Dog owners with fur allergies – How does it work?

Hundägare med pälsdjursallergi – Hur fungerar det?

In 2018, Medi-Tec carried out a survey with the help of the independent survey company Mistat, in collaboration with the Karolinska Institutet and the Swedish Kennel Club.

The survey should be seen as an indicative mapping and basis for questions to possibly study further on what the relationship between dog owners with fur allergy looks like.

The mapping was carried out as a web survey. Just over 14,000 people out of the approx. 132,000 who received the survey participated and answered the questions. The addresses were taken from the Swedish Kennel Club's dog owner register with the selection - dogs up to 10 years of age. The purpose of the survey was to obtain information, create knowledge and, in the long run, contribute to avoiding or reducing the problems with fur allergy.

Dog owners with fur allergies - this is what it looked like:

As many as a fifth of those who answered the survey had someone with an allergy to dogs in the household. The majority of these (73%) already had an allergy when they got a dog. In other words, many people choose to get a dog despite allergies in the family.

Most dog-allergic people (78% of households) only react to certain dogs but tolerate others. There was no connection with the fact that one tolerates a specific breed of dog better or worse. This is in line with what the research shows, i.e. that individual dogs can secrete different amounts of the dog's respective allergens and allergy sufferers can react more or less to these different allergens (there are 6 important and well-documented dog allergens called Can f 1 to Can f 6).

75% of dog owners indicate that they sometimes stay with people who have fur allergies to some extent. 83% believe that the issue of fur allergy is to some degree important to them as dog owners, which shows that the issue of fur allergy concerns many.

Households with allergies to dogs to a significantly greater extent (approx. 90%) also have allergies to other fur animals than households without allergies to dogs, where only 19% have allergies to other fur animals. This shows that multiallergy is very common. A help can then be to reduce your exposure to one or some of these allergens, for example by avoiding cats and horses. This reduces the total allergen exposure and the risk of reactions specifically to the dog.

More of the allergic dog owners experience minor problems with allergies to dogs than major ones. At the same time, there are many allergic people in society who experience major or very major problems with allergies to dogs, but who naturally do not have a dog.

Common allergy symptoms are:

Itchy and watery eyes (68%) followed by repeated sneezing (49%) are the most common symptoms. Also Nasal congestion 44%, asthma symptoms (44%) and runny nose 41%, skin rash 36% and itchy nose 36%.

The following proportion of people have used the respective measures:

1. Medication 58%

2. Washing the dog(s) 37%

3. Wet drying of environment 34%

4. Vacuuming with HEPA filter 29%

5. Avoid the dog licking 24%

6. The dog/dogs do not stay in the bedroom 21%

7. Vacuuming without HEPA filter 18%

8. Air purifier 10%

9. 16% take no action.

How well did the different measures help?

The percentage below shows how well the listed measures are perceived to help those who use them and who think they work reasonably well (3 out of 5), to very well (5 out of 5):

1. Wet drying of environment 85%.

2. Vacuuming with HEPA filter 85%.

3. The dog/dogs do not stay in the bedroom 79%.

4. Washing the dog(s) 78%.

5. Avoid the dog licking 76%.

6. Air purifier 76%.

7. Medication 75%.

8. Vacuuming without HEPA filter 73%.

In other words, all measures are perceived by those who use them to help, but they could be used to a greater extent.

Washing the dogs:

Washing the dog is a measure that helps many, but the attitude to washing and skin care varies. Many believe it is good for the dog, while others are completely against it. 32% are willing to wash and skin care the dog(s) a few times a month to contribute to a more allergy-free society. 26% are not. The rest are questionable to varying degrees.

Of those who are willing to wash their dogs once or a few times a month to contribute to an allergy-free society, 70% already wash their dogs monthly, weekly or daily. If you have allergies in the household, a larger percentage are positive about washing for this purpose. The bigger the problem you have with allergies, the more positive you are.

The dog owners with fur allergies who never wash their dog experience to a significantly greater extent that they react to all dogs than those who wash weekly. This indicates that one is likely to have more allergic problems due to the greater allergen exposure.

Of those who wash because the dog itself has allergies or irritated skin, 64% believe that it contributes to less irritation.

Allergenius specifically:

For those who experience a difference between how well different shampoo/conditioner products help against allergies, Allergenius Special Shampoo and Special Conditioner is perceived to a significantly greater extent to help dog owners with fur allergies than other products. Large or very large difference is indicated for:

Allergenius Special shampoo 43% vs "ordinary dog ​​shampoo" 3%

Allergenius Special conditioner 57% vs "ordinary dog ​​conditioner" 6%

You can find the full report here

dog owners with fur allergy examination