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DP and now DS allergic to our dogs. What next?

(13 Posts)
LotteryWinnersOnAcid Wed 13-Jul-11 10:29:30

DS is showing signs that he is allergic to our two dogs. DP has always been severely allergic (asthma, eczema) and they were my dogs before I met him, so I always said I'd be keeping them whether he decided he wanted to continue living with us or not, so he stuck around and put up with the discomfort. Can't really give my DS this ultimatum... already take measures to keep the house as dander free as possible, and DP is treated with various inhalers, inhalators and potions, but without extraditing the dogs into the (not big enough) garden ALL the time, not sure what to do next.

Does anyone else have this problem, and is it manageable without removing the dogs from the house? I'll be going back to work later in the year and will have a fraction of the time to keep the regimented dander-clearing on track as well as ensuring the dogs who are extremely high energy are exercised sufficiently. To be honest I just feel sick thinking about it, I don't know how I'll manage, and the idea of trying to rehome them makes me bawl.

sad

Blu Wed 13-Jul-11 10:36:46

You cannot clean your home to the extent that you can remove the proteins that cause the allergy. It isn't the hair as such, it is the trace proteins that remain on all surfaces. Dog and cat owners always say 'oh, I've hoovered really well' as if it makes a jot of difference, and DS and I sneeze, wheeze and peer through itching swollen eyes.

So, your choice is to keep your DS dosed up on anti-histamines, year round, possibly on asthma inhalors (and salbutamol is a v poky drug), and still at risk of asthma, or, very sadly, I agree, re-home your dogs.

It is absolutely miserable having even a low-level allergoic reaction - it isn't just the itching and wheezing, it makes you feel low, and like shit. I am amazed that your DH has endured it without complaint, tbh.

multitask Wed 13-Jul-11 11:22:28

Hi, you don't say what breed of dogs you have but it will help to have them professionally groomed at least once every 6 weeks. As a retired groomer I can tell you the amount of hair and dander that I could remove from a dog far exceeds what any owner can do at home. You also need to bath the dogs once a week. Make most of the house a dog free zone, definately the bedrooms. You also need to do a complete clean of your house top to bottom to elimate what dander and hair that has gathered (not suggesting you have a dirty house, but most of this stuff is invisable). Do you have a hoover that is marketed for pet hair? Often a normal hoover does not remove hair well enough. Open windows, use a humidifer, also an air filter, leather furniture is better than fabric, laminate flooring better than carpets (if you have carpets get them steam cleaned.

All of this will greatly help, however the best advice is the dogs grooming routine. If they are breeds that you are happy having a short look, get them clipped, groomed and clipped as often as you can afford.

I feel very sorry for you and your DH and DS as this is a horrible situation. I would blitz the house, then blitz the dogs, and if all of this fails as much as you love your dogs you must consider that rehoming may be the only solution open to you. Much as it would break my heart to do this I could not watch my family suffer.

LotteryWinnersOnAcid Wed 13-Jul-11 11:50:27

I know, Blu. It might be selfish but they are my dogs and I couldn't stand to just get rid of them, they are also difficult to rehome as rescues are spilling over with them (they are staffies) and I have always thought that they trust me to keep them from going into rescue where they may be PTS as there are so many, or rehomed privately which risks them going to someone who does not know what they're doing and means an equal risk of being PTS. I couldn't stand that. They are healthy dogs and it would break my heart. But it breaks my heart now to think of DS going through what DP does. Wheezing, all over rash, waking in the night several times to use inhaler. DP hasn't complained because he is a lovely man. I do feel guilty about it. Ironically, when I was pg I worried that I might not love DS as much as the dogs. Well of course, it goes without saying that I do and more, to the ends of the earth, but this leaves me painfully torn as to what to do about this situation. I know I need to do what is best for my family, but letting those dogs down (who have been there for me since before DP came on the scene) is the one thing I never wanted to do.

Multitask, we do not have carpets and I boil mop the floors, we only have leather sofas and the dogs don't come in the bedroom. It is a one bed flat so the only other places they go are into the kitchen (it is the only access to the garden) and the living room. If they didn't come in the living room it would be unfair as the kitchen and hallway are small (and they are so social and loving, it wouldn't be a life for them). They are staffies so very short haired. I do groom them outside but bathe them less often because the only place to do it is the bathroom and it gets into an awful state (they hate it and leap everywhere). Have air cleaning systems/dehumidifier.

I just wonder if anyone manages this without their DCs having to be dosed up on antihistamines daily, using inhalers, etc. I realise that possibly the only solution, long term, is to rehome them, but I wonder if there is any hope/miracle I can cling onto.

mousymouse Wed 13-Jul-11 11:56:32

please rehome the dogs. asan allergy sufferer I am miserablearound the allergens, even when dosed up. would just not be fair on your ds.

multitask Wed 13-Jul-11 12:33:00

OK.. get the dogs to a groomer for a bath, explain you need them bathed to within an inch of their lives using an anti-allergen shampoo. Blitz house as I've mentioned, intall air filter/purifer, DON'T let the dogs lick or mouth round your DH & DS. Pets at home do an anti-allergy spray and wipes (not sure how well they work but might be worth a try). Also look at your dog's diet, what are they fed on? Add something like salmon oil to their food as poor diet can contribute to poor coats.

I fully understand your reluctance to rehome these dogs, rescues are full of staffies as you know. But long term if you can't get these allergies under control you are going to have to be realistic and start the process of finding a home for the dogs - sorry!

Scuttlebutter Wed 13-Jul-11 12:51:30

OP, you haven't actually said for definite that it is the dogs that are causing your DS's allergies. I think the first step is for him to receive proper allergy testing so that you can proceed from a position of knowing the facts, and eliminating/reducing anything else in your home/diet/lifestyle that may be contributing to the situation. You may need to pay for a private referral as NHS allergy clinics usually have queues, your GP can advise on your local situation.

LotteryWinnersOnAcid Wed 13-Jul-11 13:07:08

Multi, will see what I can do in regards to getting them to a groomers. Unfortunately I don't know if I will be able to do this as money is extremely tight due to DP being made partially redundant and me on maternity leave, but if I cannot afford this locally I will get some of that anti-allergen shampoo. The dogs don't lick much anymore (apart from my legs when I come out of the shower! grin) bless them, they know not to around DP and DS even though they desperately want to give them a kiss. They are fed on JWB and have great coats but I will look into the salmon oil thing - what exactly is the benefit of this? Thanks for all the suggestions, had not tried these. DP's position (and he is almost as reluctant to give them up as I am, despite his allergy he is very fond of them) is that we should start the process of trying to rehome now because it could take a very long time, regardless of whether the measures we take to reduce the allergy work. I see his point. Just feel so bloody guilty. About all of them, dogs, DP, DS. Not my finest hour.

Thanks Scuttle. I have taken him to the GP and she refuses to refer him for allergy testing as he seems fine when he is outside of the house and there wasn't a lot to "show her" when I took him. I am fairly sure it is the dogs (and guinea pig actually) due to the severity of DP's allergy and it being "hereditary", and the fact that the coughing and sneezing occurs most prolifically when the dogs are near him. For example, yesterday DS was sitting playing and one of the dogs went in for a nose and a cuddle and immediately DS started to sneeze and splutter. I don't know if this could have been because the dog unsettled the "dust" around DS (if that makes sense) and caused the reaction, I don't know. As I mentioned above, money is very tight, I will look into a private referral as begging, borrowing or stealing for this is obviously preferable to rehoming the dogs without any concrete "proof" that it is them causing the allergy. I hate to see him all red-eyed and miserable. The whole thing is shit really, feel like I am letting someone down whatever I do. sad

Ephiny Wed 13-Jul-11 13:14:54

I agree about making absolutely sure it is the dogs that are causing DS's problems, there are lots of possible allergy triggers.

I really feel for you being in this situation. It's one of the things I worry about when we talk about having a child. I don't think I could 'rehome' my boy, not for anything or anyone in the world.

Scuttlebutter Wed 13-Jul-11 14:19:31

Lots of allergies don't show until you are exposed to the allergen, so am a bit hmm at your GP to be honest - DH has hay fever but wouldn't be sneezing in the winter. Would expect GP to believe him though. For proper allergy testing a tiny amount of allergen is placed on the arm and reactions to it are measured. Many children who are allergic are often reactive to multiple substances, so it would be worth knowing anyway if there are any other triggers, foodstuffs, cleaning products etc. If DS is sneezing while on the floor I'd strongly suspect house dust mites personally, especially as he improves out of the house. I'd also want to rule out the Guinea pig (not mentioned in the OP) - you could end up rehoming dogs and DS still sneezing.

Sam100 Wed 13-Jul-11 14:24:39

My dh found that the cat version of this product here really helped with his allergy to our cat. He could tell when she had not been done recently and said it was noticeably different after we had groomed her using the lotion.

Madsometimes Wed 13-Jul-11 14:48:47

I will second petal cleanse from Amazon. The product takes about three weeks to work, and you will need to use it weekly. There are separate cat and dog products, you need Petal Cleanse/d.

Petal cleanse also do air sprays and fabric sprays which you can also use on curtains. These should help reduce the dander levels in your home immediately. Needless to say, no dogs in bedrooms, and keep the bedroom door closed, and the windows open as much as possible.

My husband is the allergic one and he laughs at me when I petal cleanse the dog. It works so well for us that he thinks he is not allergic any more. However, he is because when I stop for a few weeks it is noticeable that his cough starts.

I would try this for a few weeks, and then if it does not help you may need to find a rescue place for the dogs. Hopefully it will help though.

multitask Wed 13-Jul-11 14:59:45

Salmon oil is great for the coat, it lubricates it and also good for joints as has EFA 3 & 6. JWB food is ok, and if dogs are doing well on it then no reason to change especially if coats are healthy. Just wondering if you walk you dogs a lot in fields and they could also be bringing home pollen which at this time of the year accounts for a lot of allergies.

Groomers use high volocity driers on dogs and that removes water & excess hair but also dander. I know it is an expense you can do without and I wish I was local to you as I'd offer to do the dogs just to see if it makes a difference to them.

In your home keep dust to a minimum, damp dust all surfaces, open windows regularly (we live in a constant wind tunnel!!) wash hands after handling dog especially if touching DS. Don't smoke, this can make allergies worse. Don't let the dogs on the sofa, although staffies are fine haired and don't shed a lot there are still deposits of hair and dander you can't see. Do dogs lick themselves or each other a lot? Licking leaving salia deposits on the coat which are allergens!

Use a pair of rubber gloves and when outdoors run your hands over the dogs, the gloves will remove excess hair, then wipe over with allergen wipes. Make sure you change your clothes, strip off outside just don't bring the hair in with you. If you can't go to a groomer, can you bath them outside in a baby bath, just make sure they are tied up and you use warm water from a jug not a cold hose, giving treats all the way.

Really hope this situation improves for you as you appear to love the dogs very much.. oh and the DH & DS lol

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