Dr. Dolittler

No such thing as ‘non-shedding,’ ‘hypoallergenic’ dogs

 
 
Presidential pooches: Bo, left, and his new 'little sister,' Sunny.
Presidential pooches: Bo, left, and his new 'little sister,' Sunny.
SOUZA / Washington Post

khulyp@bellsouth.net

Q. I can’t stand pet hair and my husband is allergic, so we’re looking for a non-shedding, hypoallergenic dog. I’ve been reading about the Portuguese water dogs President Obama’s family has. Do you recommend them?

Every time the Obamas get a new dog, the Internet goes wild with advice on miraculously non-shedding dogs. The fact is that some dogs shed more and some less, but all dogs shed.

Furthermore, among certain “low-shedding” breeds such as Yorkies, Bischons and Portuguese water dogs, some individuals may shed copiously. Apparently, not every dog reads its breed’s press releases.

Moreover, just because a dog sheds less than most doesn’t mean it won’t require a lot of maintenance — an important point for prospective owners with a serious bias against pet hair who will likely be disgruntled with a “no-shedder” that requires daily brushing and frequent trips to the groomer.

Then there’s the issue of allergies. Low-shedders aren’t always less allergenic. And while some breeds are better suited to those who suffer from allergies, no breed of dog (or cat) is guaranteed to offer you an allergy-free existence. Indeed, within the so-called “hypoallergenic” breeds are plenty of individuals who may trigger your allergies even more profoundly than certain members of other breeds.

In other words, breed alone is not an effective criteria. If you want to be sure your husband won’t have an allergic reaction to an individual animal, he should enclose himself in a room with the candidate for a few hours. Only then will he know whether he’s likely to react adversely.

Dr. Patty Khuly has a veterinary practice in South Miami. Her website is drpattykhuly.com. Send questions to khulyp@bellsouth.net, or Dr. Dolittler, Tropical Life, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172.

Read more Pets stories from the Miami Herald

  • Animal Island: End kitten's biting 'play' with a sock toy

    Q: We adopted a kitten when she was 10 weeks old. She is now 5 months old and loves to be cuddled and is very affectionate. She also likes to grab your arm and hold on with her claws and also bites. One minute she is cuddling with you, and then suddenly she will just bite you. We have tried spraying her with water, which works at that moment, but then she will do it again a short time later. Is this a kitten thing, or is there something we can do to stop this?

  • Talking Dogs: Salutes and tips for owning a canine friend

    Dog lovers had cause to rejoice the last week of August, as the 25th was National Dog Day. This "Howliday" was started in 2004 to encourage the adoption of dogs in shelters - and bring attention to the ridiculously high numbers of such dogs. If you've decided you're ready for the responsibility of owning and caring for a dog, consider finding your new companion at your local shelter or a pure breed rescue organization.

  • What a treat! Your dog might enjoy a kennel stay: study

    Many dog owners have had their vacations marred because they were so worried about how little Scruffy was faring in the boarding kennel back home.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category