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Dogs and allergies!

(28 Posts)
Mel2137 Tue 09-Feb-21 21:34:24

Hi, I'm new here and looking forward to getting some of your experiences. My partner and I would both like a dog. My son is all grown up and lives abroad. He visits around twice a year and stays for a month or so. The trouble is that he is allergic to animals. I don't want him not to be able to stay with us and feel comfortable.
My partner hasn't had a child of his own and this dog would mean a lot to him. We are looking at Portuguese Water dogs in the first instance. I've asked my son to find a breeder near him to experiment and see if he reacts. I know this doesn't guarantee anything. My son isn't keen on us getting a dog.
I guess the truth is we should abandon the idea of a dog but I just wondered if anyone had been in the same situation? Are we being selfish if we get a dog? (Be gentle!) Thank you for taking the time to read this.

SueDonim Tue 09-Feb-21 21:37:00

How allergic to dogs is your son? My friend is only allergic to cats if she touches them, same for my nephew. Would putting the dog into kennels while your son visited be an option?

RulaNula Tue 09-Feb-21 21:38:46

Hi there, Mel2137

I'd definitely get the dog,

EkwaNimitee Tue 09-Feb-21 21:42:07

How badly does your son react? The reactions can be very serious. My niece’s partner reacts very badly. He can only visit my niece’s mother, who lives nearby and has two dogs, if he sits near the open door and stays a short time. Even then he has sometimes had a bad time after with asthma attacks.

Spice101 Tue 09-Feb-21 21:43:52

Welcome. You are not being selfish, there are many breeds that are proven to be generally low allergenic or even non allergenic although this can change between animals and also people.
It is a good idea to see if your son can find a breeder and experiment with your chosen breed.

I bred dogs for 30 years and it was a breed that is considered to be low allergenic - mainly because the breed does not shed as they have a double coat. I had a few people ask to come and test the waters re their allergy. Some had no response at all and some had some response but all said the response was nowhere as great as with some other breeds.

Personally I think you son is a little selfish not wanting you to get a dog because it may affect him for a short time. Particularly as it would mean a lot to your partner.

Mel2137 Tue 09-Feb-21 21:49:46

Wow, thank you for these quick responses! Everything you've all said makes sense. Yes, if worse came to worse we would either give the dog to a kennel or dog sitter or my sister in law so we have thought of that. At some point it's got to be ok to get on and live our life, right?

Mel2137 Tue 09-Feb-21 21:53:13

My son rarely used his inhaler but I've not seen him near animals in along time. He stayed at my cousin's when they had guinea pigs and his eyes were sore and he had to use his inhaler a lot. As he stays a few weeks, he might desensitise but of course that's not guaranteed. We'd get filters and keep dog to only certain rooms.

MissAdventure Tue 09-Feb-21 21:56:45

I wouldn't run your lives, or more importantly, perhaps, your pet's life around your grown up son.

Nonogran Tue 09-Feb-21 22:06:49

My daughter as a child & young adult was extremely allergic to dogs' "dander'. Horses and cats gave her severe breathing difficulty too.
As a teen her heart's desire was to have a dog so we researched what breeds of dog would be suitable & found that Schnauzer's are hypo allergenic. They don't shed hair which is a bonus but they do need regular professional grooming. Our darling Schnauzer lived happily with us until she was 13 and a half without causing any allergy issues.
In the last two years she & her husband have rescued a bitch Boxer. With relief my daughter isn't allergic to her either.
I hesitate to say, but putting a dog in kennels for your son's visits might not help as dog contamination (I don't mean that rudely or being offensive) will have permeated your house whether you realise it or not.
Can I suggest you get a dog, keep it out of the guest bedroom & that your son takes antihistamines throughout his visit? That's what my daughter does when she stays with friends with dogs and or cats & it works. Simples!

Scentia Tue 09-Feb-21 22:10:11

You could get a labradoodle/cockapoo type dog as these are ok for people with allergies.

GrannyRose15 Tue 09-Feb-21 22:12:16

Get a dog! They are lovely companions, encourage you to exercise and give you something to think about other than yourself (very important during Lockdown). I think poodles and anything crossed with them (cockerpoos and labradoodles) cause fewer allergies than long haired breeds, but do some research and you will come up with your perfect breed. Don't let your son rule your life. If it really is a problem when he comes to visit I would suggest a high end air filter in his room (look at The Healthy House website). I use one in the summer as I am sensitive to pollen and it really works.

sodapop Tue 09-Feb-21 22:13:40

It's not just the dog though, there will be hairs etc around the house. Really depends on how severe the allergy is. I think more research is needed before taking a decision Mel2137 . Although I agree it would be a shame to deprive your partner of his dog I can forsee problems ahead if your son's allergy is severe.

Spice101 Tue 09-Feb-21 22:17:25


You could get a labradoodle/cockapoo type dog as these are ok for people with allergies.

Some are and some are not you cannot be sure of these crossbreeds any more than you can of individual pure breeds that are recognized as being hypoallergenic.

Mel2137 Wed 10-Feb-21 10:04:02

Thank you all- I'll keep thinking and no, I won't let my son rule the roost from afar! I just want to be fair to everyone. Thank you!

midgey Wed 10-Feb-21 10:13:43

Scentia my daughter bought a labradoodle precisely because she believed it wouldn’t shed hair. She was 100% wrong, her vacuum cleaner works overtime!

crazyH Wed 10-Feb-21 10:18:11

I don’t know what the answer is, but I can tell you this. It’s not nice at all if you have an allergic reaction to anything. I am terribly allergic to old friend had a cat, but she always put the cat out when I visited. Even then, my chest always felt tight, sneezing etc. My visits were never a pleasant experience. The dander or whatever it is, hangs in the air all the time. I hope you manage to work something out. You want your son to have nice pleasant, happy visits, don’t you? So think well before you make your decision.

Peasblossom Wed 10-Feb-21 10:23:29

It’s a choice.

You don’t get a dog. Your son can come and visit.

You get a dog. Your son can’t come and visit.

It’s a choice I’ve had to make.

He can’t expect you to run your life for him and not have a dog and you can’t expect him to visit and suffer for your choice. You’ll have to accept that you may see him less frequently and for a shorter time at an restaurant or similar.

There are dogs that shed less but there’s no such thing as a non-allergenic dog 😬

Tizliz Wed 10-Feb-21 12:05:41

Slightly off topic but a Portuguese Water Dog requires a lot of maintenance. This may be ok for you but if you have to kennel the dog you will have a few problems - the kennel is not going to brush it every day.

grandtanteJE65 Wed 10-Feb-21 12:10:26

You are not selfish to want a dog, but perhaps you will need to accustom the dog to sometimes spending time in a room alone, so that your son and dog won't be in the same room when he visits,

Can your son's allergy be controlled with anti-histamines while he is at yours?

Otherwise I am afraid the dog will need to be in kennels or looked after by a friend when you son visits, and after th dog is out of the house, you will need to clean very thoroughly to get rid of dog hairs.

From the start I suggest you accustom the dog not to lie on chairs or sofas but on its own rug or bed. It may be necessary to use loose covers on all upholstered furniture. It is nearly impossible to get rid of animal hairs, although a plastic sponge pot scourer wrung out in water does a very good job.

I don't think you are being selfish here, as your son only comes a couple of times a year. To me, he sounds selfish expecting you to not have a dog for forty-odd weeks of the year, so he can want to visit for maximum two weeks.

25Avalon Wed 10-Feb-21 12:13:37

If your son has a bad allergy then if a dog has been in the house you will have to thoroughly clean it. If this is only twice a year and somebody else has the dog you should be ok. Can your son not take anti allergens such as Puritan or Benadryl?
My dd is highly allergic to horses and sat next to somebody who has stroked a horse or even going near a tack room will spark her allergy which is very unpleasant. When she was home I couldn’t let a horse even nudge me.

Esspee Wed 10-Feb-21 12:15:51

It is a case of what is most important to you. Your son, or getting a dog.
Who are we to influence you.

NanaandGrampy Wed 10-Feb-21 14:05:38

I'm always concerned when I hear about people who want to get a dog suitable for people who are allergic.

Some dogs do have a low allergy status like Portuguese Water Dogs but that only means they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction not that they don't cause ANY allergic reaction.

Smileless2012 Wed 10-Feb-21 14:13:06

Poodles and poodle cross breeds can be a good choice as they don't shed. I don't see why your son can't make the effort to see if the breed you've suggested would aggravate his allergy Mel.

To get a dog which you both want, especially your partner, isn't being selfish especially as to not get one is for the benefit of your adult son, who lives abroad and visits twice a year.

Dinahmo Sat 20-Feb-21 18:46:41

I'm aged 74 and when a child was diagnosed with allergies to cats, dogs, horses, feathers and dust. I've lived with either cats of dogs throughout my life and I'm asthmatic. You may think I'm stupid but I wouldn't be without my 2 dogs. I haven't had cats for several years and now that I don't have them I will react if I go into a room where they have been. I do believe that one can acclimatise oneself to them over a period of time.

My triggers these days are fumes and it is those that have caused me to be hospitalised twice.

I would think arefully about some of the cross breeds around at the moment. The man who first created the labradoodle (one of his reasons being allergies) now wishes he hadn't done it.

I've strayed a bit from the OP - I think your son is wrong in asking you not to have a dog. Your partner's health, mental and physical, are more important.

Musicgirl Sat 20-Feb-21 19:00:15

I have had asthma, eczema and hay fever all my life and dogs and cats are among my biggest allergens. When we decided to have a dog, getting a hypo-allergenic one was a major priority. It is fur that moults that is the problem but there are several breeds that have hair that grows and needs to be clipped every so often and these tend to be much more suitable for people with allergies. After advice, we decided on a Cairn Terrier and he is the light of our lives. Such fun and a lovely, happy nature.