signs with paws on them

No Pets Allowed!

Last updated: February 2022

I was diagnosed with asthma at the age of two. My parents realized that it was probably not a good idea to have our pet dog around me, and so sadly sold our Candy to another family. My parents could not be sure that I was allergic to Candy but they did not want to take the chance. Now, as I sit here writing, I am glad they took this action.

It turns out that I am extremely allergic to pet hair and dander. There might also be something in the animal's saliva that can irritate people with allergies. According to Mayo Clinic, there are many proteins found in dogs' saliva that can cause allergic reactions.1

Pets of my past

I remember visiting my aunt and uncle's house in Croydon as a kid, and they had what seemed like a mad, crazy dog called Robbie. He was probably not looked after properly and was quite aggressive. They always locked him away when we went around. Because of me. However, this would not stop my eyes from swelling, and my wheezing from coming on. I hated going around there. To add insult to injury there was a deep stench of tobacco in every room, but no one knew any better. It was the early 80s and every house was the same. Or it seemed that way. If there was one environment that you would not send an asthmatic child into, it was one where there was smoke, pet hair, and dander in the air. It is akin to sending someone with a sneezing allergy into a pepper-filled room and saying, "go have some fun now!"

In 2017, my then-wife and I bought one of these hypoallergenic breeds. A Schnoodle - a cross between a Miniature Schnauzer and a Poodle. Apparently, hypoallergenic breeds are kinder to people suffering from allergies like asthma and eczema because they do not leave hair everywhere. He was a beautiful dog that we named, Porridge. It was heartbreaking to have to give him back after a couple of months because of the effect he was having on my asthma and eczema. We both knew after about a week that this was detrimental to my health but we had grown so fond of Porridge that we just lived with it. In the end, my asthma was really worsening and my skin looked terrible and we had to give him back to the breeder.

Managing pet exposure, and my asthma now

Now, if I visit friends with pets, I make sure to not stay too long and I take antihistamines roughly twenty minutes before I set out and that kind of gets me through. Sometimes it does not, and I end up with my eyes streaming, and my breathing feeling a little labored, but you can't just not see your friends.

It is actually sad to think that people living alone with conditions that are affected by pets, cannot even seek comfort and love from a pet to keep them company. Ah, that's life, I suppose. You win some, you lose some!

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