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Q: 
After a recent trip to the local animal shelter, my children want to adopt a dog or cat. I have a number of allergies and worry that my symptoms will become worse if we bring an animal into our home. I have heard that there are non-allergenic or hypoallergenic dogs, which allow an allergy sufferer to have a pet in their home without having symptoms. Is this true? If so, which types of dog would be considered non-allergenic. Are certain breeds of cats non-allergenic as well?
A: 
Unfortunately there are no "non-allergenic" cat or dog breeds! All of these have some level of allergen. The allergic potential of dogs or cats is not affected by the length of their fur. This is a common myth!

The protein that causes allergies is found in an animal's saliva, dander and urine. Almost 10 million pet owners – including children – are allergic to their animals.

The fur of a dog or cat can also collect additional allergens, such as pollen and mold spores.

Cats seem to be more allergenic than dogs. Almost all already-allergic people exposed to cats on a regular basis will develop a cat allergy. 

If you plan to introduce a pet into your home, have an evaluation by a board-certified allergist, including skin testing. This will tell you for certain what you are allergic to. If you are found to be allergic to dogs or cats, consider immunotherapy (allergy shots). These shots will eventually desensitize you to these animals, so that you may one day be able to have a family pet without compromising your health or well-being.