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First Family Will Have Tough Time Finding Hypoallergenic Dog
Date:11/14/2008

in. Even if you shaved off all their hair, you'd still have skin flakes and saliva," Field said.

If someone with a pet allergy doesn't already have a dog, the expert advice is to not get one.

But there may be some breeds that are better than others (in terms of allergies), and there are some steps you can take to minimize exposure and symptoms:

  • "At least try to keep the dog out of the bedrooms, since we spend most of our time sleeping in our bedroom, especially children," Phipatanakul advised. Still, she warned, pet dander is going to be everywhere: on clothes, furniture, and even transferred to schools.
  • Bathe and groom the dog once a week: There is some evidence that more frequent washing removes some of the dander, at least temporarily.
  • Keep HEPA air filters (with double bags) on 24/7, especially in the bedroom.
  • See an allergist or immunologist to diagnose the allergy and discuss treatment options.
  • Replace carpeting with solid-surface flooring.
  • Look for breeds with shorter hair and less shedding. "Those that tend to keep their coat year around are a better bet in general," Field said. The "golden doodle" and other breeds that end in "oodle" aren't "100 percent hypoallergenic but are much less allergenic," added Chris Ashton, co-founder and president of Petplan Insurance in Philadelphia and pet parent to Wellington (3-year-old Cavalier) and Bodey (7-year-old Birman).
  • Once you've have a breed in mind, find someone who owns such a dog, spend the weekend with them, and see how you do, Field advised. "That'll be harder with the Secret Service following you everywhere, but you want to be in a house where their hair has infiltrated the bedding, as opposed to spending an hour or two in a pet store," he said.

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