It's every dog lover's nightmare: having an allergy to your favorite pet. Fortunately, there are dogs that bother you less, but is the Labrador Retriever also part of it?
The question whether Labrador Retrievers cause allergies to humans is unfortunately less easy to answer than you might think, in fact, no dog is hypoallergenic. However, there are individual dogs that spread fewer allergens, but we'll talk about that later.
Labradors are not hypoallergenic dogs, and most are therefore not suitable for allergy sufferers. Labradors' favorite activity, swimming, can help reduce the spread of allergens.
There are certain properties in dogs that can reduce your allergy. In addition, you can reduce allergens in your home by keeping the dog and your house clean.
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Does a Labrador Retriever Cause Less Allergies in a Human?
Many people assume that only breeds that do not shed can be suitable for allergy sufferers. This could be true in theory, as they shed less hair and dirt than dogs with normal coat.
However, an allergy is mainly caused by certain proteins in the skin and in the saliva of the dog. These proteins are actually present in every dog, so that no dog would in principle be suitable for people with an allergy to dogs.
Scientists for example, found no difference in the presence of these allergens in dogs of different breeds. So-called hypoallergenic varieties also appeared to carry the allergens with them and spread just as much as other varieties.
A strange trend you may not expect is that some of the Labradors in the study seemed to spread far fewer allergens than other dogs. So how much you suffer from your allergy has little to do with the breed or coat type, but more with the individual dog.
The scientists couldn't explain why some dogs spread so much less allergens. However, they think that a lot of swimming reduces the amount of allergens on the dog. And swimming is of course something that Labrador Retrievers love.
Of course it can also have something to do with specific genes in the dog. Scientists may one day find out whether there are genes that ensure that the dog carries fewer allergens.
Until then, it is better to see how you react to a specific dog. In that respect, a Labrador can suit you just as well as a Labradoodle.
How to Reduce Allergens on the Dog and in the Environment
Do you have a Labrador or do you really want one and do you or someone close to you have an allergy? The last thing you want is of course that you have to say goodbye to your four-legged friend.
In some cases this will be the best solution for allergy sufferers to avoid serious health problems.
However, there are ways to reduce the amount of allergens in your home. Until now, we couldn't find anything that completely eliminates allergens from your home, but the following measures are definitely worth trying before looking for a new home for your buddy.
- One of these ways is to bathe the dog regularly. And by regular we mean really regular. According to a scientific study, you can reduce the amount of allergens in the dog by washing it twice a week. However, use a gentle shampoo when you bathe the dog so often so you don't damage its skin. For example, use the Burt's Bees Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoo.
- Don't let the dog sleep in your bedroom. If you have a large house, it is even better to keep the dog out of the living room, but not everyone has the luxury of doing this. Your dog must of course have enough room to move and enough contact with other people.
- Keep your house clean, with a vacuum cleaner that has a good filter. This ensures that there is no dust, hair and skin flakes in your house that can be blown around. This way you can reduce a large part of the complaints. This vacuum cleaner from Bissell, for example, flawlessly sucks up all hair and dust from your house. At the same time, strong filters in the vacuum cleaner ensure that the dust remains in the vacuum cleaner and does not swirl around your house.
- Install a HEPA air filter in your home. A high efficiency particulate air filter air purifier can filter out a large part of the allergens in your home. Other allergens that you can suffer from if you have sensitive airways are also removed from the air by this filter. Such a filter is therefore a good purchase anyway if you suffer from asthma, for example. A well-priced air filter that you can simply put in your home without complicated installation is that of TaoTronics.
- Soft fabric carpets and sofas look great in the home, but they are not the most convenient of choices for allergy sufferers. A (fake) leather sofa is much easier to clean, and carpets are real dust catchers that you actually want to avoid.
Is a Puppy or Adult Labrador Better If You are Allergic?
Many people prefer a Labrador puppy, because it is fun to experience this period and you can still adjust the dog to your own liking.
However, as we explained earlier, every dog is different when it comes to spreading allergens. That is why it is often better for someone with an allergy to purchase an adult dog.
For example, you can temporarily take in a relocation or shelter dog to see if this dog is right for you. Of course, discuss this with the organization or person who is relocating the dog. After all, you must be able to give the dog back if it turns out not to go well.
You can often not just give a puppy back and it is very sad if you eventually have to find a new owner for the puppy.
If you want to maximize the chances of success, it might be an idea to reconsider your choice of breed. Small dogs that do not shed, for example, are easier to wash and they leave less dirt.
Whatever you do, always think carefully about your choice and never just bring a dog into your home. Not even if it is advertised as ‘hypoallergenic'. Chances are that you will have an allergic reaction, after which you may have to find a new owner for the dog.
Always take the time to find a dog that suits you.