Monday, November 14th, 2011

Dogs Make Me Sick

There’s something I haven’t mentioned about being a dog owner. I called my sister Kimberly a day or two after bringing Cupid home. She later told me that the first thing she thought was, “What in the world has she done?” The reason: I’m allergic to dogs. She figured it could only end in heartbreak.

I have interacted with a few dogs since my early negative experiences with them. Even the positive experiences left me sneezing, gave me itchy eyes, caused my skin to break out in hives, or all of the above.

But Cupid was different. He was so soft, and I experienced none of the usual symptoms. So I decided to give it a try and become a first-time dog owner. Within days, I was having some nasal issues, but I loved the guy, so I knew I had to make it work.

Things I do:

  • Launder┬áthe living room slipcovers frequently. If I start sneezing when I sit down, it means they are past ready for the wash.
  • Bathe them once a month (or more).
  • See an allergist regularly. I do get symptoms, but they are reduced because of what types of dogs I have and the medicine I take to manage them.

Getting “fluffy” dogs isn’t just a personal preference when it comes to appearance. It’s a necessity if I want to keep breathing without wheezing. I have to stay with the so-called hypoallergenic breeds: maltese, Lhasa Apso, Shih tzu, and poodle (for example). Cupid is a Lhasa/poodle mix and Clayton is a toy poodle. Now that I’ve had poodles, I’m never going back. :) They are just too charming and delightful.

If you are allergic to dogs but want to have one in your life, talk to an allergist and see if they can help you. Also, spend a few hours with the dogs you want so you can see how you might react. Better to know in advance than to fall in love, bring a dog home, and then find out your skin breaks out every time you touch him.

Are any other dog owners out there allergic to dogs? How do you manage your allergy?

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Comments on this post

  1. Heather says:

    What a great list to help those of us who have allergies! Glad you found things that work and share it with the rest of us! You’re great!

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