If you or someone in your household has a pet allergy, bringing a dog into the house comes with a lot of questions and concerns. You may have heard that some dogs, like Australian Shepherds, are hypoallergenic and can be introduced to an allergic person with no problem. But is that really true?
Unfortunately, it is not true. Australian Shepherds are not hypoallergenic and can potentially cause allergic reactions in those with dog allergies. In fact, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog or cat.
Australian Shepherds, in particular, would not be the ideal choice for someone allergic to dogs because they shed about as much as the average dog. Plus, their double coat means that they shed extra during shedding seasons, so loose tufts of dog hair are not exactly a rarity when an Australian Shepherd is around.
What Does Hypoallergenic Mean?
The term hypoallergenic is often used to indicate that something is entirely void of allergens, but this is not an accurate description. In fact, hypoallergenic is not a descriptor monitored by the FDA when it comes to cosmetics and other products, and it rarely means that an object is genuinely free of allergens.
Hypoallergenic, more accurately, is meant to describe something less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Still, there is no guarantee that no reaction will be caused.
Why Are Some Pets Called Hypoallergenic?
Some people claim that certain breeds of dogs are hypoallergenic, but we have already seen that there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic pet. So, why are some pets called hypoallergenic?
Usually, different dog breeds receive this label because they shed infrequently. However, pet allergens are not limited to a pet’s fur but can also be found in their saliva and urine. So, while reduced shedding may decrease the pet allergens around you, it cannot eliminate them.
How Do You Know if You Have a Pet Allergy?
A pet allergy is a reaction to specific proteins found in your dog’s skin cells, spit, or urine. Dander, or dead flakes of skin, is most often the cause of allergic reactions.
Symptoms of a pet allergy include a variety of nasal issues. These can be sneezing, nasal congestion, a runny nose, an itchy nose or throat, irritated eyes, coughing, and pain in your face. If you have other respiratory issues, such as asthma, you may also experience trouble breathing, wheezing sounds while breathing, difficulty sleeping, and chest pain or tightness.
Your skin may also show signs of an allergen. You may break out in hives, experience itchy skin, or develop eczema.
While no pets are truly hypoallergenic, allergens do not have to stand in the way of you adopting a pet. Some medicines and treatments can help you manage your allergies while bringing an Australian Shepherd into your home. Before making that decision, talk to your doctor to decide the best course of action for you, your family, and your pet.
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