October 31, 2014
Hypoallergenic Pets?
Ask the Experts

Hypoallergenic Pets?

by Berkeley Wellness  |  

Q: Are there “hypoallergenic” dog breeds, such as those with short hair? What about various types of cats?

A: You may have heard that poodles or Chihuahuas or certain breeds of cat won’t make you sneeze, but there’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic breed. The allergens come from the pet’s saliva and secretions of oil glands, which are transferred to humans when they touch the animal or when its hair or dander (microscopic skin flakes) become airborne.

Even a completely hairless animal produces saliva and skin secretions. It’s possible that the allergens of one particular breed of dog or cat might affect you less than others, but figuring this out can be difficult. Male pets tend to produce more allergenic secretions than females.

Cats are more likely to cause allergies than dogs, probably because they groom themselves more often.