Dog Allergy Symptoms

Our Wheatens Finley and Maggie

My son is allergic to many things; peanuts, tree nuts, egg, sesame, soy, dust mites, many pollens, cats, and dogs. Yes, he is allergic to dogs and we have decided to get a dog.

You see the funny thing is that allergies are not all that cut and dry. When we visit homes with dogs, my son has no reaction. When he pets dogs, he has no reaction. He does however have some mild reactions when licked on the face by some dogs or by rubbing his eyes after touching some dogs.

We had a cat once and my son tested negative to cats. The cat died and months later my son tested positive to cats. When we visit homes with cats, he has no reaction.

Some people in our position would never get a dog. I’ve consulted with various forums and many individuals straight out thought I was a bad parent for considering it. Maybe these parents have not read the studies on how pets make us live longer.

It’s true, pets have in fact been shown to keep people from becoming lonely and depressed. Those with pets are healthier and live longer than those without. Having a pet is an extreme amount of responsibility and a great way to teach life lessons to children of all ages. And even some individuals with dog allergies have grown immune to their own dog.

Of course if I thought getting a dog would put my sons health at risk I certainly would not consider it. The following is what I did to make sure we were making the best choice possible.

1. I researched breeds of dogs. Some are more allergenic than others. There is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, but some breeds cause little to no reactions in some allergy sufferers.

2. I visited dogs with my son. I let him play with them, let the dog lick him, and watched for reactions.

3. I researched how to minimize allergens in the home.

4. I found a reputable breeder and asked for references. I emailed and asked for allergy sufferers and their experiences.

5. I found others with allergies with the breed we were looking into to see how it worked out for them.

6. I found a back up home in the event it doesn’t work out. Thanks mom and dad!

On June 27, Finely the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier will be coming home to join our family. He’ll be 8 weeks old. Wish us luck!

Are you living with a dog and have a dog allergy? I’d love to hear about it!

2012 Update
The boys are doing well with Finley, and so far no allergic reactions. We even brought home another Wheaten in the Spring of 2010. Our son still tests positive to dog on allergy tests, but the numbers are low and he’s reaction free. A pet may not work in your home if you have allergies. However, if it’s important to you to have a pet for your children – you may want to discuss with your allergist and try visiting a variety of pets to see if one might work for your family.