Obama’s New Dog

By Heather Legg

Bo Obama, the new “hypoallergenic” First Dog, was officially introduced to droves of eager reporters on the South Lawn of the White House yesterday. The six-month-old frisky Portuguese water dog was selected for the Obama children because one of them, Malia, has allergies. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog.

The great media coverage of Bo Obama and the Presidential quest to find a hypoallergenic dog has fueled a common public misconception about dog allergies. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma&Immunology (AAAAI), a truly hypoallergenic dog is a myth. (from http://blog.healia.com/00358/bo-obama-and-myth-“hypoallergenic”-first-dog)

I think the talk of the country is the Obama’s new puppy. And of course, because it’s political, there’s controversy. People are mad because he’s not a rescue dog and the President claimed that’s what he’s family would get. Experts argue there is no such thing as an allergy free dog and this dog will cause problems.

Personally, I think it’s just a darn cute puppy and he’ll be great for the girls to grow up with. Part of having a dog and allergies is to keep him bathed and groomed to reduce dander and dust. I’m sure there will be plenty of help in keeping this dog in healthy, clean condition and in keeping the living space clean as well.

Now it’s up to the public to not go crazy with getting Portuguese Water Dogs and to realize that there really is no such thing as an allergy free dog. Dogs and allergies are doable together but take some work.

Here are some tips from the AAAAI for living with a dog if you have pet allergies:

• Visit an allergist/immunologist to diagnose the allergy and discuss treatment, which may include maintenance medications or immunotherapy (allergy shots).
• Keep the pet out of the allergic person’s bedroom. Animal dander will collect on pillows, leading to worsened symptoms at night and morning.
• Bathe the animal weekly to reduce the amount of dander shed at home.
• Replace carpeting with hardwood or other solid-surface flooring for easy clean-up.
• Vacuuming may not be effective in decreasing allergen levels, but using a HEPA filter and double bags may help.
• Wash bedding and clothing in hot water. While animal allergens are not easily removed by high temperatures, these measures may help.

Best of luck to the Obama’s with their new puppy!

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