Have you heard the news!? I’m a dog mom! He’s a beautiful pup named Belmont! Deciding to adopt a dog was a big deal for me and my hubby. You guessed it, we wanted one real real bad, but we both have dog allergies and asthma triggered by dander. Then why in the heck did we adopt a dog? Or better yet, how in the heck did we go about it?
Adopting a ‘Hypoallergenic’ Dog
We’ve adopted a cockapoo, which is a mix between a cocker spaniel and a poodle, in our puppy’s case, his dad is a mini poodle so he will be a little smaller. This breed is one of those ‘hypoallergenic’ types. Now I have to clarify this ‘hypoallergenic’ myth before it gets totally out of hand. It does not mean you can’t be allergic to him.
A dog allergy comes from a protein that is spread by their dander and saliva. What classifies a cockapoo as ‘hypoallergenic’ is the fact that he has hair not fur and he doesn’t shed. He still has dander it just doesn’t get spread all over. My parents have a bichon frise, which is also a ‘hypoallergenic’ dog, her licks give me hives. Luckily kisses from Belmont are seldom accompanied by hives.
Hypoallergenic for me means I don’t get itchy eyes and asthma all the time, but I am still allergic to our puppy. Our second day with Belmont we bathed him and I broke out in hives all over my arms and chest. I also had an asthma attack. Not really what you want to happen when you first get a dog, but good to learn early on. Bathtime is now something I get to watch and take pictures of as my hubby gets to wrestle Belmont in the tub.
My allergies also come out when he’s played with other dogs since he gets covered in their saliva and dander. To lessen the allergies we wipe him down with a damp cloth and brush his hair. This also cleans off all the dirt and dust he likes to roll in. I can only imagine what spring pollen will bring… the terror!
And yes, he sleeps in his own bed.
Managing food allergies with a dog
What makes adopting a dog even more complicated is having food allergies. The first day we walked into the pet store I was shocked at all the treats and food made with peanut butter or soy. We asked the lady working at the store for a teething toy recommendation. Her first choice was the one that gets filled with peanut butter. Both me and my hubby were immediately like ‘oh that’s not going to work!’
We had to check all the ingredients and make sure to buy him allergy friendly treats and food. This also applies when someone else wants to feed him one of their treats. Like kissing a human, I have to make sure if I get licked by Belmont it isn’t full of allergens. It may feel weird to tell someone they can’t give your pet a treat, but herein lies the allergy dilemma, make the situation less awkward but potentially dangerous later? Never worth the risk.
I’ve also become a hardcore sidewalk scanner. You would be amazed at how many nut shells and sunflower seed shells I’ve spotted in the last week. Like the snacks, we have to make sure that he isn’t eating any allergens off the ground.
We have gotten into the grove with our puppy. For the most part, managing my allergies with him has been pretty smooth. Like most things with my allergies, I am always on the lookout. The one thing I didn’t anticipate was telling people they can’t pet Belmont because they are eating peanuts and the dust will get trapped in his hair. We are definitely learning something new every day with this little puppy of ours.
I’d love to know how you manage your allergies as a pet owner. Let me know in the comments below!
p.s. Belmont now has his own Instagram if you want to watch him grow up!
Kortney is your typical atopic triad! She manages asthma, eczema, environmental and food allergies. Kortney is a co-creator of the online community Allergy Travels and co-host of The Itch Podcast. She wants to spread joy in a community that can easily see the hard side of life with atopic disease and believes that you can have a full life with food allergies, it may just be lived a little differently!