Few things in life are stronger and more special than the bond between a pet and its owner. However, sometimes physical complications such as allergies make it difficult if not impossible to own a dog or cat. Because of this, many breeders are now claiming certain breeds of dogs such as labradoodles, shih tzus and certain terriers have the ability to be allergen-free. Yet, many in the medical field have their doubts as to these claims. To find out the truth, a recent study was conducted to determine how much truth there is to the idea of an allergen-free dog.
In the city of Detroit, a group of researchers set out to discover how much is fact and how much is fiction regarding the allergen-free debate. In doing so, 173 homes having only one dog were visited and examined by them in search of canis familiaris 1, the most common cause of allergies to dogs. A protein in the dog’s saliva, the researchers vacuumed the home’s floors and made an astonishing discovery. Whether a home had a dog labeled as hypoallergenic or not, the allergen was in all but 10 of the homes, and the amount found was practically the same.
While it was unclear if any specific breed produced any more or less allergen than another, it was determined that dogs considered hypoallergenic produced the same amount of canis familiaris 1 as other dogs. Surprisingly, the study found the allergen existed at higher levels in homes having dogs who had been spayed or neutered. Homes with carpeted floors usually had more canis familiaris 1 that those with wood or tile floors, and it was also determined the dog’s owners could limit the allergen by restricting the dogs to certain rooms of the home.
Homes where dogs were kept exclusively outside had less allergens that those with indoor dogs, but keeping a dog outside does not completely eliminate the allergen. Perhaps the most stunning find in the study was that canis familiaris 1 was present in more than 50% of homes having no dogs. Researchers attributed this to the probability that dogs had lived in the home at some time in the past. So for those hoping to find the so-called “hypoallergenic breeds” which will be allergen-free, this study suggests that will not be the case. As with most things in life, there is no free ride.