Help! I'm allergic to my dog!

I'm hoping the BPN community can help me.  We adopted a dog about 10 months ago.  She's a lovable, sweet but very, very furry rescue who sheds a lot.  A lot.  I have developed red, itchy, watery and puffy eyes and asthma.  I'm primarily home with her (I have a very part time job) so I take her for her morning walks etc.  We won't give her up; she's staying with us.  That being said, I need to minimize my allergic reaction.  Any tips for things I can do, things we can do in the house and things we can do to/for the dog?  My eyes and lungs thank you in advance...

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RE: Help! I'm allergic to my dog! ()

Take medication: Loratadine (Claritin) and Cetirizine (Zyrtec) are good options - ask your doctor for other recommendations. Eliminate all rugs / carpet in your house and limit upholstery. No dog on furniture or in the bedrooms. HEPA filter vacuum, HEPA filter on ventilation system, HEPA filter unit in sleeping rooms - confirm proper size for volume of room. Don’t touch the dog. If you accidentally touch her, wash your hands immediately. Have someone who isn’t allergic bathe the dog and brush her out outdoors frequently.

Seriously consider rehoming the dog before you get more attached. I’m not a doctor, but I’ve had a couple of friends in this situation. For both, continued contact with the animal over 2-3 years exacerbated the asthma to the point where it was unmanageable and they had to give up the pet anyway in the end. Good Luck!

RE: Help! I'm allergic to my dog! ()

Definitely try medication. I'm allergic to cats and with one 24-hour Zyrtec (not D) a day, I was able to own a cat and have absolutely no symptoms. This may not be the case for you, but it's worth a try. Other best practices: don't let her sleep on your bed, wash your hands after you touch her, have someone else brush her frequently outside, limit her time on furniture, clean frequently. Air purifier might help too. (And I recently stopped taking Zyrtect and my allergies are magically gone, so there's hope!)

RE: Help! I'm allergic to my dog! ()

I would try putting you dog on a raw diet. They shed a lot less and seem to cause less reactions when they're on it. 

RE: Help! I'm allergic to my dog! ()

I’ve been living with a furry dog and my allergies for ten years now. These are some of the things I do to minimize my reactions (itchy eyes, runny nose, red bumps on my skin where the dog has licked me): 

1. Don’t let the dog in your bedroom. And be diligent about maintaining your bedroom as a dander-free zone: I try not to sit on my bed when wearing street clothes, and I make my husband put on a clean T-shirt at bedtime (since he hangs out on the couch before coming to bed).

2. Invest in a HEPA air purifier for any rooms that your dog is allowed in, plus one for your bedroom (because dander will travel)  Check Consumer Reports for latest recommendations  

3. Don’t sit on upholstered furniture in the dog’s area. I finally spent some $ on a leather couch, but before then I had fabric and just avoided the couch in favor of a plain dining room chair. 

4. Try to minimize rugs and anything else that holds dander. Obviously difficult if you have wall-to-wall carpeting. 

5. Buy HEPA bags for your vacuum. 

6. Wash your hands every single time you’ve touched the dog or anything that might have allergens on it. 

Hope some of this helps!

Edna

RE: Help! I'm allergic to my dog! ()

I’m so happy you’re committed to keeping your dog! People with allergies live with pets all the time. It’s totally doable. 

1. Talk to an allergist about getting desensitization shots. 

2. In the meantime take Claritin or similar. 

3. Even though sleeping with your beloved dog is one of the best parts of having a dog don’t do it. Keep your entire bedroom a dog-free room. 

4. Get rid of everything you can that collects dog hair (rugs,drapes, etc) in favor of wood or vinyl floors, blinds, etc.  If you can afford it replace cloth upholstered furniture with leather or artificial leather type surface. 

5. If you literally cannot touch your dog, as another parent suggested, of course you should re-home it. But there’s absolutely no reason to jump to that conclusion until you’ve tried some basic steps to deal with the allergy. 

RE: Help! I'm allergic to my dog! ()

Sorry to hear about your problem. I know of someone who was allergic to dogs, and medication helped her a lot.

We use a dog grooming tool called the Furminator. We have the original version of the deshedding tool. It's gotten quite fancy over the years, but we like our Furminator b/c it does a great job of getting rid of excess fur in the undercoat as well as the overcoat. It's not 100%, but it's better than other brushes that we've used.

Good luck!