Is Any Dog Truly Hypoallergenic?

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A couple of years ago, my family adopted a little white dog from the Orange County Animal Shelter. We brought him home and he quickly got comfortable. Our house now caters to the dog. He has a bed for lounging in almost every room and his toys litter the entryway so that he’s always prepared to greet whoever comes through the door. He’s a terrier-poodle mix, but he still sheds a lot. Little white fur balls get into the weirdest places and we have to vacuum a lot to keep it under control. We love him to death, but the house needs a complete scrub down every time anyone with allergies comes over. Even though our family seems immune to his shedding, he is definitely an allergy nightmare.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 10% of Americans suffer from dog allergies. The truth is: No dog is truly hypoallergenic. Many breeds today are advertised as “hypoallergenic,” but even these dogs can trigger allergic reactions in some people.

What Causes the Allergy Response?

People with dog allergies have “allergic rhinitis,” which means that exposure to dog dander can cause symptoms such as burning eyes, running nose, and itchy skin. A common misconception is that the allergic response is caused by the dog’s fur. However, even dogs with little or no hair can cause symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Allergic reactions are triggered by two sources—pet dander or a protein. The pet dander comes from the dead skin cells shed from the animal when they shed their fur. Dogs with more fur will shed more dander with it, which could result in worse allergic reactions. Some people are allergic to a protein found in dog’s saliva and urine. This is spread to their fur when they lick themselves. Undercoat shedding can spread both pet dander and this allergy-inducing protein, so dogs with a single coat may produce less allergy responses.

What does Hypoallergenic mean?

We hear the term thrown around, but hypoallergenic is not a medical term, so there are no standards or certifications to govern use of the term. Any breeder can call their dogs hypoallergenic.


The only truly hypoallergenic pet is a fish.


However, what they are referring to is any item that produces below normal allergic reactions. This means that the person shouldn’t have the hypersensitive reaction to it. However, allergic responses are different in everybody, so it is difficult to determine what an acceptable level of the allergen is so as not to elicit an allergic response.
“I don’t believe there is truly a hypoallergenic dog,” says Dr. Laurel Fritzen, a veterinarian at Deerfield Animal Hospital, “There are breeds that shed less hair but a lot of times people are allergic to the dander, which is the skin and all animals shed skin cells.” For those with extreme sensitivities, pets without fur or feathers, such as reptiles or fish, could prove to be a better option for them.

When referring to a dog as “hypoallergenic,” the breeder is usually referring to the dog’s fur. A typical dog has two coats. Their undercoat is what sheds and spreads pet dander throughout the house. Dogs termed “hypoallergenic” will have more human-like hair, meaning no second undercoat and less shedding. Some of these dogs also produce less saliva, so the saliva won’t spread as much of the protein that causes the allergic reaction.

However, a 2011 study published in The American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy found that hypoallergenic dogs produced the same levels of dog allergens in the home as other breeds. Despite evidence that suggests that hypoallergenic dogs produce less allergic reactions, it is still important to take preventative measures against pet dander.

Which Dog is Best for Allergies?

Although the American Kennel Club won’t deem any breed to be “hypoallergenic,” they recommend the following dogs for allergy-sufferers because they produce less dander:

  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Bichon Frise
  • iStock_000017250695SmallChinese Crested
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Maltese
  • Poodle
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Schnauzer
  • Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Xoloitzcuintli

The AKC also recommends that allergies only be one of the factors considered when selecting a dog. Prospective pet owners should also consider the breed’s temperament, energy level, and size. Imagine trying to live with a Portuguese water dog (50-60 lbs.) in a one bedroom apartment just because you thought it would help your allergies!

Choosing a smaller dog will mean less surface area for fur and shedding, which means less dander. Mixed breeds are also a good alternative to purebred dogs. Any breed mixed with a poodle will shed less because of the type of hair that poodles have.

If You Have Allergies…

Before bringing a dog home to be part of the family, you should consult a doctor to see if you allergy responses can be controlled. A doctor may recommend allergy shots, antihistamines, or intranasal steroids. If you’re worried that someone in your family might have a sensitivity to dogs, an allergist can confirm animal sensitivities through prick testing.

If you already have a dog and you want to reduce your allergen exposure, consider the following tips:Consider fostering a dog before you adopt. An allergic response can sometimes take two to three weeks to become fully known. When adopting a dog, it’s important to understand that you are committed to caring for that dog for its entire life. Both you and your dog deserve the best home possible, so take your time in determining if a dog is a good fit for you and your family.

• Get your dog regularly groomed, or have a non-allergic family member give regular baths (about once every week). Brushing a dog’s fur can prevent some dander from entering the air.
• Have your dog’s skin checked by a veterinarian for dryness. Dry skin means more shedding and dander, so keeping him/her skin moisturized could reduce allergens.
• Keep your dog off bedding or pillows that you use to reduce your exposure to allergens.
• Replace pet beds annually and give them a thorough cleaning on a regular basis.
• Carpet-free flooring can be easier to clean and don’t trap allergens in fibers like carpet. Vacuum and wash floors to get rid of pet dander.
• Use washable covers when your pet sits on the couch or in the car. Even throwing down a blanket before they sit on the couch can reduce the amount of dander that settles on the couch.
• If you have the option, keep your dog outside.
• Wash your hands after petting your dog.

Wet cream havanese dog after bath

The Mayo Clinic recommends using a HEPA air purifier to reduce the airborne pet allergens if you suffer from pet allergies. The Luma Comfort AP400W air purifier is equipped with a carbon pre-filter, HEPA filter, VOC filter, TiO2 filter, and UV light to ensure that your family is always breathing the cleanest air possible. It eliminates over 99% of particles from the air, so your furry friend can still be man’s best friend, instead of man’s biggest cause of allergies.

Entertaining with Easter Traditions

Every year for Easter, my family’s tradition is to play a concert at sunrise in a cemetery. It’s one of those odd experiences that you can’t tell people without an odd look and a “You did what?” asked. We arrive at 5 a.m. for set up (which usually means that we’ve been up since 3) and a little warm-up rehearsal. Some years, we make up almost a fourth of the symphony orchestra—mom plays French horn, dad plays trumpet, I play violin, my sister plays flute.

We start playing right around 6 a.m. and the sun rises while we’re playing. One second we’re playing in the dark and it’s hard to see, the next moment we get a brilliant ray of light and our music is illuminated. However, then we usually come home and fall asleep in odd places. I fell asleep on the floor of the entryway last year, still wearing my black concert clothes (I am not a morning person). When we finally come out of this concert-induced coma, we pick ourselves up and have a nice dinner. Easter eggs are usually an afterthought, but there are always deviled eggs with dinner.

Easter traditions have been around since the first days of the holiday. The name for Easter comes from “Eastre”, a pagan Saxon goddess of spring, fertility, and dawn. She is also where we get the English word “east” because she was known to “hang out” with the sun go, since the sun rises at dawn in the east. Before you entertain your family and friends over the holiday weekend, take a moment to learn about how these Easter traditions came to be.

Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny, also known as the Easter Rabbit or Easter Hare, was originally much like the Santa Claus legend. He would act as a judge to the children, determining if they had been good or bad during that season. The good children would be given gifts and eggs the night before Easter for them to discover in the morning. The bad children would be left unrewarded.

However, his origins go back much further than that. Before the bunny was mascot of a specific holiday, the hare was a symbol of fertility in ancient times. Ancient scholars, such as Pliny, Plutarch, Philostratus and Aelian, thought that the hare was a hermaphrodite, which explained its ability to excessively breed. Later, the medieval church would adopt the hare motif in its church art and it became associated with the Virgin Mary.

The Easter Bunny that we know and love originated among the Germans. He was called “Osterhase,” which translates to Easter Bunny. This character was first mentioned in De Ovis Paschalibus (About Easter Eggs) by Georg Franck von Franckenau in 1682. The book also talked about how children would hunt the eggs hidden by this bunny.

German immigrants brought this legend to Sweden in the late 19th century, but the Swedish word for Easter Bunny, “Paskharen,” sounds remarkably similar to “Paskkarlen,” which means Easter Man or Easter Wizard, so the Swedes have a tradition of an Easter Wizard bringing eggs. This is a relatively new tradition, dating to the early 20th century. Some children even dress up as Easter witches to celebrate the tradition. It also has some roots in old Nordic folklore, in which witches would travel to “Blue Hill” to visit the devil during this time of year.

The Easter Bunny was also brought to America by German immigrants. The legend reached the US in the 18th century, when German immigrants were settling in the Pennsylvania Dutch region. Good children would prepare for the Easter bunny by making nests in their caps and bonnets so that the bunny could lay his eggs here (Yes, he is traditionally a male bunny, but with the magic ability to lay eggs).

Easter Eggs

Decorated eggs have long been a part of many different global celebrations. The practice of decorating eggs is ancient and well-established in the archaeological record. In Africa, ostrich eggs with carved designs have been found that are estimated to be 60,000 years old!  Silver and gold representations of eggs were also found in burial sites of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians. The egg symbolized rebirth and was used in Pagan celebrations of spring. It was adopted by early Christians as a symbol for Easter and the resurrection of Jesus. The first use of Easter eggs for the holiday is attributed to the early Christians of Mesopotamia, who stained eggs red to celebrate the holiday. Since eggs and dairy were forbidden during the period of Lent, eggs were consumed before the period began, then they were stored up for the celebration of Easter, which also marks the end of Lent.


Did You Know? The International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators (IABTI) sponsors an annual charity campaign in the US to build beeping Easter eggs for visually impaired children.


The Easter Bunny has been the official bringer of Easter eggs since the 17th century. The Easter egg hunt is a much-beloved tradition for many countries and cultures that celebrate Easter. The egg hunt was also a popular game for spring time birthday parties. The Guinness Book of World Records recorded the largest Easter egg hunt on April 1, 2007– 9,753 children searched for 501,000 eggs at the Cypress Gardens Adventure Park in Winter Haven, Florida.

Easter egg decorating has also been elevated to an art form. From 1885 to 1916, the Faberge workshops created the annaul jeweled Easter eggs for the Russian Imperial Court. Each egg took a year or more to make and often depicted important milestones of the Romanov family. The 1913 Winter Egg is carved from rock crystal, with 3,246 diamonds. It is valued at over $9.6 million.

Pysanka Easter Eggs

In the Ukraine, pysanka eggs are decorated using a special batik, a wax-resist, method. The design is drawn onto the egg with wax and then dipped into dye. In Mexican tradition, Cascarones are eggs that have been emptied and filled with confetti for the egg hunt. When the eggs are found, children (and adults) smash them over each other’s heads. In Sweden, Norway, and Germany, decorated eggs are hung from tree branches as centerpieces for the table. At the White House, the Easter Egg Roll is held annually and children can roll the Easter eggs across the president’s front lawn.

However, decorated eggs aren’t just for the egg hunts. “Egg tapping” or “egg jarping” is a popular game in England, in which each player must hit their egg against another player’s. The winner is the person who keeps their egg from breaking. There is even an annual egg jarping world championship held at Peterlee Cricket Club each year. Yes, a world championship of egg breaking. Another popular activity is to celebrate Easter with an egg dance. People in Germany and the UK place the eggs on the ground and try to dance among them without landing on the eggs. My guess is that they do this outside or somewhere they can hose the mess down later.

Easter Entertaining

So, try something new this Easter. Invite your friends and family over for an egg dance or use crayons to try your hand at pysanka eggs. A misting fan can keep your backyard cool for the kids. Temperatures could reach 79⁰F in Southern California on Easter Sunday. Begin training sessions for the egg jarping world championship. Make a nest for the Easter bunny in your favorite baseball cap.

Or buck tradition and start a new one. A backyard BBQ wouldn’t be the traditional choice for food, but hot dogs and burgers are always crowd pleasers. For the adults, try a Blue Cotton Tail (1.5 ounces of vodka, .5 ounces triple sec, and .25 ounces blue curacao) or an Easter Fizz (2 ounces of brandy, 1 egg white, 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, 1 ounce half and half. Shake hard and dust with a sprinkling of nutmeg). A portable ice maker can provide enough ice for cold beverages all day long.

You could also take the kids on a hunt for the Easter bunny. Plant some clues, like an egg trail or a bit of his cotton tail stuck in a bush (cotton balls). At the end of the hunt, leave the baskets with a note from the Easter bunny that says he barely got away this time and to try again next year.

If you really want to be original with your holiday traditions, egging houses with Easter eggs has probably never been attempted before.

Travel Guide to Some of the Driest, Hottest Cities in America

Some of the driest cities in America also have the most interesting attractions. These cities are known for their high temperatures and arid environment. This also makes them the perfect places to use evaporative coolers. To beat the heat, evaporative coolers release both cool air and moisture into the air, providing a cooler, balanced living environment. This can provide great relief to those living in the Southwest, or other arid environments. However, you also want to be able to go out and see the sights. If warm temperatures and low humidity suit you, here’s some suggestions to help you plan that summer trip. These hot spots have some great attractions to check out along the way.

El Paso, Texas

  • City Annual Average Precipitation: 7.82”
  • Most of the rainfall is isolated to the late summer’s desert “monsoon” season
  • The Wyler Aerial Tramway gives panoramic views of the Southwest Desert. It travels across the Franklin Mountains State Park. The Tramway is suspended over the valley floor, so it is perfect for the adventurer within you, but won’t be a pleasant experience for those of us who are afraid of heights.
  • National Border Patrol Museum offers an insider look at the National Border patrol units that work on the border of the United States and Mexico. The owner is actually the wife of a border patroller, so she’s had firsthand experience with the artifacts and exhibits of the museum. There are also hilarious examples of the extremes that people will go to in order to enter the good-old U-S-of-A.
  • Visit buildings from the time of Texas’ founding fathers. Magoffin Home State Historical Park is a stone’s throw from Downtown El Paso. Many of the buildings are from the 1870s and families will have a chance to see how their fellow Texans lived back in the day. However, the only way to see the park is on a guided tour, so you’ll need to call and make an appointment in order to see the history offered here.
  • The Railroad and Transportation Museum of El Paso shows visitors the impact that the railroad had on settlement and development in Texas. The oldest classic American steam engine (1857) in the West can be seen here, the EP&SW Locomotive No. 1. Learn how the Mule Car evolved into the Electric Streetcar and how the railroad impacted Texas history.
  • The Plaza Theatre has old-time theater glamour, while still offering contemporary performances. Rock of Ages and Jersey Boys are both on the schedule for performance in the coming months.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

  • City Annual Average Precipitation: 7.64”
  • Obviously, the biggest attraction is Grand Canyon National Park, but here are a few tips. Try to reach the Rim BEFORE sunrise, so that you can take plenty of photos in the changing light. Sunrise pictures of the Grand Canyon are a big crowd pleaser when hung above the mantle or posted on Facebook. Yaki Point is a good place for photo ops. Be sure to get at least a couple pictures of your family standing on the edge, which means bringing a camera with a timer or finding a random stranger to accomplish the task.
  • Another way to see the Grand Canyon is to take a trip on the Grand Canyon Railroad (www.thetrain.com). The train departs daily at 9:30 from Williams, AZ, delivering its travelers to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park at 11:45 a.m. The train leaves at 3:30 for the return trip to Williams Depot. Arrive early for the train because the train depot has plenty of sights to see. The area around the train depot also offer some history about Route 66, since the road passes through, and offers a good dose of nostalgia.
  • If you’re willing to take a detour El Tovar Hotel has tons of vintage charm. It was designed by Charles Wittlesey and opened in 1905. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, it boasts famous past guest such as Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, President Bill Clinton, and Sir Paul McCartney. You can also movie memorabilia from “The Harvey Girls,” a 1946 MGM production starring Judy Garland. Get a refreshing, cool beverage at the cocktail bar with indoor and outdoor seating available.
  • The Thunderbird Lodge is another historic lodging on the rim of the Grand Canyon. It offers scenic views of the canyon from many of its rooms and is only a short hike away from Hermits Ridge. Elk can often be spotted right outside the lodge

Phoenix, Arizona

  • City Annual Average Precipitation: 7.11”
  • Phoenix has one of the hottest climates of any major city in the US. It has temperatures of over 100 degrees on an average of over 100 days out of the year. Phoenix is also home to one of the highest recorded low temperatures in history (96 degrees in 2003).
  • If you’re looking for the full-Western experience, then visit Western Destinations Canyon Creek Ranch. They offer private tours of the property, as well as lessons in horseback riding, shooting a gun, and roping. By the end of the trip, you’ll feel right at home in their faux western town. You can even reenact the great shootout from “High Noon,” just recruit another family member to stand at 50 paces.
  • 2 Fly Us provides private hot air balloon rides with an expert pilot. Take in the bird’s-eye-views of the desert below. Trips depart from Deer Valley Airport.
  • Taste It Tours (http://tasteittours.com/) allows you to explore Phoenix’s greatest restaurants with a guided tour. Visit several restaurants over the course of the tour, with plenty of helpful suggestions from tour guides and restaurant staff.
  • AZ Flyboard Rentals (http://azflyboardrentals.com/) allows you to try your hand at flying a jet pack, but this water sport also allows you to cool off in Lake Pleasant. Flyboards can both propel you through the water and rocket you up into the air. It’s probably one of the weirdest, coolest things you’ll do on a vacation.

Las Vegas, Nevada

  • City Annual Average Precipitation: 4.19”
  • Las Vegas has over 300 sunny days a year, with less than 30 days of precipitation annually.
  • Of course, there are the traditional sights to see in Las Vegas. The Bellagio Fountains offer shows every 15 minutes or so after dark and provide a few minutes of a choreographed water show set to amazing music. However, the closer you are, the more likely you are to walk away from the show a little damp. There is also the Chapel of the Flowers, a popular destination for those looking for a quickie Vegas wedding, which you may regret in the morning. Seeing Celine Dion at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace offers a regret-free alternative to getting married, although you might be tempted after hearing “My Heart Will Go On” with that special someone.
  • Battlefield Vegas gives an all-encompassing military training to tourists. They will pick you up in a genuine US military Humvee, take you to a 5-acre facility in the Nevada Desert and provide hands-on weapons training on a variety of historical and contemporary weapons systems. They also have a military Huey UH-1C helicopter, a Chieftain tank, and other army vehicles to climb into and explore.
  • Dig This is “America’s first and only heavy equipment playground where YOU’RE in control” and offers visitors the opportunity to relive their childhood of sandcastle building, if your childhood included real Caterpillar bulldozers and excavators
  • World Class Driving (http://www.worldclassdriving.com/) is your chance to drive a Ferrari or Lamborghini. These exotic supercars are great options to see the sights of Red Rock Canyon while also having the thrills of a lifetime.

Yuma, Arizona

  • City Annual Average Precipitation: 2.64”
  • Yuma was recently voted “sunniest place on earth” by the Guinness Book of Records. The sun shines in Yuma 93% of the time. August is the wettest month of the year there, with an average of about half an inch of rain.
  • If you want to see the history of this pioneer town, Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park is the place to go. There, you can wander through the remnants of the historic prison, housing a total of 3,069 inmates from July 1, 1876 to September 15, 1909. Oddly enough, the prison was then turned into the Yuma Union High School, which taught students from 1910 to 1914. The prison is best known for its frontier justice, giving dark cells to inmates who broke prison regulations, and the ball and chain to prisoners found trying to escape. Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center gives visitors a firsthand look at where the military developed and tested technology. The museum offers a glimpse into what was developed there and how it was tested at the Yuma Proving Ground. Many of the technologies are still in use today, including the GPS technology found in most cars.
  • For fans of aviation, the Yuma Landing Historic Site marks the place of the first plane landing on Arizona Soil, occurring in October 1911. There is a full-size bronze statue of the pilot, Robert Fowyler, and the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill offers great food. If your still in the mood for more history, there’s the Casa de Coronado Museum, located in the middle of the historic Best Western Coronado Motor Hotel next to the Yuma Landing Historic Site. This museum fuses the best of Yuma with artifacts with the history of Best Western.

With the summer fast approaching, the heat is only going to get worse. It’s April,
but Southern California is already in the low 90s today. And again, it’s April.
We’re still supposed to be wearing our light sweaters and grabbing a jacket on our
way out the door ‘just in case.’ Instead, we are trying to decide if it’s worth
the cost to turn on the air conditioner or if we should just suffer through it a
little longer. However, there is another option.

Evaporative coolers provide cooling comfort and are another way to beat the heat, but they also are much more energy efficient than traditional air conditioners. Evaporative coolers cycle hot air over moist pads, cooling the air then circulating it back into the room. It also adds moisture to the air through this process, so evaporative coolers work better in arid environments. The diagram below shows the best places to use evaporative coolers. Region A is best suited for evaporative coolers and will feel the biggest effect on the temperature, followed by Region B, which will feel comparatively less of a difference. If you live in Region C, you should do a little research about the average humidity in your area to find out if an evaporative cooler will work well for you. 

Luma Comfort’s EC45S is a great option for home offices or bedrooms, while Luma Comfort’s EC110S has the cooling capabilities to tackle larger areas like living rooms.

 Shop Evaporative Coolers