Except for Presidents Andrew Jackson, James Polk and Donald Trump, every American president has had a dog, or dogs. It’s easy to understand why presidents have a penchant for pooches. Being president is one of the toughest jobs in the world. As President Harry S. Truman once said, “If you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog.”
Although only three presidents didn’t have dogs, the list was almost four. Malia Obama, eldest daughter of former President Barack Obama, is allergic to dogs. Moreover, her father never owned a dog nor showed much interest in them. Many speculated that the 44thpresidential family wouldn’t have a First Dog.
But Malia and younger sister Sasha really wanted a dog. Apparently, they were good lobbyists; they forced their dad to fulfill a campaign promise to get a family dog. However, owing to Malia’s allergies, it couldn’t be any type of dog. It had to be a hypoallergenic breed. That’s why the Obamas adopted two Portuguese Water Dogs (Bo and Sunny), because that breed is hypoallergenic.
Dogs that are hypoallergenic do not shed. As a result, they produce less dander—the tiny particles of skin that are attached to fur and cause pet allergies.
According to “Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Research,” an academic publication, about 10-20 percent of the world’s population are allergic to dogs and cats. For people who want a furry friend but are allergic—or a loved one is allergic—they’ll be happy to know that there are many breeds other than Portuguese Water Dogs to choose from. In fact, there are about 22 hypoallergenic dog breeds.
Tips for allergy sufferers
It should be noted that no dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic. People who are allergic to dogs should take precautions to help reduce potential allergic reactions. Here are some steps you can take:
- Talk to your doctor to get his/her opinion whether it’s safe for you to get a hypoallergenic dog.
- Before you adopt, visit and spend time with your potential new best friend to see if you suffer a strong allergic reaction.
- Do not wash your dog too often, because you’ll dry out your dog’s skin and produce more skin flakes.
- Instead, wipe your dog down between washes with wipes made for pet grooming.
- Apply a coat conditioner to help remove dander.
- Use a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaneraround the house.
- Run an air cleaner in the room(s) where you spend the most time with your dog.
- Don’t let your dog on your bed. This can be a tough one, because dogs love to sleep in their owner’s bed, and many owners love snuggling with their best friend. But it’s important to ensure your bed is a dander-free area.
- Regularly wash your dog’s toys to remove dried saliva, which is another allergen.