As the Obama family looks for a new hypoallergenic dog to take to the White House (the President-Elect’s oldest daughter suffers from asthma), Nurse Kathleen MacNaughton of about.com reminds us all that there’s really no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog.
“It’s a fact – All dogs have dander, even if they don’t shed,” writes MacNaughton. “It doesn’t matter whether the hair is long or short or even if the dog is hairless. But because dander often attaches to hair, dogs that shed less hair may also shed less dander. Dander is not something you can easily see. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. And even though you can’t see it, it can still trigger asthma symptoms and asthma attacks.”
Some dogs that shed less frequently might be considered hypoallergenic – but their dander will still induce allergy symptoms among those who are sensitive. A fish – which does not have dander – would be a truly hypoallergenic pet.
If you have a pet that causes allergies, you should always keep it out of your bedroom. Bathe the pet weekly to reduce dander. HEPA air cleaners and HEPA vacuums will capture pet dander in the environment.
I recommend placing the air cleaner in your bedroom since this is where you spend most of your time. (Even if you keep pets out of your bedroom, dander will still get into the room; small particles of dander can float in the air for hours at a time!)