Hypoallergenic Dogs & Cats . . . Fact or Fiction?
Stories have been making the rounds for years about certain breeds of cats or dogs being hypoallergenic. The breeds referred to are always those with no hair, little hair, or that do little shedding. It is unfortunate that these stories are not factual.
All breeds of cats and dogs…purebred, crossbreed or random breed … cause allergic reactions, however, it is possible for an occasional kitten or puppy from any litter of any given breed to be relatively free of problem causing allergens, thus giving the illusion that the breed is hypoallergenic. This accidental happening is usually the source of the misinformation that follows it.
Any animal with fur or feathers can trigger an allergic reaction. These include cats, dogs, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets, mice, rats and birds. Cats are by far the worst offenders, followed by rabbits and dogs.
Being allergic does not necessarily mean that you can’t have a pet or that you must give up one you already have. Learning more about minimizing pet-related allergies and making some minor adjustments will frequently solve your problem.
It is frequently possible for allergic persons to live comfortably with a cat, a dog or any other furred or feathered pet if they will make an honest effort and commitment to care for their pet on a regular basis.
THE PET-RELATED ALLERGENS
DANDER: The first major pet-related allergen, especially associated with dogs, is dander, probably because it is easy to see on the hair. Dander, another name for the dead skin cells that animals shed, is indeed an important allergen. All warm-blooded pets, regardless of hair length, produce dander that can trigger allergic reactions. The principal difference between dander and the following allergens is its relatively heavy weight. Dander falls to the floor or furniture rather quickly, as opposed to Fel d1 which floats interminably in the air where it can be inhaled deeply into the airways of the lungs.
FeL d1. THE CAT ALLERGEN: Almost four out of five persons who are allergic to animals are allergic to cats. You can be virtually certain that their problem is from Fel d1.
Fel d1 is deposited onto the skin and coat both from the secretions of the sebaceous glands and from the cat’s saliva during its self-cleaning process. . . more by male cats than by females. The highest concentrations of Fel d1 are generally found around the genitalia and the base of the tail but. because a cat’s self-cleaning is an on-going process for most of the day, it is found over the entire animal. As the Fel d1 (microscopic in size and invisible to the eye) dries on the skin and hair, it is carried into the environment by currents of air.
Fel d1 is an extremely potent allergen, capable of triggering an allergic reaction almost instantly. Continually airborne, it is inhaled with every breath. This is why a reaction can occur within a few minutes after entering a home inhabited by a cat.
SALIVA AND URINE: Along with dander and Fel d1, the proteins from saliva, urine and other body secretions are other major sources of pet allergens. While they are not as potent as Fel d1, it is of utmost concern that these allergens be cleansed from the hair as often as possible. Regarding dogs: research has shown several breeds of dogs to have breed-specific allergens, however, no single breed has yet been found to be more or less allergenic than any other.
BIRDS: The major bird allergen comes from the powdery feather dust that coats bird feathers. Being caged does not prevent birds from scattering this dust into the atmosphere as they flutter their wings, preen themselves and move about. To minimize this, apply Allerpet Pet Dander Remover using a trigger spry bottle to mist the bird as you would with water, spraying away from the head and towards the tail.
SMALL ANIMALS: Even though rodents and most rabbits are caged, their major allergens are derived from urine, saliva and dander. Apply Allerpet Pet Dander Remover or Allerpet Cat Dander Remover as described below. Dry thoroughly with a towel. Frequent cage cleaning, fresh bedding and good ventilation are all important sanitary and health measures.
THE ALLERPET SOLUTION
THE FIRST APPLICATION of Allerpet can usually be done by the allergic person, however, if he or she is very sensitive, it is better to have it performed by someone else.
If your pet is small enough, especially if it is a cat, let it lay on your lap on a terrycloth towel where it will feel secure.
Use a fine or medium toothed comb for cats and a pin or slicker brush for dogs to remove as much dead hair as possible. Break apart any mats or tangles with your fingers before you start.
Wet a washcloth with just enough Allerpet to make it damp, but not enough to drip when lightly squeezed. Use Allerpet Pet Dander Remover for all pets (or Allerpet Cat Dander Remover for cats, rabbits and small animals or Allerpet Dog Dander Remover) to cleanse the animal by running the cloth both with and against the lay of the hair, making certain to get down to the skin…parting long or thick hair with your fingers to reach the skin.
Pay more attention to the areas that pets lick most often: around the genitalia and the base of the tail where urine residue/allergens tends to collect.
ALLERPET IS NOT A CURE ALL . . .
But, more often than not, it can help you live more comfortably with your pet by removing its pet-related allergens before they have a chance to enter into your home environment.
Subsequent applications should be applied once a week as described above. It is safe to use Allerpet more often if necessary. Brushing or combing is not necessary before every application, but all dogs and cats should be kept free of tangles and dead hair for both your health and your pet’s. Concerned care is part of responsible pet ownership.
Bathing your pet is an alternative to using Allerpet. It will definitely help, but is usually not as effective because of the needed preparations and the experience necessary to properly give a bath, but especially the knowledge of how to rinse the animal thoroughly. The need to go through this process on a weekly basis is a necessity, particularly in the case of cats. Weekly bathing without conditioning tends to dry out the coat and leave excessive dander after a period of time. Over-conditioning oils the coat, attracting dirt and allergens. A big advantage of Allerpet is that you can apply it while watching TV or just relaxing. Cats and small dogs love the grooming.
Wash your hands after handling your pet (or any animal). Try not to touch your face, especially your eyes or nose until you have done so.
Equally important is controlling the dust mite allergens contained on your sheets, pillow cases and blankets. It is these allergens which are so deeply inhaled. Studies have shown that washing your bedding in very hot water (140 degrees F) will kill most, if not all dust mites. Unfortunately this temperature is safely attainable only in commercial washers. This water temperature also tends to be very hard on fabrics and their colorings.
Eliminating dust mite allergens from your bedding adds significantly to control beyond that of using encasements only. DeMite Laundry Additive can achieve this control by eliminating virtually all dust mite allergens when washing your bedding and undergarments in cool, warm or hot water.
Central Air Conditioning plays a major role in asthma and to a lesser degree may be related to many indoor allergy problems. Indoor air in today’s energy-efficient, closed environment homes is brimming with microscopic allergens, from dust mite allergens to pet dander, pollens and more, all bottled up with nowhere to go. And to make matters worse, this same air is being constantly recirculated throughout the house. If you are considering the purchase a central air conditioner, be certain that it contains a high efficiency filtration system to reduce these allergens as much as possible and to control other airborne bacteria.
As an alternative to central air conditioning, your doctor may recommend using an air cleaner in the bedroom and other rooms to reduce the levels of allergens circulating throughout your home. Air cleaners are effective only on airborne particles, not those that have built up in your carpets, upholstered furniture and bedding.
A quality free-standing air cleaner will greatly reduce irritating allergens in the room of your choice. Always choose one with a true HEPA air cleaner or filter. HEPA cleaners can be a tremendous help in purifying the air. High Efficiency Particulated Air purifiers have the capacity to filter out particles that others miss. A “true” HEPA filter must be able to capture particles of at least .3 microns in size with 99.97 percent efficiency. Anything less efficient is not a true HEPA filter and should only be referred to as a ‘HEPA TYPE’ air cleaner.
Choose washable curtains and/or shades that are easy to launder or maintain. Avoid long or heavy drapes and Venetian or other kinds of vertical slatted blinds that attract dust and allergens.
Replace feather pillows with pillows stuffed with synthetics. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning. If the pillow is washable, launder it regularly adding DeMite Laundry Additive to the water, then tumble it dry in a warm dryer.
Vacuum around the base of your bed weekly. Remember to vacuum under the bed and to dust the bed frame frequently. All beds throughout the house should be cared for in this manner.
Conventional vacuums do not retain microscopic particles such as dust mite allergens, the cat allergen Fel d 1, animal dander and pollen which are found in carpets by the billions. Yes, they do pick them up, but they immediately recirculate them back into the air you breathe because they are not physically capable of retaining ultra small particles. Their filtering systems usually retain only particles 50 microns or larger, not small enough to collect those that are creating your problems. You should always use a vacuum with true HEPA filtration. You can, however, turn a standard vacuum into an allergen fighter by changing to double-lined, high-efficiency vacuum bags that augment filtration. These are generally available for most upright and canister models.
Carpets are allergen reservoirs. They collect them at one hundred times the rate of bare floors. As carpets get older, they begin to harbor more and more allergens . . . dust mite exoskeletons and fecal pellets, animal danders, Fel d 1, house dust, mold growths and outdoor pollens. Bare surfaces, such as hard wood floors or inlaid tiles with washable throw rugs are big deterrents to allergen build-up and are much easier to keep clean than carpets
If removal of carpeting is not an option, be certain that it is vacuumed frequently. Work against the pile, stroking several times over each area, overlapping movements to capture as many allergens as possible. Wear a protective mask unless someone else does the vacuuming. The ‘sufferer’ should stay out of the area for one-half hour to let the air settle.