Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

Is it unreasonable to get a dog when you know your mother/MIL is allergic to them?

(58 Posts)
loopennyloo Fri 08-Feb-13 22:17:55

Just that really!
My brother in law and his new wife have just got a dog in the full knowledge that my MIL (his mum!) is allergic to them. He says, her allergies aren't that bad and she's being OTT and she says going in their house will now close up her airways and she could die!

I think she is being OTT but he's being v insensitive but as a general principle what do you think? She wouldn't ever come and stay as they live quite close by but obviously this will make her visiting much more difficult. Equally my BIL and SIL really, really wanted a dog so felt like as she didn't actually live in the house it doesn't matter.

They've never got on particularly well anyway and I suspect this will be the final nail in the coffin but I can't decide who is in the right- not that I'll get involved but it's just been on my mind!

DeepRedBetty Fri 08-Feb-13 22:20:15

Since they live near each other and therefore seeing MIL doesn't mean inviting her to stay, if they really want to give a dog a home they have every right to.

If they want a dog then it is up to them

LondonInHighHeeledBoots Fri 08-Feb-13 22:24:04

Could they not have got a hypoallergenic one? Some dogs have hair not fur right?

But they should be able to get a dog if they want one, regardless of her allergies - they tend not to be life threatening for a pet hair allergy for visiting purposes do they? Disclaimer, I don't know anyone with a pet allergy so for all I know they might be! Just from your OP, you don't seem unduly concerned for her immediate death by dog hair.

loopennyloo Fri 08-Feb-13 22:24:45

Yes, I kind of think that- her objection though is that she wouldn't be able to come for instance to her grandaughters birthday party if they had it at home and all the other family would be there. I don't think BIL & SIL would be v sensitive about this- they would just say 'oh well, you can't come then' rather than hold a party somewhere else etc. And she can't babysit at their place etc.
I think she should go to her GP and see what treatments she could get for her allergy as I'm sure she could take something to make short visits manageable.

AdoraBell Chile Fri 08-Feb-13 22:25:59

NBU imo, unless the person with the allergy lives with with the dog owners.

They could visit her if she feels unable to visit, or they could meet up and go for coffee or similar. It's really not an unworkable situation, but some people could make it so if they wanted to IYSWIM.

loopennyloo Fri 08-Feb-13 22:27:19

London you are right- I don't really think her allergy is as bad as she says. I've certainly never seen her have an allergic reaction (she has other allergies) apart from once when she said her whole face had swelled up and I had to go an inch from her face before I could notice her slightly puffy eyes! Though to be fair, she has always avoided going to anyones house with a dog as she says thats her worst allergy and I've never seen her with a dog

HollyBerryBush Fri 08-Feb-13 22:29:03

I'm sure your Bil is best placed to know his mothers little foibles.

JaneLane Fri 08-Feb-13 22:29:16

I have an allergy to fur so can see where your Mil is coming from in some sense. However surely your BiL and SiL could just visit MiL at her house if she's worried
about becoming ill?

I guess she might feel hurt because she feels they don't care if she can visit or not?

I wouldn't get a furry pet if I knew my mum had a fur allergy because I would also want her to feel comfortable in my house. However my parents live a long way away and therefore have to stay.

I'm kind of with you - I'm not sure!

I got a dog full in the knowledge that my mum is terrified of dogs.
I know that's very different from an allergy but still, put mum in a difficult situation.

6 years on and we have a work around. She still comes and sees us and we keep the dog away from her.

I suspect the relationship between them is more of a problem than the dog

loopennyloo Fri 08-Feb-13 22:30:12

Hmmm...she has gone on about it so much I suppose I started to think maybe she had a point but it's interesting that you all feel she should be the one to make allowances. Wish I could show her this thread- it might give her a bit of persepective!

Arithmeticulous Fri 08-Feb-13 22:31:00

To answer your OP, depending on the mother, it could be a very sensible plan grin <adds to list>

AdoraBell Chile Fri 08-Feb-13 22:31:13

Dammit, you updated while I was typing! <wanders off, all huffy like>

loopennyloo Fri 08-Feb-13 22:33:17

Yes, the relationship between them is most definitaly the problem- it's been in a downward spiral for sometime and Jane Lane you are right, she feels like they just don't care if she visits or not- and tbh I don't think they do really. She's always wanted to be a bit more involved in their lives and they have always pushed her away. She's not a MIL from hell but does need to feel needed which can be a bit waring. My BIL definitely overreacts to this though.
We're in a horribly position, stuck in the middle...

just wanted to add, that some animal allergies can be life threatening, they trigger off my asthma, can be quite severe, and there is not much a doctor can give you to prevent this sad

loopennyloo Fri 08-Feb-13 22:39:21

So could that be the case hairy? MIL is asthmatic, though rarely seems to be a problem for her. I've never known someone with a severe pet allergy...? Also, she is fine with our cat (she looks after our ds's in our house and babysits) and I assumed cat and dog allergies would be related?

Iaintdunnuffink Fri 08-Feb-13 22:41:29

They can see each other without the dog, or are they hoping the dog would cut down contact with her? For me it would depend on the allergy and how badly it would effect those who I wanted to visit. If my Mum had a severe allergy to nuts then I would be careful in my house and would take it into consideration when inviting her round. Potential red eyes and a runny nose from a parent, that doesn't live with us, would not prevent me from getting a pet.

I have always had reactions to animals but it hasn't stopped me growing up around dogs, cats, horses etc. As a child I would take my dog to a training class, or show, and my eyes would stream, hurt, skin go itchy, nose run etc. Most of the time I was fine around my own dog but not all the time. If I go to visit someone I will occasionally flare up but the appropriate medicine will keep it to OK levels.

JaneLane Fri 08-Feb-13 22:44:46

I'm more allergic to cats than dogs but tbh my allergies to both are pretty mild now - have only had one asthma attack caused by an animal and it was a horse for some reason! I get a snotty nose, watery eyes and my chest gets a bit tight but nothing very dangerous.

I do know somebody with a severe fur allergy - any length of time spent in contact with animals or even just houses in which animals live cause asthma attacks and dreadful swelling.

blackeyedsusan England Fri 08-Feb-13 22:44:49

asthma can be life threatening. if she is saying the pet allergy closes her airways then this might be the case.

Lora1982 Fri 08-Feb-13 22:44:57

My mums 'allergic' to cats, i still got one and she still visits. I think its more she doesnt like cats...

loopennyloo Fri 08-Feb-13 22:53:16

I just wish I knew if she was being totally honest about it. When we told her we were getting a cat she said she probably wouldn't be able to come over etc but we had expected this reaction and I had done some research so we reassured her that we were getting a female (apparently slightly less of an allergy trigger) and would put the hepa hoover round before she came over and had bought some special wipes for the cat to minimise dander etc. Once she realised we had considered her she calmed down and said she was partly upset because she wouldnt be able to stroke and make a fuss of the cat so the kids might think she didnt like it. Which was just ridiculous but anyway... But with the dog she is adamant that it is a life threatening allergic reaction. A case of the MIL who cried wolf (or dog!)

Also, if I were her I would just get on with it and see them outside of their house or only go over in summer where she or the dog could mostly be in the garden. At least if they see her making the effort they might try and be a bit sensitive in the future. Some people are just their own worst enemies! The more fuss she makes, the more they think she has gone way OTT and is totally exaggerating the allergy.

ukatlast Fri 08-Feb-13 23:28:30

My OH ended up only being able to make 30 minute max visits to his parents' house because of his allergy to their dog. When he had lived there they had only had cats and he constantly used inhalers (because of asthma/allergy to cats?). Upon going to University he no longer needed his inhalers.
So if her allergy is at all genuine and if they want to have contact with her, I would say yes they are being unreasonable but obviously it is their house, their choice.

We lived abroad for several years and it made visiting very difficult particularly since as the grandparents aged, they were more reluctant to be taken out and about.

I was allergic to dogs and other animals as a child, and my parents let my sister have a dog hmm when I was about 14.
As it happened my allergies actually improved after a while, but the first few weeks he was in the house, I suffered a fair bit. The exposure did seem to help after that though, and after a few months the dog didn't bother me at all.
I reckon that if your Bil has done it knowing full well how his mother would react then he and his wife just don't want her in their house and have chosen this as the path of least aggro to get rid of her.
Either way, it's not really your problem or business is it...

Narked Fri 08-Feb-13 23:40:24

People use or rather abuse the word allergy all the time. Yes, there are people with genuine life threatening allergies. There are also people who don't like cats/dogs and use it as an excuse. I'd imagine that, as he's her son, he's probably seen her in a house with a dog before - a friend or family members - and thinks she's exaggerating.

He's not asking her to live in the house or even visit often from what you've said - 'They've never got on particularly well anyway.' Why shouldn't he get a dog?

witchface Sat 09-Feb-13 09:16:46

I am allergic to my mils cats, it is the type of hair, when she had short haired ones it was fine its the long hair that gets me. I just take anti histimanes when we go to visit. Its no problem and i would never think of her not having them because of me. How weird. I wouldnt have long haired cats myself now i know but why should that stop someone else having them?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now