No, Huskies are not hypoallergenic!
Along with Basset Hounds, Labrador Retrievers, Pekingese, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Pugs, and St. Bernards, Huskies are among the most allergenic dogs on the planet.
There are no hypoallergenic Huskies. Even a Husky that had been shaved of its fur (something you should never do to this beautiful dog) would still be a source of mild dog allergies.
But your grooming routine for your Husky can make a big difference in how allergenic it is and how easy it is to keep your house free of dog hair.
The Reason Huskies Aggravate Dog Allergies
Huskies are naturally conscious of cleanliness. They almost never smell. That’s because they will spend hours grooming themselves and cleaning their paws.
The flip side of the Husky’s natural cleanliness is its heavy shedding. And the reason Huskies shed all the time is they have double coats, an undercoat and a top coat of guard hair.
The beautiful, colorful, coarse, and long guard hairs of the Husky’s outer coat give it its regal appearance.
These coarse hairs are like Teflon to ice and snow. Frozen precipitation slides off the Husky’s coat so the Husky stays warmer in cold weather.
The short, soft, fine hair of your Husky’s undercoat insulates it from heat and cold. In the winter, these fine hairs trap tiny pockets of air that keep your dog warmer.
In the summer, the same hairs trap cooler air at night and in the morning that help it beat the heat.
Huskies lose long hairs from their topcoat 24/7/365. In climates where summer temperatures are above 50° F (about 10° C), they “blow out” their undercoat twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.
Huskies are always shedding, but for about 10 days twice a year they shed so much hair that many homes have floors that look like they are carpeted with dog hair.
People who have dog allergies will have challenges with Huskies any time of year, but allergy symptoms will be worst during the two times a year their Huskies shed their undercoats.
Fortunately, there are things allergy sufferers can do if they want to keep a Husky in their lives
What You Can Do If You Have Allergies and You Want to Keep a Husky
The problem with Huskies for people who have dog allergies isn’t really that Huskies are always shedding their hair.
The problem for people who suffer dog allergies is that Huskies are always shedding tiny flakes of dry, dead skin. The term for these flakes of dead skin is dander.
Dog dander is light, so it gets into the air inside your home like dust. It’s made of proteins, so it has an electrical charge. I
t is essentially “magnetic” to curtains, drapes, upholstery, and carpet.
Scientists have discovered that sometimes people with dog allergies are only allergic to dried particles of urine, and sometimes dog allergies are only triggered by dander.
There are people who are allergic to male dogs but not to female dogs, and vice versa. In some cases, allergies to Huskies have nothing to do with shedding or dander.
There may even be cases in which people are allergic to their Huskies only because their Huskies are allergic to their cats, Finnish scientists believe.
In these cases, people sneeze when they inhale dried particles of mucus from dog sneezes caused by cat allergies.
No matter what it is about your dog that may be triggering your allergy, there are positive things you can do:
- See an allergist about immunotherapy. You may be able to get “allergy shots” that will eventually make you immune to dog allergens. In the meantime, your doctor may be able to prescribe antihistamines that will help.
- Keep all surfaces in your house clean. Even if your Husky is only allowed in part of your house, vacuum your entire house once or twice a week. Husky dander easily flows through HVAC or heating ducts throughout your house. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. Operate a portable air filter in the rooms you use most.
- Allergy-proof your home. Pet allergens stick to fabric and fibers. Cover windows with blinds instead of drapes. Choose hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors over carpet. Don’t let your Husky stretch out on the sofa, and don’t let your Husky sleep in your bed.
- Pay attention to hygiene. Wash your hands after you pet your Husky. Take a shower and put on clean clothes after prolonged contact with your dog. And keep your Husky well groomed.
Grooming Your Husky
The most important part of maintaining your Husky’s coat is grooming at least once a week. You need to brush your Husky’s undercoat and guard hair.
Using a steel comb, begin with the undercoat. Comb the hair thoroughly, moving in the direction opposite of the way it naturally falls.
Remove any loose fur. You may be amazed how much hair a Husky can produce in just one week.
You may want to use an undercoat rake to remove excess hair and so it is easier for new hair to grow correctly.
Next, brush your Husky’s top coat in the opposite direction. In a healthy Husky, this part of weekly grooming should release a lot less hair.
With your dog’s top coat, you are primarily interested in removing tangles. Detangling spray may help. You will also want to remove any burrs or plant parts that may have stuck to your dog’s coat.
There’s no need, usually, to take your Husky to a dog groomer. If you have the time, Huskies are extremely easy to groom. However, if you have allergies, you may want to leave this task to someone else.
To Blow Out or Not to Blow Out
Giving your Husky a blow out is a quick and painless way to get rid of a loose winter undercoat.
Instead of letting your Husky pull out its hair in clumps or shed continuously around the house, you blow your dog’s undercoat away with a professional-grade blow-dryer.
Professional dog groomers will often give a Husky a blow out before combing its top coat.
Blowing loose hair away with a powerful blow-dryer prevents any need to use steel combs on sensitive skin. It’s faster than combing, too. But it’s messier.
If you are grooming your Husky at home, you will want to do blow outs outside. Otherwise, you will have Husky hair floating in the air throughout your home.
Take your Husky out into the yard for its blowout and let the birds use its hair to line their nests.
How Your Husky May Feel About Having Its Undercoat Blown Out and Its Hair Groomed
If your Husky has never had its undercoat blown out before, it may be apprehensive about the whole process. It’s a good idea to let your Husky sniff the blow-dryer first.
Let your dog confirm that the blow-dryer has a non-threatening scent. Then back up a foot or two and turn on the blow-dryer, without pointing at him.
Let your Husky confirm that the noise isn’t associated with any kind of danger.
Then work up from your dog’s abdomen up its flanks to the ridge of its back, making sure it is comfortable throughout the process.
Be patient with your dog, and take your time the first time your dog has been groomed this way.
Husky puppies may be similarly apprehensive about getting combed. Just remember that for a Husky, smelling is believing.
Don’t expect your Husky puppy to see that a steel comb is harmless. Let them smell that the comb is harmless.
After your Husky puppy has had a chance to sniff the comb, then start grooming. After a few grooming sessions, your puppy should be comfortable getting its coat combed.
What about bathing your Husky?
Bathing your Husky would seem to be the perfect way to keep it from causing allergies.
A nice, warm bath washes dander, dried urine, dried saliva, and other dried secretions away. But it turns out that bathing isn’t really the answer for Husky lovers who suffer dog allergies.
Researchers at an asthma treatment center inside the Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester in the United Kingdom were seeing a lot of patients with severe allergies who still couldn’t bear to part with their dogs.
Looking for ways for their human patients to live with fewer asthma attacks while keeping the dogs they loved, the researchers tested various bathing routines.
Using advanced instrumentation, the researchers asked volunteers to let them into their homes seven days a week to collect tiny samples of their dogs’ hair.
They then measured the amount of allergens in the samples of dog hair to the millionths of a gram.
The research team then asked the patients in their study to wash their dogs twice a week. They continued collecting and measuring dog hair samples as before.
The research team found that giving your dog a bath reduced the amount of allergens it contained an average of 84%.
Giving a dog a bath reduced the amount of allergens in the air by 86%.
However, dog dander and allergen levels returned to close to normal in seven days. This meant that meaningful reduction in allergies and asthma requires washing your dog twice a week.
The problem for Husky owners is that this won’t really work.
Huskies produce skin oils that keep dander down.
Washing them more often than once a month depletes these skin oils and, ironically, makes sebum glands start operating in overdrive.
A Husky that is bathed too often isn’t cleaner. It both produces more dead skin, due to irritation, and its coat becomes greasy, due stimulation of sebum production.
You can reduce the problems of allergen production with your Husky, but you can’t make them go away. Groom your Husky once a week.
Bathe your Husky once a month. Rely on HEPA filters and allergy treatments to reduce your symptoms, so you can live with the Husky you love.
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