Dog Allergies? It May Only Be Male Dogs!

Have you or someone in your family always wanted a dog, but you’ve been unable to adopt one due to your allergies? Well here’s some good news for you: it may be that you’re just allergic to male dogs! Whaaaaa…?

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, pet allergies are the result of an over-sensitive immune system. People with pet allergies sense otherwise harmless proteins in pet dander, saliva, and urine, and their immune systems react. Unfortunately, pet allergens are everywhere—even in pet-free homes—because pet allergens are sticky, and they are long-lasting. They’re stirred up by petting and grooming animals, and (ironically) by cleaning, where they remain in the air. My husband is mildly allergic to our dog, and this will be my new excuse to get out of vacuuming: it will make his allergies worse. Thank you, AAFA!

As allergy sufferers know, those pet allergens can lead to stuffy noses, and swollen itchy eyes. Licks or scratches from pets can lead to skin irritation. People who are allergic to pets can even suffer from breathing problems, including asthma attacks! All of this is bad news, and it’s sad for someone who wants to own a pet but can’t due to allergy concerns.

Earlier this week, though, CNN shared a story with some good news for those with allergies to dogs. Apparently, up to 30% of people who are allergic to dogs are only allergic to a protein that’s made in a dog’s prostate, according to Dr. Lakiea Wright, an allergist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. This means that these people are only allergic to males—and to unneutered males at that. To find out if you’re allergic to male dogs specifically, you need to be able to give your doctor a good history of your allergy symptoms, including whether they’re worse around male dogs. If your symptoms warrant it, your doctor can administer the test for the “prostate protein” (Can f 5), which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in May of 2019.

And if you test positive? That might mean that you’re not allergic to all dogs—just males! You can add a canine companion to your house if you adopt a female or neutered male. And if you’ve been using your allergies to get out of buying your kids a puppy…well, sorry about this post.