It’s true, I’m really allergic to dogs. In fact, I’m more allergic to dogs than anything else I’ve been tested for. On a scale from 0-6, where 0 is not allergic at all, I’m a 5 when it comes to dogs. On the blood test, I think anything over like 0.35 means you’re allergic, and I rate about a 66!
I’ve had allergies & allergy induced asthma forever, and I’ve always been pretty allergic to cats & dogs (along with almost everything else environmental – trees, grass, pollen, you name it). Growing up, we had a poodle because it is was better for all of our allergies (it runs in the family). When my sister got a Golden-doodle a few years ago, I was allergic to her dog too, despite the hopes of him being “hypo-allergenic”. Sam’s mom has a bunch of dogs & cats and the first time we spent the night there, Sam thought we were going to have to camp in the backyard – I just couldn’t breathe. Whatever it is in cats & dogs makes my chest tight, leading to not being able to breathe easily.
So if being around dogs means I can’t breathe, why did we adopt Duke? Well that was a no brainer in my mind! We wanted a dog, Duke needed a home, and were a perfect match for each other. I wasn’t going to let my allergies stop us from making Duke a part of my family, but I do need to be able to breathe!
How I Have a Dog When I’m Really Allergic:
- Working with my doctor
The first thing I did was make an appointment with my allergist. He did the tests to confirm my allergies and we found a good medicine regime that keeps me under control. I have maintenance medication and emergency medication that I always travel with. If I forget a dose of my allergy pills, just one, I break out in hives wherever Duke touches me. So I don’t forget anymore!
- Keeping the house clean
I clean our apartment a lot! The sheets & couch slipcover get washed often. The floors are hardwood and get swept almost daily. Throw rugs and the couch are vacuumed. Especially important is to keep Duke off my pillows, so I’m not rubbing my face in dog hair at night. Easily done by keeping a blanket over them and the bedroom door shut when we’re not home.
- Never touching my face
This is so important and so hard! If I pet Duke and then rub my eyes, my eyes get so itchy. This is so hard to get used to, but now I use the inside of the collar of my shirt or a tissue if I have to rub my eyes.
- Being aware of my triggers
I know it is hard for me to brush Duke, it kicks up so much hair, so Sam usually does that.
- Spending time with Duke in the beginning to get used to the allergens
I didn’t avoid cuddling with Duke in the beginning. I wanted my body to get used to him being around. I was cautious in the beginning, washing my hands often, but I was careful to help my body assimilate. I didn’t want to have a dog that I couldn’t cuddle with or pet. So I worked to make sure I got used to him.
Now Duke and I can cuddle as much as we like! I still don’t touch my eyes & take my medicine religiously, but on the whole, I’m fine. He can get up in my face without a problem. I’m even better at Sam’s mom’s house, with more than one dog & cats! He’s really helped my animal allergies. My blood tests aren’t any different, but my symptoms are so much better. Plus, we have this adorable ball of energy and I wouldn’t trade him for anything – even no allergies!
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