Anyone had experience with owning a dog with a dog allery?

(20 Posts)
harryhausen Mon 01-Sep-14 10:31:41

We're contemplating a small/medium sized family dog. My Dcs are a 10 and 7. My 10yr old has been dog obsessed since about 2. She reads dog breed books, has walked elderly neighbours dogs nearby etc.

Anyway, both myself and my DH had family dogs when we were young and would like to look into it. I work from home everyday, we have a huge garden and live in the countryside. The only thing stopping us is that both me and my ds are allergic.

When I was young I developed a certain amount of immunity to my own dog. These days I can stave off the worst effects with anti-histemes. My ds is the same. I feel conflicted. Would we be crazy? I adore dogs and I feel my Dcs have got past the 'little children' stage and would be a bit more sensible. It would be a much loved family dog - if it was the right one.

Has anyone taken the plunge with similar issues? My DH wants a mongrel, but I'd like to look at a low shedding breed. However, I don't want a large dog. The perfect size for us would be a jack Russell size (in fact we all adore jack Russells!), a small sausage dog perhaps?

I'm not keen on the look of poodles either.

I'm after any advice really. Would a dog home or breeder allow us plenty of time with the dog before we commit? Would it be better to offer a home to an older dog or a puppy?

Thanks in advance.

alwaystryingtobeafriend Mon 01-Sep-14 10:40:00

Hiya

We just got a staffie and low and behold i am allergic. Been popping antihistamine like crazy but i also have a bit of a cold so took a paracetamol before bed last night.
We have our dog in our room and i actually had a decent sleep last night. I think i am slowly becoming immune to him.

I cant speak for everyone but i think its possible to become immune to your own pooch at least.

A dog which doesnt cast much would be beter though. Is it lhaso apsos or bischon freis. I dont think they cast much and labradoodles too. x

tabulahrasa Mon 01-Sep-14 11:24:34

There's a list of non shedding breeds. Labradoodles are not always non shedding and you can't tell as a puppy whether they will be or not.

Breeders should be wanting you to visit several times anyway, so there shouldn't really be an issue.

With the older rescue or puppy...if you're being specific about breed, it might take a very long time to find some of those breeds in a rescue, the more popular a breed is the more they'll show up in rescues.

Oh and that btw is an unclipped poodle.

barleysugar Mon 01-Sep-14 11:27:16

I'm allergic to my cat and my dog, I must be mad! I manage it with beconase nasal spray and opatanol eye drops but it is a right pain!

I'd never be without a dog though!

WeAreGroot Mon 01-Sep-14 12:47:48

DH is allergic to dogs and we have four grin

The more exposure to dogs he gets the less he reacts to both ours and dogs in general, though sometimes we will meet a dog that will set him off snuffling a bit.

We've got one mongrel (short haired but has a double coat and sheds like buggery) and three whippets. Whilst the whippets aren't non-shedding their coats are so short and fine that what shedding the do is barely noticeable.

moosemama Mon 01-Sep-14 13:11:55

Dh is allergic to dogs and has never lived without one even as a child. Since we've been married (22 years now shock) we've always had between 1 and 3 dogs and only one of those was a non-shedding breed. We've even had a large, double-coated, long-coat GSD. We currently have two large, scruffy Lurchers.

I do think he's developed an immunity as time has gone on - but that isn't the case for all people, some people's allergies can be severe and only get worse. My Mum is also allergic to dogs and her chest/respiratory symptoms have improved over years of being exposed to my dogs, but she still comes up in welts of one licks her - or she does something really daft like puts her face on them. hmm

I would visit a few breeders of breeds that are supposed to be low-shedding and see how both of you get on, as the only way to tell how you will react is to have some contact and see what happens. That way you can select the breed you and your ds react least - or not at all to.

I've heard from a few people that, as WeAreGroot said, they have been less allergic to Whippets than other breeds. In fact, bizarrely, I was just discussing that very fact with my Tesco delivery driver, as apparently he's desperate for a dog, but his wife is allergic to them. grin The non-shedding breed we had was a Soft-Coated-Wheaten-Terrier, but she did require a lot of coat care and grooming, which I assume would fall to you and may not be great if you are very allergic. I think one of the most popular, 'professed to be' low-allergen breeds are Bichon Frise. I believe Coton De Tulear are also supposed to be lower allergen (and very cute) but again, I'd advise road testing any breed you're considering.

LightastheBreeze Mon 01-Sep-14 13:36:09

DM had a Bichon Frise/Poodle cross and both my DH and DS who are allergic to most animals were OK with him. Have you got any friends with different breeds of dogs you can visit, as their wheezing and sneezing starts when they enter an house with an animal in it, be it cats, dog or small furry animals.

The thing is with allergies to animals they can get worse, though I think anyone can develop an allergy at any time.

harryhausen Mon 01-Sep-14 14:25:52

Thanks everyone. I've heard of the bichon frise but don't know anyone with one. Most of my friends have jack Russell's, dachshunds and springers. I think I'm attracted to the dogs that aren't low sheddinggrin.

We made friends with a beautiful friendly King Charles spaniel on the beach the other week. We all spend a lot of time with him (the owners were sat nearby and fine with it). He sat on us all and we had a good cuddle. We felt fine, although I know that's not a everyday situation.

I think I'm not keen on poodles as my grandmother used to have a poodle clipping service at her house in the 70's when I was small. The place was overrun with poodles and I remember them just being all wet and growly. Probably unfair to poodlesgrin.

I've had a look at the low-shedding list. A Norfolk terrier appeals...

LadyTurmoil Mon 01-Sep-14 15:15:39

My brother has a bichon/poodle. She was bought from a local breeder known to him, not a backyard breeder which you have to be wary of, as bichons and bichon crosses are so popular now.

His little dog is a very happy, easy-going dog. Although fairly small (though bigger than a shi-tzu), she likes longish walks, but after that, is happy to lounge around the house. She has also been very healthy up til now, no need for vets for anything really (fingers crossed).

You do need to factor in clipping costs for her breed. I am allergic too, but she's never caused me any problems and she's been to stay in our house over weekends etc. No itchiness or sneezing caused by her - when the shi-tzu licks me, it raises little bumps on my hand which get a bit itchy but soon disappear, but the bichon licks me and nothing happens!

Your DH may not be keen on such a fluffy looking dog. A lot of men seem to want a more "manly" dog but my brother is a 6' quite tough looking bloke and chose that breed carefully because of temperament, ease of training and non-shedding and he's been very happy with his choice. He would say that he chose the dog for his daughter when she was younger but, honestly, the daughter pretty much ignores the dog now she's 15 but he still adores her - the dog (and the daughter!)

But do beware of crappy breeders. Hundreds of bichons (or crosses) end up in rescue in a terrible condition after they've been used as breeding machines.

harryhausen Mon 01-Sep-14 16:39:12

Thanks LadyT. I may come back on in a month or two after lots of thinking.

How do I find a 'proper' breeder? Would rehoming one be a no-no? But new to dog stuff.

harryhausen Mon 01-Sep-14 16:39:33

*bit new

insanityscratching Tue 02-Sep-14 10:12:20

We have Eric (gratuitous photo) he's a poodle shih tzu cross and is non moulting. Dd has an allergy to animals with fur dogs/cats/ rabbits/ rats etc and even some animals with hair like horses/ my friend's yorkie and another friend's lurcher. When we first had Eric she had some symptoms that were eased with anti histamine but within weeks they stopped and now she isn't allergic to Eric although she still reacts to other animals as she always has. My other dc who never had obvious allergies did get increased sneezing and itchy eyes for a while but that has stopped too.
Dd is thrilled we have a dog, she has always wanted one, she takes antihistamine for hayfever and other allergies at times and so she didn't feel that having to take them for Eric was a big deal. Obviously had she reacted badly we would have had to return Eric though which would have broken her heart.

insanityscratching Tue 02-Sep-14 10:13:33

We have Eric (gratuitous photo) he's a poodle shih tzu cross and is non moulting. Dd has an allergy to animals with fur dogs/cats/ rabbits/ rats etc and even some animals with hair like horses/ my friend's yorkie and another friend's lurcher. When we first had Eric she had some symptoms that were eased with anti histamine but within weeks they stopped and now she isn't allergic to Eric although she still reacts to other animals as she always has. My other dc who never had obvious allergies did get increased sneezing and itchy eyes for a while but that has stopped too.
Dd is thrilled we have a dog, she has always wanted one, she takes antihistamine for hayfever and other allergies at times and so she didn't feel that having to take them for Eric was a big deal. Obviously had she reacted badly we would have had to return Eric though which would have broken her heart.

insanityscratching Tue 02-Sep-14 10:13:37

We have Eric (gratuitous photo) he's a poodle shih tzu cross and is non moulting. Dd has an allergy to animals with fur dogs/cats/ rabbits/ rats etc and even some animals with hair like horses/ my friend's yorkie and another friend's lurcher. When we first had Eric she had some symptoms that were eased with anti histamine but within weeks they stopped and now she isn't allergic to Eric although she still reacts to other animals as she always has. My other dc who never had obvious allergies did get increased sneezing and itchy eyes for a while but that has stopped too.
Dd is thrilled we have a dog, she has always wanted one, she takes antihistamine for hayfever and other allergies at times and so she didn't feel that having to take them for Eric was a big deal. Obviously had she reacted badly we would have had to return Eric though which would have broken her heart.

insanityscratching Tue 02-Sep-14 10:19:11

No idea how I managed to post that three times sorry blush

DH is allergic to cats, horses and long haired dogs. We have four greyhounds - they have incredibly fine, short hair though are not non shedding, and he is fine with those. DH gets a reaction when we visit friends with shaggy lurchers, or events like indoor dog shows. Sneezy, wheezy, eyes runny, needs to use his inhaler.

Things that do help - a really strict cleaning regime, no carpets downstairs, lots of hot washes for textiles such as dog beds etc.

A rescue would be happy for you to meet a particular breed of dog - hopefully this will be able to tell you more. Quite often at a homecheck, a homechecker will bring a dog with them - ideal opportunity for you to see how you react.

LadyTurmoil Tue 02-Sep-14 13:21:27

How do I find a 'proper' breeder? Would rehoming one be a no-no? But new to dog stuff.

Honestly, I don't know! I can ask my brother to ask the breeder of his dog for recommendations if you give a rough idea of where you are in the UK.

You could definitely look into one from a rescue. An ex-breeding dog often needs (or rescue recommends) another dog at home to "teach" it how to behave like a normal dog, as they've often had no/little contact with a normal home environment before. But, there will be those who would be ok as an only dog.

You could contact some local rescues to you, register with them, explain your needs and see what comes along. If you've been homechecked by some rescues, at least then you're in the position to rehome if a suitable dog comes up.

I think Border Terriers are fairly low-shedding (someone confirm this!) so that might be a breed to consider.

mrslaughan Tue 02-Sep-14 13:44:25

what about schnauzers - come in 3 sizes and i believe they are non shedding. just thinking they are terrier like?

tabulahrasa Tue 02-Sep-14 13:59:38

Rehoming is great, an older dog is much less work and hassle than a puppy, less of a gamble than a puppy with regards to temperament as it's already an adult and will be assessed by a rescue.

But, it depends on how much you want a certain breed as obviously they only have the dogs they have.

If you have picked a breed and it's not one that comes up for rehoming then you would probably be better looking for a breeder.

Looking for a breeder is a bit of a minefield really.

They should be breeding for a reason other than just selling puppies, so showing or working and have bred to get a puppy for themselves.

They should have done all the health tests for that breed and with a lot of breeds extra ones as well.

They should be registering the puppies with the kennel club as there really is no good reason not to, it's cheap and easy to do.

They should pretty much interrogate you and expect you to visit at least twice, they should be telling you which puppy is best suited to you and not just letting you pick in a first come system and make you sign a contract saying that the puppy is returned to them if you ever need to rehome it.

Good breeders usually have a waiting list and only breed a litter once every year or two, so be prepared to wait once you have found a breeder.

They're also very unlikely to own the father as they should have searched for the best stud to complement the bitch's traits.

The puppies should be wormed, possibly microchipped, they should be able to tell you about the socialisation the puppies have had (there are plans that can be followed...basically a lot more done than just meeting who happens to be around) but, they're not likely to be vaccinated as different vets use different regimes and that can result in having to start the course again.

The best place to start is the breed club for whatever breed you've picked, find out about health tests and see if they have a list of approved breeders. (Some do , some don't)

The only two websites to look at for breeders are the kennel club and champdogs...you'll still have to weed out the bad breeders, but you'll find decent ones as well unlike other websites.

alwaystryingtobeafriend Tue 02-Sep-14 17:53:29

We hsve had our dog dince friday and my allergy is starting to go away. Symptoms are not half as bad and our pooch sleeps in out room.xx

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