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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!

maddening Sun 10-Feb-13 13:11:59

Ps for me dog = asthma attack, cat = v.uncomfortable itchy eyes/runny nose and some difficulty breathing but nowhere near as bad as a dog.

maddening Sun 10-Feb-13 13:09:00

Christell - I am more allergic to dogs than cats so think your theory is flawed smile it depends on what the person is allergic to.

CombineBananaFister Sun 10-Feb-13 08:36:06

I agree with what you're saying Sockreturningpixie, i guess i was just trying to get the point across that certain allergies are taken far more seriously than others and some are just seen as the allergic person being a fussy pain in the arse. I don't thnk they shouldn't get a dog, you can't revolve your life around other peoples medical conditions especially in your own home BUT i do still feel sorry for the MIL, it must be miserable for her. I do wonder if the allergy was the other way around, how they would feel if their mil got a dog.

MollyMurphy Sun 10-Feb-13 05:50:41

I don't see why her allergy should impact them having a dog. It's probably your average pet allergy....she can take an anti-histamine before going over, wash her hands well etc. I have a cat and my mums quite allergic - wouldn't have occurred to me not to get one on that basis. She still comes over, babysits, even stops by to feed it if we are away.... Being offended and avoiding their house altogether seems dramatic (unless of course I'm wrong and its some anaphylactic situation).

thereistheball Sun 10-Feb-13 05:21:58

My MIL has a severe allergy to pet hair: it can be life-threatening. Even coming into contact with someone who was in contact with a dog can set it off. We would never get a dog or cat for this reason.

Whocansay Sun 10-Feb-13 00:36:58

BIL can do what he likes in his own house.

MIL is a self centred old bat who is desperate for attention. This is nothing to do with her, but is making it all about her.

I stay well clear if I were you.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 09-Feb-13 21:54:23


I also think people who do not live with other people with peanut allergies should also be able to eat peanuts in there own home.

CloudsAndTrees Sat 09-Feb-13 21:54:07

If their relationship is difficult anyway, why on earth should they not get a dog?

It's not like the dog will change a regular visit that they have from your BILs mum. They haven't done anything wrong.

Christelle2207 Sat 09-Feb-13 21:45:50

Pps afaik cats are far more problematic for allergy sufferers than dogs. Certainly for me. It's because of the saliva that cats constantly lick themselves in, and they moult more. So if she is ok with your cat, I think she is definitely ott and your bil will know this.

Christelle2207 Sat 09-Feb-13 21:40:20

Ps I really dont see why you would be worried about this.

Christelle2207 Sat 09-Feb-13 21:39:35

I'm allergic to cats and have asthma. I prob visit people who have them less often but i still go and I just deal with it.
(I Avoid staying over. )
It's my issue, not theirs. Mil is being OTT (unless she has vvv bad symptoms) and yab a bit u.
Things will more than likely be fine if they keep dog out of her way and in another room. But suspect there are lots more issues, not just the dog.

DoJo Sat 09-Feb-13 21:05:02

OP - regardless of the rights and wrongs of the situation, I don't really see how you're in the middle of this? BIL has made a decision that has upset your MIL, but it's not up to you to resolve their differences, so I would just keep your own counsel, say 'Hmm, it's a tricky one' if anyone involved asks you your opinion and hope that it all blows over soon.

CombineBananaFister Sat 09-Feb-13 20:57:03

A gldfish is a new species don't you know haha goldfish blush

CombineBananaFister Sat 09-Feb-13 20:56:10

I normally think people should be able to do what they want in their own home BUT i really feel for your mil in this situation. Am VERY allergic to fur -cats,dogs, horse, mice and have been hospitalized on each occasion (asthmatic) It's quite scary because it can just take a few hairs and it can be in a house where the pet has gone. If it were a peanut allergy everyone would be so much more respectful but because its dogs and they are cute no-one takes it seriously (peanuts aren't cute grin) Ds doesn't get to see his Gps much because of it. Think it's a bit mean if it's his own mum as it will restrict visiting. Hate the fact that Ds will only be able to have a gldfish sad

DoubleMum Sat 09-Feb-13 20:42:44

I'm allergic to cats and dogs. Once I went to a friend's house for dinner (having planned to stay the night). She had shut her cats in the kitchen, but nevertheless between the starter and the main course her DH had to drive me to the pharmacy for medication because by that point I could barely breathe. I'd never had that extreme a reaction before but it was quite frightening. So were I your MIL, I'd be quite upset.

HerrenaHarridan Sat 09-Feb-13 19:33:55

Depends if you like them / want them to visit grin

Binkybix Sat 09-Feb-13 19:17:33

I think it is up to them, but it can be a real pain and be constraining if the allergy is bad.

My DH is very allergic to animals, and my dad has two dogs so it means things like at xmas we need to stay in a hotel, can only visit for a few hours etc. It is a pain, and will probably be more so now we have a baby on the way. He hates making a fuss about it, but it does really restrict us.

DontmindifIdo Sat 09-Feb-13 18:10:36

I don't think that a parent gets to limit what happens in their adult DCs homes.

The MIL doesn't live there. She isn't needed to do childcare etc. She lives close enough that visits can be short and not require stop overs, and close enough to meet outside their house in halfway locations like parks or invite them to her house. There is no reason as far as I can see that they should limited their pet choice because of MIL's allergies.

BTW - it sounds more like MIL is a drama queen, even if she does have a slight allergy. My mum has allergies that she uses to try to control others diets - she gets annoyed when I serve things she's allergic to (but give her something else), she really feels everyone should be denied things like chocolate cake because she can't have them...

Do you think it's possible your BIL being aware of having seen your MIL around dogs how bad she really is with them and is refusing to let her dictate what happens in his house? If she has form being a drama queen about her allergies (which "my whole face has swollen up!" when it's just slightly puffy eyes, sounds like she does have form of playing up her allergies to get sympathy/attention/control what's going on with others), it could be he sees no point in pandering to her. Your 'deep cleaning because the cat will make MIL ill' when it very clearly doesn't suggests he's grown up with this and can't be arsed "playing the game" with her.

Midori1999 Sat 09-Feb-13 17:53:11

wishes in laws were allergic to dogs

Of course it they ANBU, it is their home, they can get a dog if they want to. Of course, they will also have to accept this may mean MIL doesn't visit... some may see this as an added benefit of getting the dog.

My own MUm has COPD and has lots of inhalers, medication etc. She constantly goes on about air fresheners, the dogs, the cats etc, but it never stops her visiting. She does make a right fuss if she's here though, but that is all that seems to happen... hmm

Bogeyface Sat 09-Feb-13 17:53:01

She sounds a bit of a drama queen. Not saying that her allergy isnt genuine, but the way she is going on about it.

Their house, their choice. She could always see them elsewhere.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 09-Feb-13 17:11:08

Sorry but she does not live in his house that means he does not have to concider her when getting a pet, she has her own house so can decide what pets are welcome there.

orangeandlemons Sat 09-Feb-13 17:05:06

No, not at all. Ds has always loved dogs, and now having left home is threatening to get one. I have told him I won't be able to visit him much....he doesn't seem concerned hmm.

If he really really wants one, then he should get one, I wouldn't stop him.

Muminwestlondon Sat 09-Feb-13 09:49:23

It depends on the allergy and the type of dog your relatives have! Would it not be possible for your Mum to visit the allergy clinic at the hospital if she is worried? I am sure your brother in law would be willing to keep the dog out the room she will be sitting in and vacuming thoroughly before the visit?

My DD developed an allergy to both dogs and horses, she has even had to get off a bus if a dog gets on, she reacts that badly. If we visit doggy relatives, they normally put the dog in the garden etc and that helps. It is difficult for her to sleepover at a particular friends, as even though the dog is not in the room they is still dog "residue" around the house - it is supposedly an non allergic type of dog as the friend's mum also reacts to dogs - though not to that one.

My auntie has a severe allergy to cats and used to come and stay with us from overseas even though she would be snuffling and her eyes would be running from the allergy.

JeezyOrangePips Sat 09-Feb-13 09:43:30

Orange - do you think that people should change their plans to suit an allergy sufferer that doesn't live there?

To be fair, it doesn't sound like the ops mil has a severe allergy, although we only have her word for that.

maddening Sat 09-Feb-13 09:42:19

They can get a dog as long as they accept that this will reduce visits from his mum.

He must also accept that she may feel purposefully excluded and make sure hw works to eliminate those feelings.

I have asthma and am allergic to dogs - my miltb keeps talking about getting one - which is fine as long as she accepts that ds and I will not be able to visit her - she will have to visit us only and lives an hour and a half away and doesn't drive. ...

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