If you suffer from allergies or asthma but have been longing for a pet, you may have heard suggestions of getting a hypoallergenic pet. Hypoallergenic pets are specific breeds of pet animals, including dogs, cats, and rabbits, which are bred to be less likely to trigger intense allergic reactions.
The specific group of people hypoallergenic pets are targeted towards are those that have allergies towards pets. The theory is that allergy suffers who are allergic to most pets can still safely and happily own a hypoallergenic pet because their allergic reactions are less likely to be triggered, or are triggered less severely. There is an ongoing debate about this topic and no one truly knows if hypoallergenic pets truly do make a difference.
For the sake of those with allergies to pets we hope that hypoallergenic pets can make a difference. It's estimated that about one in four Americans suffers from asthma or allergies and that about 15% to 30% of those sufferers are because of cat or dog allergies. It can be a bit sad to think that not every child grew up with pets.
Yet it is hard to imagine that a truly hypoallergenic pet exists, no matter how hard companies that market hypoallergenic pets claim them to be truly hypoallergenic. You can't look at a cat or dog that doesn't have any fur and say it's hypoallergenic. The proteins found in animals that cause allergic reactions aren't found only in fur but also in their hair roots, skin dander, ruin, mucous, urine and saliva.
Scientists against the notion of hypoallergenic pets will always turn to the above fact when stating their case as to why pets can't be truly hypoallergenic. Even if you find a dog that is described as being hypoallergenic and bring it home with you, you will still be in danger of certain allergies or ailments such as bronchitis, as is the case with any breed of dog.
Even with that knowledge that hasn't stopped people in believing that hypoallergenic pets do exist. When it comes to cats, breeds such as the Devon Rex, Cornish Rex and Sphynx are still cared for by those with allergies because they believe their lack of normal layers of fur will provoke little to no allergic reactions. The same thing can be said about certain dog breeds like the Kerry Blue Terrier, Bichon Frise and Portuguese Water Dog.
However, there will never truly be a 100% hypoallergenic pet until there is an animal that is genetically engineered to be allergen-free of not only hair but also saliva and secretions. Until that happens you can only ask your vet about ways to treat your allergies to pets if you decide to get one.