Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA: Hypoallergenic Dogs and Yeowling Cats


Welcome to the second installment of our weekly 'Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA' feature on They've enlisted their Head of Shelter Medicine Program, Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, to answer two of your questions every Thursday. Last week, she tackled cat poop and dog incontinence and this week she's onto yeowling cats and canine allergies. Got a question for Dr. Scarlett? Ask away in the comments!

1) My kid has allergies. What dog breeds are the best options?
Growing up with pets can be a wonderful way for children to connect to the world around them, learn responsibility and have a lot of fun. Unfortunately, there is no dog breed that is hypoallergenic.  Allergies arise from a reaction to proteins in the dander but can also occur to a reaction to protein in the saliva and all dogs have some dander and saliva.  Dogs with continuously growing coats—like poodles—tend to shed less and may be less problematic.  Here’s another option: After consulting with your pediatrician, you may want to consider having your child attend a Humane Education Camp or become a foster parent for your local shelter for a dog as a way of investigating the issue.

2. We often hear cats yeowling like banshees in the wee hours of the morning. What's this all about? Exorcism? And is it true that Siamese cats are particularly yeowly this way?
Give me the address!  We’re coming out to spay and neuter immediately!  Seriously, let us know… our feral cat teams will be out there in no time. That yeowling is the sound of cats mating.  Cats are induced ovulators—meaning that the female doesn’t drop the egg until she’s sure there’s some sperm there to fertilize it.  Very efficient.  So, in order to get the signal loud and clear that mating has occurred male cats put spikes on their penises. Yep. When the male is extricating, the spikes poke the female causing her to scream bloody murder and also sending a clear signal to her hormones that mating has happened and bombs away on the egg! Be thankful humans are not induced ovulators.  Now, a question for you.  What other fairly common domesticated animal is also an induced ovulators?  Tweet us your guesses @SFSPCA.  We will post a list on Wednesday during our live Ask The Vet chat at noon on Twitter.

Siamese are talkers period—before, during and after sassiness.

While we can’t answer all of the questions here, please feel free to ask us during our Wednesday Twitter Ask the Vet Chat.  If your animal’s problem is of an immediate nature, please call your vet or you can reach the SF SPCA at 415-554-3030 to make an appointment.

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