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Hypoallergenic Dogs Aren't

by Guy McCardle

July 10, 2011

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Donate We all know that one dog lover who is allergic to dogs. Chances are when they were looking for a canine friend they did their homework and told you all about those new designer breeds (labradoodles, Aussie-Poos and the like). These specialty "hypoallergenic" puppies can go for $2,000 and up. The problem is, no dogs are truly hypoallergenic. Read on to find out why.

Henry Ford Hospital Researchers have recently concluded a study that will be published online later this month in the American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy. "We found no scientific basis to the claim hypoallergenic dogs have less allergen," says Christine Cole Johnson, Ph.D., MPH, chair of Henry Ford's Department of Public Health Sciences and senior author of the study. She went on to state that based on earlier research done at their facility they have learned that exposure to a dog early in life provides protection against dog allergy development.

Dust samples were analyzed in 173 homes one month after a newborn baby was brought home. Samples were collected from the flooring of the child's room. Sixty breeds of dogs were involved in the study, 11 of which were generally considered to be hypoallergenic. The researchers found no significant difference in allergen levels in homes with hypoallergenic dogs vs those with non-hypoallergenic breeds. In homes where the dog was not allowed in the baby's bedroom, the allergen level for hypoallergenic dogs was actually slightly higher compared to allergen levels of non-hypoallergenic dogs.

This study does have acknowledged limitations. The sample size was not large enough to allow analysis and comparison of specific breeds, and the amount of time a dog spent in a child's bedroom was not precisely recorded. However, the findings were strong enough for researchers to inform parents not to rely on hypoallergenic claims when considering a pet for their child with allergies.

by Guy McCardle

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