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THE TRUTH ABOUT ALLERGIES

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Many people mistakenly believe they cannot own a dog or cat if they have asthma or allergies or are first time parents.  However, recent medical research has suggested that young children and babies brought up in pet owning families may have a reduced risk of developing asthma or allergies.

Not all people with allergies necessarily have a reaction to animals, and some people may be allergic to cats and but not dogs (or vice versa).

Most people are not allergic to cat or dog hair, but rather they react to the dander - the dead skin cells shed by the animal. Some people react to a protein in animals' saliva and this can potentially cause problems for some cat owners as cats self-groom by licking their fur.

Washing a pet once a week will dramatically reduce airborne allergens. It is important that the pet is groomed outside the house to prevent the spread of the allergens.

The amount of allergen in the home can also be reduced by keeping the pet on hard-floor surface, away from the allergic person's bedroom and regularly vacuuming furniture and floors. Make sure your vacuum cleaner is fitted with high-quality filters to capture dander. 

Some people believe that there are breeds of dog or cat that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction, but this is not always the case.

Poodles, Bichon Frise and Bedlington Terriers have a wool-like coat which does not shed hair but will still shed dander.  These breeds need to be clipped on a regular basis and those considering purchasing one of these breeds because of its coat type should carefully consider the other characteristics and requirements of the dog.


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Devon Rex
The Cornish Rex and Devon Rex cat breeds also have a non-shedding coat but owners will need to keep the cat mainly indoors. Some people are only allergic to new dogs or cats - this means that they may develop a tolerance of allergens if exposed to them regularly.  An allergy specialist can test for this and other specific allergies, then prescribe periodic injections to help develop immunity. If you are an asthmatic it is not advisable to get a dog or cat if you have not owned one before - speak with your doctor about it.




Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia

Last Update: 25/09/07 14:18 Views: 4610

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