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"Based on these results it may be better to simply pick a dog you love and actively remove as much of the allergens as possible," says AllerAir Air Quality Expert Stephanie Bristow.
It's a blow to allergic dog-lovers everywhere...it seems the concept of a so-called "hypoallergenic" dog is a myth.
Researchers at Henry Ford Hospital says their study revealed that "hypoallergenic"dogs do not have lower household allergen levels than other dogs.
Hypoallergenic dogs are believed to produce less dander and saliva and shed less fur.
"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.
"Based on previous allergy studies conducted here at Henry Ford, exposure to a dog early in life provides protection against dog allergy development. But the idea that you can buy a certain breed of dog and think it will cause less allergy problems for a person already dog-allergic is not borne out by our study."
This is believed to be the first time researchers measured environmental allergen associated with hypoallergenic dogs. Previous studies analyzed hair samples from only a handful of dogs in a small number of breeds.
Henry Ford researchers analyzed dust samples collected from 173 homes one month after a newborn was brought home. The dust samples were collected from the carpet or floor in the baby's bedroom and analyzed for the dog allergen Can f 1. Only homes with one dog were involved in the study. Sixty dog breeds were involved in the study, 11 of which are considered hypoallergenic dogs.
While researchers acknowledged limitations in their study – the amount of time the dog spent in the baby's bedroom was not recorded and the size of its sample did not allow looking at specific breeds – they say parents should not rely on dog breeds classified as hypoallergenic.
"Based on these results it may be better to simply pick a dog you love and actively remove as much of the allergens as possible," says AllerAir Air Quality Expert Stephanie Bristow. "An ideal mix of preventive measures would be the use of a high efficiency air purifier for airborne allergens, and a good cleaning regime that involves washing bedding once a week in warm to hot water (whatever the fabric permits) and using a HEPA vacuum."
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