‘I’ve just found out my dog is bad for my health… but there is something I can do about it!’

May I introduce you to Teddy James Rutherford. He is my firstborn son. He’s five years old, has hazel eyes that sting your soul, and he’s pretty affectionate. He taught me how to be a mother. And it was definitely the easiest of my three children to sleep in.

But I just found out that his presence in my life is not ideal for my health. That’s because Teddy is an Old English Sheepdog. Yes, the Dulux dog!

And while his dark gray and white coat is on everyone’s lips in my neighborhood (he’s quite a local celebrity), it was recently brought to my attention that his famous coat is all over my house.

Before you judge my cleanliness, let me explain.

Teddy is an inside dog! One of the most common questions I am asked about my 30kg boy in the dog park is, “You need to have a big garden?” The answer is no. Not me. These dogs don’t need a lot of space (okay, well, they do need something). But more importantly, they just need you.

Teddy lives inside with my husband, Ben, and our two other children (and Ben, if you’re reading this, he definitely won’t sleep on the bed or couch when you’re not there). Plus, he’s one of those hypoallergenic dogs, which means that technically he doesn’t shed as much hair as a Labrador. You can stroke him in black pants and he won’t leave a trace.

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When Dyson asked me if I would be interested in trying out their new vacuum cleaner, the Dyson V15 Detect, to see how much dog hair and particles there were in my house, I smugly agreed.

I clean up after him all the time. Certainly a sample of my house dust (dust read, no tufts of hair) would show no sign of teddy bear. It would be like he didn’t even live there, would it?


The whole point of this new cordless vacuum cleaner is to pick up the dust and particles we don’t see with green laser dust detection. And the anti-tangle hair screw tool is specially designed to pick up invisible hair in hard-to-reach places.

I vacuumed my tile floor and, laughingly, the couch (because it shouldn’t be there, remember!) And had the Dyson scientists examine my dust. (FUN FACT: Dyson is the only company of its kind to have built its own laboratory to study dust, which is a real commitment to the craft.)

A few weeks later, when I get my results, I am shocked to find that, even though I thought I was a clean person, my house was covered in teddy’s hair and flakes of skin. The team found “high” levels of Teddy’s existence on my floor and couch.

The accompanying report states: “Both dogs and cats lose hair, with dogs usually moulting more in the spring when they lose their winter fur. Dog and cat hair can carry allergens from their saliva when they are cleaned. The resulting animal hair can cause irritation to humans. Household allergens can also adhere to it, as can flakes of dry skin known as dander. “

That said, Teddy’s hair and dry skin floats around the house like it’s Christmas. Meanwhile, the National Asthma Council of Australia states that these types of allergens are closely linked to asthma and breathing difficulties. And apparently I’m not the only one in this situation.

Here in Australia we are animal lovers. In 2016, it was estimated that there were more than 24 million pets in Australia, and we have one of the highest household pet rates in the world (and that was before everyone got dogs on the gas during Covid!) In almost two in five households own an a dog …. that’s a lot of dander.

And in a drastic step, the Asthma Council advises the most effective way of reducing exposure to pet allergens by avoiding these animals!

This is not an option in my home. For all of his dander flaws, our house feels empty once Teddy is outside. We noticed this especially during the lockdown, when he spent the day at the hairdresser’s (he was the lucky one who got to go to the hairdresser’s!)

So the next best tip from Dyson to avoid dander is actually quite simple. Vacuum regularly. And they helped their new vacuum cleaner, developed by a team of 370 engineers worldwide, to suck up 99.99% of dust particles down to 0.3 microns for a thorough cleaning 5.

That means Teddy stays.

If only they could find a solution now how to pick up the toy car and the puzzle pieces and the duplo and princess dresses that my other kids are leaving all over my house, I will be eternally grateful!

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