October 30, 2017

Dog allergen levels in homes with hypoallergenic compared with non-hypoallergenic dogs

This study looked at homes with dogs considered hypoallergenic and non-hypoallergenic to see if there was truly something as a hypoallergenic dog. Many people now want a hypoallergenic dog which started around the 20th century, however, there haven’t been many studies to determine if this is true or not. The experimenters looked at a variety of dog characteristics and how allergic people were in homes with dogs. There were different classifications of the dogs between purebred and mixed breed dogs to look at the dust levels in homes with major dog allergen, Canis familiaris, or Can f 1. For the experiment, dust samples were collected one month after the initial home visit. If there was a bedroom with a baby in it, that room was analyzed for Can f 1. The dogs were looked at for their breed, number in home, and if the dog was allowed in a baby’s bedroom. The amount of time the dog was indoors was also recorded.

There were four categories that the dogs were put into, but only homes with one dog were taken into account. Scheme A was only purebred dogs that were considered hypo-allergenic. Scheme B was comparing mixed breed dogs with one hypo-allergenic parent and purebred dogs. Scheme C compared purebred and mixed breed dogs with at least one hypoallergenic parent to purebred and mixed breed dogs with no hypoallergenic parent. Scheme D compared only purebred dogs identified as hypoallergenic by the American Kennel Club all other dogs. A labradoodle would be hypoallergenic in schemes B and C and non-hypoallergenic in scheme D.

In terms of results, there were no statistically significant differences in percent of homes with detectable Can f 1 by hypoallergenic status using any of the four classification schemes. “Homes with detectable dog allergen levels, these dog allergen levels did not differ between homes with hypoallergenic dogs versus homes with non-hypoallergenic dogs for any of the four classification schemes, regardless of whether the dog was allowed in the baby's bedroom.” There was also no difference in the Can of 1 found per foot in any of the homes. They then manipulated some of the variables stated before and nothing turned out to be statistically significant. In three of the four schemes where the dog was not allowed in the bedroom there were slightly less levels of Can f 1, but again nothing statistically significant. None of the dog’s characteristics seemed to impact the levels of Can f 1.

The experiment did have some flaws. The amount of time spent in the baby’s bedroom was hard to record. This means that it was hard to determine if the status of Can f 1 was related to hypo-allegenicity or solely amount of time in bedroom. They also stated results could have been better with a larger sample size. They also looked at their team to look at the dogs when they are not trained professionals, however what they were looking for was more in terms of environmental and biological factors.

Overall, people shouldn’t rely solely on the word hypoallergenic to determine if there will be less of an allergen being brought into a home. Therefore, additional research should be done. These findings can be translated to the labradoodle because the main marketing for the labradoodle is the fact that it is hypo-allergenic, although this study proves this to be false. 

Nicholas, Charlotte E. et al. “Dog Allergen Levels in Homes with Hypoallergenic Compared with Nonhypoallergenic Dogs.” American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy 25.4 (2011): 252–256. PMC. Web. 31 Oct. 2017.

Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21819763

Reviewed by Samantha Wapnick