Asthma and Allergy Foundation Sends Plush Dog Toys to Obama Children

Posted on December 2, 2008

Barack Obama has been receiving pet ideas from all over the world since he announced during his victory speech in Chicago last month that his daughters would be getting a puppy in the White House. Barack Obama said, "Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House." 10-year-old Maliah suffers from allergies and this has complicated the pet decision.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is using the dilemma to help educate people about allergies, pets and plush toys. They are donating 2 asthma and allergy friendly plush toy puppies manufactured by Kids Preferred, Inc. to the Obama children to help them with their wait. The stuffed toys sent this week -- a Jack Russell Terrier and a Yellow Labrador Retriever -- are examples of plush toys that have recently been tested and certified by AAFA to be more suitable for children with asthma and allergies.

To be certified by the Foundation, plush toys are put through rigorous laboratory testing including a review of raw textiles, chemicals, dyes, stitching, stuffing and other materials. Testing also includes dust mite exposure measurements, washability and durability.

Bob Overholt, MD, an allergist in Knoxville and host of the Dr. Bob Show on AmericanLife, says real dogs can cause serious problems for asthma and allergy sufferers. Most people allergic to dogs know this all too well. Overholt says, "When inhaled into the nose and lungs, dog dander can trigger sneezing, coughing, wheezing and other symptoms that make breathing difficult. Regular stuffed toys can cause problems as well, since they can harbor dust mites and harsh chemicals that trigger asthma and allergy symptoms."

The AAFA says there are technically no "allergen-free" pets but they do offer some suggestions to help minimize the impact of pet allergies. These include keeping pets out of the bedroom and never let them on the bed. They also recommending wiping pets down after they have been outside. This helps remove loose pollen from their coats. The AAFA also says you should not let pets play with your kids' plush toys.

The symbol on the graphic above next to the plush dog toys is a symbol from the AAFA that indicates whether an item has has been scientifically tested and proven to be more suitable for people with asthma and related allergic sensitivities. You can find more information on

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