The word “Hypoallergenic” is a term frequently used by the people of the dog community, a term especially related to those with allergies. If you are a person with allergies and when you want to bring home a Labrador, you might be curious to know whether it is hypoallergenic or not?
This article is out of my personal experience, as i am a person with allergies and i live my life with a Labrador retriever.
This article gives you answers for various questions such as, Are Labs hypoallergenic? Do Labradors cause allergies? Are black Labs hypoallergenic? What about chocolate and yellow Labs? and also, How to manage life if you have both allergies and a Labrador?
Are Labs hypoallergenic?
If you want me to answer the basic question, “Are Labradors hypoallergenic?” Factually, No. They are not hypoallergenic.
They shed their coats seasonally and almost regularly, hence they cannot be considered hypoallergenic. Hence Labradors come under the category of non-hypoallergenic breeds.
Does this mean you cannot have a Lab if you have allergies? Before knowing this answer, you have to understand a little more about the word hypoallergenic.
What are hypoallergenic dogs?
When you observe the word hypoallergenic, it consists of two terms, hypo and allergenic. The term Hypo means under or inadequate. Hence the word hypoallergenic means, something that is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.
And it does not mean that it does not create an allergic reaction at all, it means the reaction can be unlikely. Thus hypoallergenic pets are pets that go well with people suffering from allergies.
The hypoallergenic dogs are believed to release fewer allergens and are preferred by people with allergies.
But why does an allergic reaction occur?
An allergic reaction is nothing but a protective mechanism initiated by the immune system to protect the body from foreign substances. If this precautionary reaction is excessive in nature it can cause health difficulties.
Many people are allergic to dogs. What does it mean when they are allergic to dogs? The allergic reaction may be due to many things such as dog dander, its fur, its saliva and also urine.
Do you know that only in the United States, there are roughly three in 10 people with allergies that have allergic reactions to cats and dogs? Hence allergy sufferers who want a dog prefer these dogs, the so-called hypoallergenic dogs.
The truth about hypoallergenic dogs
When a person is allergic to a dog, what does it mean? It means that some substance is triggering the allergic reaction. What is the substance that is causing an allergic reaction here?
The substance here is the animal protein that triggers the reaction in people with sensitive immune systems. The animal protein is harmless and is present in the dog’s saliva, urine and dander.
When the harmless protein enters the human body via air, urine droplets or the dog’s saliva, the body mistakes the protein for an evil invader and starts producing a reaction. The major dog allergen responsible for allergic reaction in the human body is called Can f 1.
According to research in 2012, in order to determine if hypoallergenic breeds produce less Can f 1, various samples of loose hair and coat from the dog were taken, also the settled floor and airborne dust samples were taken.
The results of the research regarding the number of allergens between hypoallergenic and non-allergenic breeds came out to be quite surprising. The houses with hypoallergenic breeds contained more Can f 1 in coat and hair samples than other non-hypoallergenic breeds.
Hence the study declared that there is no evidence for the classification of certain dog breeds as being hypoallergenic.
But why people classify some dogs as hypoallergenic?
All dogs produce dander and saliva, but there exist differences in their degree of production. Many people think of dog fur as the main culprit for these allergic reactions. But in most of the cases, the main substance that triggers an allergic reaction in people is the pet dander.
What is pet dander exactly?
Pet dander is composed of tiny particles of skin that is shed from animals with fur or feathers. This dander is mostly attached to the pet hair at the bottom.
Hence in case of non-shedding breeds, the hair does not fall and the dander is not released into the environment These non-shedding dog breeds do not release dander into the air and it is not inhaled by the allergic person.
But the lack of loss of hair cannot qualify the pet as completely non-allergic. Different dogs have differences in protein production and cause a different degree of reaction in people, this is true even though the dog belongs to the same breeds. Thus even dogs of the same breed can cause a different degree of allergic reactions in an allergic person for reasons unknown.
Hence no dog is completely hypoallergenic. The fact is that some dogs that don’t shed, which are considered to be hypoallergenic, go well with people who are allergic to the pet dander. Here, in this case, the hair does not fall and the allergic reaction does not occur.
Have a look at the hypoallergenic dogs list
These are some of the dogs that are considered hypoallergenic, as they are mostly low shedding dogs.
American Hairless Terrier
Irish Water Spaniel
Portuguese Water Dog
What about a Lab? Can’t you own it if you have allergies?
Is a Labrador good for allergies? If you are a person with severe allergies Labrador retriever may not be the best option for you. Because Labradors come under the category of double coated dogs and they shed a considerable amount of fur.
You may have a doubt, Do Labs shed a lot?. As a Labrador owner, and with the experience of raising many Labs i can surely tell that Labradors shed a lot.
A person who is very sensitive to the pet dander and other allergic substances might not be comfortable with a Lab.
Even though too many allergic reactions do not occur to me, i have pet allergies. But there are ways to manage life without any problem even if you have a breed like Labrador, these are the ways how i avoid allergic reactions.
1. Brush your Labrador regularly to keep him free of dead hair and reduce the amount of regular shedding. Regular grooming can remove the dead cells and dead hair from your pet, its better to comb your dog outside while wearing a mask.
A de-shedding tool like Furminator helps in removing the loose hair and undercoat without hurting your dog’s skin. This helps in reducing a considerable amount of shedding. Find out ways to stop Labrador hair fall in our article.
2. It is always to better to invest in a Vacuum cleaner to remove all the fur present in the house. Regular cleaning of the house using a vacuum cleaner can make the house free from dog fur and dander.
3. Avoid heavy carpets and furniture that attracts fur and dander easily. A heavy carpet in the house can be the biggest reservoir for your dog’s dander.
4. Train your Lab not to get on your bed, as you sleep on the bed for almost 8 hours a day, it is important to keep it allergen free.
5. Bath your Lab properly with a proper massage to loosen the dead cells while bathing. Loose dead cells get easily washed away during your pet bath.
6. Do not bath your Lab more frequently, as it dries out its skin and causes dry flakes to fall off excessively.
7. An Air cleaner will work very well for people with allergies. Hence it is wise to invest in an air cleaner to keep the air quality in your room at good standards.
8. Finally, do not forget to clean your Lab’s bedding and toys and it can trap dander and also its saliva which can cause allergic reactions.
What about Labradors of different colors?
These are some other common questions i frequently hear. Are black Labs hypoallergenic? Are chocolate Labs hypoallergenic? and even people ask me whether yellow Labs are hypoallergenic?
Firstly i want to tell you that, Even though the coat color differs between all the three Labs, the basic nature of the coat does not vary between them.
So, whether it is a black Lab, yellow Lab or a chocolate one, the non-hypoallergenic nature of the coat is similar to every Lab irrespective of its coat color.
Hence “No”, Labs of all colors are not hypoallergenic.
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