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I always imagined getting a dog once I was settled into my adult life. I'm 32 years old and am just about there, but am very concerned because I'm allergic to dogs.

I had a wonderful beagle for 15 years from the age of 13 to 28. I can barely describe how much I loved my dog. However, I was allergic to her. This was confirmed via an allergy test. I ended up having to take a steroid inhaler (for my asthma), steroid nasal spray (for my allergies), and singulair pill (for my allergies/asthma). I took these medication daily for years. And for my sweet dog . . . it was worth it.

After she died I no longer had to take any medication for either allergies or asthma. However, my symptoms flare up if I'm around a dog, cat, lots of dust, etc. My eyes itch, I sneeze, I get headaches, wheeze, and am very sluggish. Overall, I'm enjoy the "drug free" life. But my heart is beginning to ache for another dog. And I don't like dogs, I LOVE dogs. I love grooming, training, walking, playing, etc.

So, I don't know what to do. Get a dog and take lots of drugs again for fifteen years?

I know about "hypo-allergenic" breeds like poodles, wheatens, etc. But I'm allergic to dog saliva and dander. And the research says hypo-allergenic breeds don't have less dander, and that homes with these breeds have just as much dander as homes with non-hypo-allergenic breeds.

The research says:
1. Get the smallest dog possible (less dander/saliva)
2. Avoid wet mouth breeds (i.e. Bassets/St. Bernards/Bulldogs, etc.)
3. Do not allow dog in bedroom
4. Brush dog daily outside
5. Use ionic air filter in all rooms
6. Remove all carpets
7. Don't allow dogs on furniture
8. Wash hands frequently
9. Bathe dog weekly
10. Wash dog bedding and toys in hot water weekly.
11. Feed dog a high quality diet.

But even with these tips I'm worried that it may not work for me. I just don't want to bring a dog into my home (who I will love within 5 minutes) and have to re-home them. That's not fair to the dog or me.

What do you all recommend? Anyone else out there allergic to dogs? Any tips, support, and recommendations will be appreciated. Thank you.
 

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Wow, that sounds pretty tough. However, you did have a Beagle--a severe shedder and breed with loads of dander and can be a bit drooly. Beagles do affect allergies quite badly. Have you ever been around a dog like a Poodle or other non-shedder? If so, how did you react?

I think some of those suggestions about keeping a very clean home and limited contact between the dog and furniture is good, but is that realistic for you? You seem like a very lovey person and I think you might give in and let the dog on your lap or bed, especially if it's a small dog. I honestly don't know if the smaller dog thing has loads of merit if it's a non-shedder. It sounds like something that makes sense but, did the actual experts say that? I don't know, I feel like if the dog is in the home, touches you and most surfaces, it doesn't matter if he's 6 lbs or 60.

Either way, I think you should try to spend some time with non-shedding breeds. Contact a local Poodle (or similar breed) rescue. Ask them if you can spend some time with them and their dogs because you're a dog lover but have allergies. They will also probably be honest with you if they think you won't be able to do it. I would suggest a shelter as well but even if they have some non-shedders everything will be covered in dander and all from the others. If you have a friend with a dog like that it would be good.

So I think you need to do your best to have a trial period with dogs like that and see how you react. I also wouldn't wash that much if you're just visiting dogs because you have to factor in some more intensity about the contact with the dogs. Also, as difficult as it is you need to face the fact that maybe you can't have a dog. But let's be hopeful! You just really need to spend more time with one, and see how your body reacts.
 

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To be honest, and please don't take this the wrong way, but maybe dog ownership isn't for you. I know you love dogs, but what kind of life would you have if you had to live in a sterilized zone every day? As you have said, hypoallergenic dogs are not so hypoallergenic. They have dander, just a different amount, and they have saliva, just drool less then some. You could try a Mexican hairless - to eliminate the amount of dander, but you'd have to be into having a naked dog.

Personal experience, I too have had an allergy test that has determined me to be allergic to cats and dogs. I haven't been able to smell properly out of my nose since I was a toddler, but I'm ok with this. I've noted that I'm allergic to certain breeds over others. For instance I own, currently, a lab/bc/aussie. I have very minimal reactions - stuffed nose. I work at a vet clinic. I come into contact with a variety of breeds. Bull dogs make me break out in hives, so do Saint Bernards and Bernese Mountain dogs. Hounds make my eyes feel like scratching posts - because of their houndy smell.

Is there per-chance a breed you are allergic to more?
 

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I'd look into fostering the breeds that are easier on allergy suffers like poodles and bichon frise. See how you react to having them in your home and if it's bearable then go ahead and either adopt the one from the rescue you're fostering for, or look for a reputable breeder and buy a puppy.
 

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Look into allergy shots. More effective and you can do them monthly instead of daily.

Do not get a dog if there is chance you may be rehoming them soon after for an issue you knew existed (you are allergic to dogs). That's simply not fair.
 

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How about dog sitting & dog walking for friends and neighbours. Start there, and see how it goes. Lots of dogs could use more walks and attention than their owners can give. It would also give you a clue as to the current state of your allergies. Allergies can get better or worse over time. I used to have terrible hayfever in late summer and fall, and it disappeared all by itself over many years time. There is hope for you too
 

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I have severe allergies and asthma (to dogs/cats/life). I take have a steroid inhaler twice daily for my asthma, have a steroid recuse inhaler, have a steroid nasal spray and a pill for my allergies.

My aunt has always had Beagles and I can say from my experience they have been one of the absolute worst on my allergies/asthma. After about an hour of being in the same house as them I am puffing on my rescue inhaler and having to go outside to get "fresh" air.

I grew up with a toy poodle who never really bothered me.

My grandmother German Shepard while not as bad as the Beagle was still pretty horrid for my asthma/allergies. I could be in her house for about 2 days (with the help of my rescue inhaler at 4 hour intervals) without feeling like I was suffocating.

I did extensive research on this when I was looking for my dog, I went to shelter and petted different dogs to see if having their dander or oils on my hands and then near my face bothered me. I found the poodle, the wirehaired pointing griffon, the redbone coonhound, the american bulldog, and a couple other single coat dogs and dogs with hair versus fur worked well for me.

I cannot allow my dog in my bedroom and I have to remember to wash my hands before bed or anytime they will be near my face. But he pretty much doesn't shed. I brush him twice a week, wearing a hepa filter mask (I am sure I look crazy standing on my back deck), which keeps him from scratch and releasing dander or fur into the house. I vacuum the house ever 3 days to keep all the dander and fur up. With these precautions I have noticed no increase in my asthma or allergies since he came home.

A lot of these things I did anyway because I have had a cat for the last 4 years. He too is not allowed in my bedroom but rather sleeps in the bathtub.

I am not sure if you would be able to get away without taking medication but sometimes allergy shots can actually completely get rid of a trigger.
 

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The research says:
1. Get the smallest dog possible (less dander/saliva)
2. Avoid wet mouth breeds (i.e. Bassets/St. Bernards/Bulldogs, etc.)
3. Do not allow dog in bedroom
4. Brush dog daily outside
5. Use ionic air filter in all rooms
6. Remove all carpets
7. Don't allow dogs on furniture
8. Wash hands frequently
9. Bathe dog weekly
10. Wash dog bedding and toys in hot water weekly.
11. Feed dog a high quality diet.

I think that bathing you dog to frequently actually increases the oil and dander production. I do use a spray on my dog that supposedly reduces the dander.

My dog and cat are allowed on my furniture. I have a blanket draped over my couch and my cat has his own chair. The 85% perfer to be on the floor anyway unless they are looking out the windows (for Trucker the couch is just in his way, for Galileo the couch is is step stool).

I have carpet, As I said previously I just vacuum a lot. I am going to remove it probably sometime this year but not because of this just because I want to.

Allergy shots (immunotherapy) are an effective treatment of allergies by building tolerance over time through gradually injecting increasing doses of an allergen.

The levels of dog allergen in homes with “hypoallergenic” dogs did does not differ from the levels in homes with other breeds. (Dog allergen levels in homes with hypoallergenic compared with nonhypoallergenic dogs)
 

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I am allergic to cats. My eyes will swell up and breathing becomes quite difficult. I have been on allergy shots given sub-q for over a year and it has helped tremendously!! Because of these shots I now have 2 cats with little effects. I still use an inhaler daily for added maintenance.
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Thank you all for the replies! I really appreciate it! :)

To answer your questions:
1. I have not spent time around non-shedding breeds such as poodles. I will look into fostering a non-shedding breed and explain to the rescue that I need a way out if my allergies and asthma can't take it.
2. You are right I cannot live in a super clean environment even with dusting and bathing the dog. I don't have time to clean the whole house everyday. lol
3. I never knew that my beagle was a high dander breed. Oh my. I never thought different breeds may impact me differently.
4. I am going to make an appointment with an allergist to discuss his /her thoughts on allergy shots. I know they take about six months to work which is fine by me.
5. I will NOT adopt/buy a dog if I find I cannot deal with non-shedding breeds either. I wouldn't do that to a dog.
6. Great idea! I may look into walking shelter dogs a couple times per month to get my pet fix and give back to animals in need.

My fingers are crossed. I will write back soon and let you know what I decided (or my allergies/asthma) decided! ;)

Thanks again.
 

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my step dad is huge allergy sufferer but he gets no reaction from our yorkie, but we knew that before we got him. His sister had a silky terrier (very similar breeds) who used to sleep on his face if he stayed there, lol, but thats the general advice for allergy sufferers.

Its very different between people, some can handle the non shedders perfectly while others get reactions from the saliva too ect. So the only thing you can do is to try to get contact with several different breeds who are hypo-allergenic and see what your personal reaction will be. Luckily there are a lot of very lovely tempered breeds that dont shed, such as the bichon family, the bichon frise, havanese, maltese, bolognese, coton de tulear. The of course my personal favourite the poodle.

So far no one with allergies that have visited us have had a reaction to our yorkie but there are always exceptions.

Also if you find that you dont have as much of reaction to poodles dont get a poodle mix unless you have spent time with that particular dog.
 

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This is so important I had to quote it again.

Also if you find that you dont have as much of reaction to poodles dont get a poodle mix unless you have spent time with that particular dog.

-----
And yay! Keep us posted. I'm allergic to certain dogs as well. Particularly my friend's Pomeranian Chihuahua mix that sheds like there is no tomorrow. I have had 3 poodles with no issues.

Here is an old picture of my standard poodle when she was a puppy. I think people are used to seeing poodles with "one" look. She was grown out here and it was really cute!

ImageUploadedByPetGuide1450389820.972426.jpg
 

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Thanks again,

I'm really glad I posted here. What a cute poodle! Thanks for sharing. I will certainly try to foster a purebred dog ie. poodle and see what happens. But definitely see the allergist first.

I can't wait to find explore my options some more.
 

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I think you will find that life with a small(ish) non-shedding dog will be surprising allergy free. I tend to have allergies to dogs and cats, but I can truthfully say living in very close proximity with our poodle/bischon mix for the past six years has never caused any allergic reaction.
 

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I too loved my toy poodle, it was the first dog that I was able to actually own. I inherited her from my great grandmother and she was super "little french poodle" movie behavior but when you are 10 and a little girl who loves dress you think is is AMAZING that your great grandmother only let your dog eat off of fine china.

When my granny got her she was coal black and the first time she took her to get groomed she thought they were handing her back the wrong dog because she had turned silver. :) But we always kept her "Puppy Cut" so she only had a small poof on her tail and a slight poof on her head. I love that poodles can be cut in different styles.

This is FiFi:

 

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I use a combination of allergy shots, OCD-like cleaning tactics (I vacuum daily, do the sheets and blankets weekly, dust almost daily, etc.), antihistimines, etc to deal with it. My allergies to dogs are more mild than those to dust or pollen, so to me its not a huge deal. I do have to manage all the allergies together, so that sucks a bit and if you can reduce your reaction to other things you can reduce your overall discomfort quiet significantly I've found.

Part of dealing with allergies is LOTS of cleaning, so if you don't have time for regular daily cleaning, you may find its just too much work to have a dog with the extra walks, etc, too. Something to consider-I put up with it because I want to, but a lot of people think I'm crazy or couldn't do this much housework-especially living with a roommate that you also may have to clean up after.

An option may be to foster-commit to trying different methods for yourself, help a dog out, and when you feel comfortable taking on a long term responsibility doing it then. Some dogs induce reactions more than others, too, and you might get lucky here. Just an idea.

Also, allergy shots are a minimum of once a week a year type of commitment. After 3 years, they helped me-but I couldn't afford the weekly shots or time off work anymore. It takes about 15 minutes to get the shot, 30 minutes in the waiting room after, and depending on where you go about 60 minutes in the waiting room beforehand (this was a fast clinic, but public, not a private doctor. Most clinics have longer waits and most personal family doctors have shorter waits, but distance to where you are matters too).

Anyhow. Most milder allergies can be managed if you want to, but it IS a lot of work on top of the work of a new dog itself. If you can form daily cleaning habits beforehand it helps a lot-even if you just start slowly and pick only one task a day (dusting, vacuuming or mopping daily helped me the most).

Hope this helps. :)
 

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I too loved my toy poodle, it was the first dog that I was able to actually own. I inherited her from my great grandmother and she was super "little french poodle" movie behavior but when you are 10 and a little girl who loves dress you think is is AMAZING that your great grandmother only let your dog eat off of fine china.

When my granny got her she was coal black and the first time she took her to get groomed she thought they were handing her back the wrong dog because she had turned silver. :) But we always kept her "Puppy Cut" so she only had a small poof on her tail and a slight poof on her head. I love that poodles can be cut in different styles.

This is FiFi:


Oh my ????? so cute
 

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Thank you Kwenami,

Allergy shots do indeed sound like a huge commitment with time and money. It will cost me $150 month for the first six months because you have to get the shot once per week.

Afterwards, you get the shot once per month $30 for me for 3-5 years.

"Allergy shots, or immunotherapy, have been shown to eradicate pet allergies entirely in as much as 80% of patients who take the full course, says allergist and immunologist James Sublett, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology."

I will find out if I can tolerate a dog six months to a year after starting the shots.

For me, the cost is worth it. I am keeping my fingers crossed.
 

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Good luck! Keep us updated on your doggy interaction experiments and the results.
 
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