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Pets that are less likely to be allergy producers may be a good family choice

Good choices for allergy sufferers: Devon Rex, left, and Maltese
Good choices for allergy sufferers: Devon Rex, left, and Maltese

Everybody knows children love dogs and cats. Problems arise, however, if kids are allergic to the family pet. No parent wants their child to have to endure a series of allergy tempering shots so the family can keep Fido or Fluffy. Neither does anyone want to have to think about giving away the family pet because their child is allergic to it.

Some common sense solutions may help. Frequent cleaning to eliminate pet hair, dander and other pet presence can help. In addition to vacuuming and frequently laundering surfaces where pets rest, such as designated pet beds or blankets, closing doors to children’s rooms will help keep pet allergens out. If climate and weather permits, pets can spend time outside, too.

In the house, using a heap air filter on heating and cooling systems traps most pet dander and hair in the air. Not only do these filters eliminate pet issues, they filter out other air impurities, helping everybody breathe cleaner air.

Now, results from a new study have found which breeds of dogs and cats are less likely to contribute to the symptoms of animal allergies, such as runny noses, and itch eyes. The effort was sponsored by Kaz Inc. of Southborough, Mass., which makes the Doctor’s Choice True HEPA Air Purifier under the Honeywell trademark.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America found that 15 to 30 percent of Americans are allergic to cats or dogs, said Ted Myatt, a senior scientist at Environmental Health and Engineering in Needham, Mass., which participated in the report.

"It’s important to note that no breed of dogs and cats has been proven to be truly hypoallergenic,” Myatt said, "but studies suggest that some may be more allergen-friendly than others.”

The breeds singled out as Allergen All Stars tend to be smaller, are known to shed less or not shed, and possess shorter coats or fur that produces less dander.
They include:

• Bedlington terrier

• Devon Rex cat

• Irish water spaniel
• Italian greyhound

• Javanese cat

• Labradoodle

• Labrador retriever

• Maltese

• Schnauzer

• Yorkshire terrier

• Iguana
Labrador retrievers, a large breed, made the allergen-friendly list because they love to swim and their frequent dips limit allergen concentrations in their hair.

Reptiles are suggested as an alternative for people allergic to dander, saliva or urine produced by dogs and cats.
The list is by no means complete or totally scientific, and parents are cautioned to consult a child’s pediatrician if they suspect a child has allergies. Specific allergy testing can help pinpoint actual causes, which may or may not be pet related.

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