other Respiratory articles on the Aeroflow blog.