There are many triggers that precede an asthma attack, and animal hair and dander are high on the list. However, there is speculation that certain breeds of dogs, such as the Chihuahua, may actually help children with their asthma symptoms. Urban legend states that Chihuahuas may actually be able to cure children of asthma; however, this idea has never been scientifically proven.
Asthma in Children
According to Healthcentral.com, asthma in children occurs when the lungs and airways become irritated and inflamed. Because of the build-up of mucus in these passageways, wheezing occurs and breathing becomes difficult. There is no cure for asthma, however certain medications can keep the condition under control. Avoiding environmental triggers is one way to lessen the onset of attacks.
Mexican folklore says the Chihuahua has the ability to transfer asthmatic conditions from its owner to itself. According to asthmanaturalcure.com, there has not been any substantial evidence to support claims that Chihuahuas can cure or lessen symptoms of asthma. Additionally, Pulmonary Critical Care Associates (PCCA) of east Texas concur that Chihuahuas cannot cure children with asthma.
Asthmanaturalcure.com suggests reasons why the myth began in the first place. Dog hair and dander are strong environmental asthma triggers; however, most Chihuahuas have short, smooth hair that sheds less and produces less dander. This explanation may be why the Chihuahuas breed is considered to be a better choice for children with asthma.
According to dogbiz.com, all dogs shed some dander and Chihuahuas are no exception. They recommend spending at least 20 to 30 minutes with the dog to determine whether there will be an asthmatic reaction. Dogbiz.com states that Chihuahuas are a good choice for asthmatics, but because of their small fragile bones, they may be better suited for adults rather than children.
Asthmatic triggers vary from one child to another. If the child also has allergies as well as asthma, it may not be a good idea to own a pet at all. Check with a physician to determine if owning a pet would help or hinder the asthma condition.