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Getting a Dog for Child Allergic to Dogs

(16 Posts)
Turniphead1 Tue 01-Jan-13 16:57:10

Yes - sounds bonkers. Dd1 - 9 has a severe milk allergy (now gone due to a 4 year desensitisation programme) remaining egg and kiwi allergy. Quite a bad cat allergy - and much lower RAST score dog allergy / sensitisation. Her last skin Prick test showed only a 2mm wheal to dogs.

She is desperate for a dog - as are we all are. I was brought up with Labs. But clearly the allergy issue is a biggie.

Has anyone out there successfully introduced a dog into the family in similar circumstances? I know talking to the consultant will probably yield a " no, continue to avoid" answer.

We are considering a Lab/poodle cross as they sometimes can be suitable for mildly allergic people. Clearly we would have to be very very sure. Couldn't bear to give a dog up if there were problems.

Any advice/experience. Thanks.

skratta Tue 01-Jan-13 18:56:51

Hmm, no direct experience, but my cousin is allergic (not too severley, but allergic still the same, and will noticeably react) to dogs and horses, probably some other animals, but those especially because I remember.

She currently has a Boxer dog, and also looks after chihuhuas (sp?) which her friend owns for some periods of time, so it is possible.

If you find a dog, then you really need a very, very short haired, non moulting dog. Labs/poodles (or Labradoodles?) could be okay, but actually quite a lot of the dogs aren't suitable for allergics, evenly mildly, and this might not become apparent until after you get one- and if you buy one then they'll be fairly expensive. Dogs like vizslas (which I own) which are very short haired are also possible.

Very short haired dogs like some JR Terriers etc; might be okay, but although I have dealt with the result of very severe allergic reactions (I'm a doctor) I know very little about actual allergies, so please, please, please talk to your consultant, and anyone else who you have been involved with.

Although it might be possible, I'd advise you to not get a dog and to talk to your consultant. Is she allergic to smaller animals too? Has she had pets before? Would she consider a non-mammal? I'd stay on the safe side, and go with maybe a rabbit (they prefer to be in twos) as they are very interesting, playful and can even be 'walked' with a harness. Rats are very intelligent, like a lot of dogs (not mine) and can be walked on a harness even, taught tricks and are great.

I would discuss this with the consultant, to see if other options are available, and to see if he knew anything about dogs suitable if its possible. Is she allergic to the fur of the dog? (I only ask this, because although my cousin can't be near dog fur as such, I know someone with a cat allergy where its actually the saliva- doesn't help much as cats lick their fur a lot though)

Look around the Pets area, specifically the Doghouse topic, and see if anyone there has a mild allergy to dogs, with so many people on MN, there could be someone with a similar experience to you?

ggirl Tue 01-Jan-13 19:14:38

I am allergic to dogs , only the saliva . Ds has nut/egg allergy and asthma.

We had a dog before ds was born which he tolerated well , when he was diagnosed with asthma and the allergies we removed the dog from the home for a month and did a thorough clean . It made no difference to his asthma not having the dog there.

Sadly the dog has since died and we are also keen to get another one. I know he def reacts to retrievers and labs but has been fine with a very short haired whippet and terrier.

I'm fine as long as I wash my hands after touching a dog.

He's also on montekulast long term so that helps with any possible reaction

I am thinking about poodle rescue . Could you borrow a dog for a day or so and assess?

Sorry not much help but we are in similar quandry.

TheHoneyDragonsDrunkInTheIvy Tue 01-Jan-13 19:23:05

Is it hair or dander that causes reaction? Please don't get a lab poodle cross. You have no guarantees that the cross will be allergen free and won't find out till its too late. Just get a poodle. They look the same, are lovely intelligent family dogs and you have less risk of the heartbreak of rehoming. You also won't then be risking a unscrupulous profit focused breeder.

Do you have the opportunity to let he play with other dogs and see how she reacts.

tinytalker Tue 01-Jan-13 22:00:09

My daughter is allergic to animal dander (anaphylactic to horses) and has asthma. Two years ago we got a miniature schnauzer and she has had no reactions to it, unless it licks her face! It is a breed that does not shed its fur and is considered non allergenic. However we made sure my dd had lots of contact with this breed before we made our final decision.

shelsco Tue 01-Jan-13 22:22:25

I'm allergic to dogs and cats and my parents recently bought a cockapoo (cocker spaniel, poodle cross) as we had been told that as they have woolly coats they are fine for people with allergies. ( I don't live at home btw!) This has turned out to be wrong in my case. Someone has told me since that often animal allergies are caused by the dander (which is the skin cells they shed) rather than the fur and that's why the woolly coat has made no difference to my allergies. I am less allergic to my friend's dog so maybe different breeds cause different reactions?!

My Ds had recent skin prick allergy testing and the doctor did say that below a 3mm weal is not considered a reaction at all. It has to be 3mm or above to be registered as a positive result so it may be that your dd would be fine anyway. I don't know if it means you would be more likely to develop an allergy in the future though! Is there a dog rescue place near you where you could volunteer for dog walking etc with your dd? At least you would be able to find out if she is likely to react or not.

babybarrister Tue 01-Jan-13 22:30:22

My DS is anaphylactic to dogs. We have been told that it is the protein in the saliva which collects on the hair and dander. We have also been told that every single animal is slightly different confused so you would need to try out the actual animal before buying. We have also found Labs to be the worst ...angry

nicefleece Tue 01-Jan-13 22:32:34

I thought poodles were OK & yorkies. An allergic friend came over and was ok with our (regularly haircut) cocker spaniel was OK too.

TheHoneyDragonsDrunkInTheIvy Tue 01-Jan-13 22:41:57

I know it can be a minefield. We has a engineer ask us if our dog was really a lab. He had always reacted badly to them. Yet was fine with ours confused

ClaireOB Wed 02-Jan-13 10:20:30

It is indeed a minefield and there seems to be little evidence to describe any breed as hypoallergenic. Interesting article here - "Can f 1 levels in hair and homes of different dog breeds: Lack of evidence to describe any dog breed as hypoallergenic" - full text

Turniphead1 Wed 02-Jan-13 19:06:17

Thanks to all for the responses. That's interesting that below 3mm is not considered a reaction. That gives me hope - but I do know that the immune system waxes and wanes and that that might not be the case on another occasion.

I totally agree that there is no evidence of any breeds being "hypoallergenic" bit for some the lack of shedding may mean that the dander is spread less or trapped in the case of a wholly coat.

We need to do a lot of investigation with a particular dog and its parents to see what is feasible. The thought of giving a dog up to be rehomed is just not one I could consider.

Catabelle Wed 09-Jan-13 06:08:28

I suffer from eczema and asthma and always wanted a dog as a child. We eventually got a Bichon Frise after some advice from a friend. They don't lose hair and their coat is non-oily. I never had any problems and they have lovely personnalities! I would highly recommend one!

Shesparkles Wed 09-Jan-13 06:13:56

Ds has asthma and eczema and has reacted to several breeds.
We recently got a bichon frise / shih tzu cross and he's been no problem at all.

Bilbomum Wed 09-Jan-13 11:46:37

DS has multiple food allergies, mild asthma and dog/cat/dustmite allergies.

He has had reactions to schnauzer and retriever/lab dogs in the past however my in laws (much against my wishes) decided to get a dog last year, after much research it seemed that a cockapoo was the best bet. I was very sceptical but ds is fine and absolutely adores the dog. We stay for a week at a time so it's prolonged contact. Obviously Shelsco has had a different experience but thought it worth sharing.

I still cringe when I see ds sharing the dog's bed though...

Turniphead1 Thu 10-Jan-13 17:13:27

Bilbomum - very interesting! glad your DS does well with the cockapoo.

Well. We have taken a leap and our lab/poodle cross puppy is coming home this weekend. Dd has had some significant contact with her as breeder lives close. Lots of being licked etc etc and no reaction. Still a chance that could change when she's been with us for a while. If worst comes to very worst the breeder would take her back and rehome her.

We have got some Petal Cleanse to wash the dog with, will damp dust a lot, Hoover a lot and dog won't be allowed upstairs at all.

Have been looking into HEPA Air filters - but it seems that whilst they can help with pollen type airborne allergens - dog dander is unlikely to be trapped by them.

Thanks for all the responses.

Patchybob Tue 15-Jan-13 20:25:19

We have a shih tzu, they are supposed to be ok for allergy sufferers. Great family pets too.

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