My boyfriend and I were finalizing preparations to bring a puppy home, when I had a bad allergic reaction. Initially I thought it might be the cats that were living in the house with the puppies, but after seeing an allergist, it turns out I have a dog allergy as well. The allergist recommends I not get a puppy at this time as I could trigger asthma issues. (He can only give us a 50% chance of having a dog at the end of next year too.) Needless to say, I'm heartbroken, and my boyfriend is very disappointed as well.

The allergist does think I will be responsive to the allergy shots, and so we will be commencing those ASAP. But the recommended course will last about a year before they think it will be noticeably effective. And before we go about searching out a puppy litter next year, we are going to borrow my cousin's dog to see if the therapy took. We want to be very responsible about this and minimize any chance of disrupting the dog's life, which is why we aren't going ahead with getting Not Dewey at this time. (He'll find another wonderful home elsewhere, I hope.)

Things we are doing: I will be getting treatment for ALL my allergies, including cats and dust mites. Turns out allergies have a cumulative effect on the body, so any reduction elsewhere will also help. We're using allergy covers on the sheets and pillows, developing a better dust-and-vaccuum schedule, and reducing household allergens. In addition to the shots, I'll also be exercising, because endorphines are an allergy suppressant according to my allergist.

Are there any corgi owners out there who have to battle allergies? What do you recommend? We still really want to have a dog, although we will rethink this in a year if it turns out not to be in either my or the dog's best interest.

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Comment by Elizabeth Mitchell on December 13, 2009 at 5:00pm
Thanks for the info, Sam! (Sounds like your allergies are even worse than my cat ones are. I'm glad you've got an epi-pen handy if they are that severe.)
Comment by Sam Tsang on December 13, 2009 at 4:45pm
Hi Elizabeth, i was on loratadine, doxycycline and prednisone. The thing with anaphylactic shock is: the second and third attack will be much faster and more severe, i cannot stress how important an epi-pen is, my face was swell shut within minutes, couldn't open my eyes, my airway was only 12% open.

No, shot treatment is not for everyone and only work on certain allergies, it usually take about 3-5 years to complete. I was a PA and consulted with many physicians at work, in my case since I had chronic urticaria and being asthmatic did not make me a good candidate for shot treatment.
Comment by Elizabeth Mitchell on December 13, 2009 at 3:30pm
Thank you for all the answers and support, everyone!

We have considered the possibility of a hypoallergenic, less-shedding breed. (Fully aware, natch, that while no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, some are less so than others.) Sadly, most of them are kinda not to our aesthetic tastes, but that may change. (I have a friend who swears by cavapoos, and my doctor herself has a breed she lives with since she too is allergic.)

If we do get a dog, we will limit it from sleeping in the bedroom, and get HEPA air filters, but the dog will otherwise be allowed the run of the apartment. Particularly the office, since I'm told that corgis love to hang out with their masters and be social, so it would be cruel to make the poor little guy stay out. But the bedroom is an absolute no-go zone according to the allergist, even if my shots work.

Sam: Out of curiosity, have you had the shot treatment? When you had the anaphalactic shock and had to go to the ER, were you under any other medication? (If you don't mind sharing?) I myself take a Zyrtec every day and that handles 90% of my daily issues, but will break down in about 2-4 hours in an area with multiple cats.

Edward and Gemima: We will definitely try to make sure that the allergy shots work before bringing home a puppy. There are also a lot of puppy owners in the building so I'm sure we can get a lot of exposure.

While my cat allergies are particularly bad, I've been around dogs before with much less reaction. It is possible that one dog in a well-tended apartment won't really trigger my allergies. Every year I go to a writing retreat, where there are two cats and one dog, and I never have a problem as long as I have my Zyrtec. And I had dogs and cats as a child/teenager. It was only after taking a break from them that I began to develop allergies. So we cross our fingers and hope that the shot therapy will work--as it exposes you to doses of the allergen over a period of time.

Beth: Much of your advice is the same as my allergist's, so we are on the same page there. :) Sadly, we rent, so can do nothing about the floors, but could certainly consider hardwoods the next time we have to move.

Tauna and Kota: Thanks for your sympathies. In general, I've never noticed much of a problem with dogs, but then dogs seem to trigger (or not trigger) a wider range of potential reactions. Frex, my boss would bring his dog into our small office, and I'd have no issues. But I recall getting sniffly around my cousin's labrador and thinking at the time that I was getting a cold. But yeah, we'll want to make double sure before bringing a pup home. For both my health's sake and the puppy's sake, it will be best.

Again, thanks for all the advice and sympathy. In the meantime, we shall probably buy a Roomba, and make a papercraft corgi head to stick on it, so we can pretend that we have the most industrious and cleaning corgi ever.
Comment by Tracy on December 13, 2009 at 12:18pm
I would recommend you getting a hipo-allergenic borderline dog, such as our dogs that we breed, Giant Schnauzers, they are great pets, and fun to play with if you want a big dog, otherwise there are others out there such as havaneese, poodles, schnauzers and much more. I don't however recommend the crosses such as laberdoodles, goldendoodles, and the alike as they are not all well in the undercoat of hipo-allergenic as the breeder thinks. Hope you find something out to help you. So sorry to hear of this, it has to be hard. As for a Corgi, you could try some hipo-allergenic shampoo to bathe your dog in, of course you don't want to bathe too often as the coat could really strip and dry out. I'm sure many will have suggestions for you. Best of luck to you.
Comment by Kyle, Megan and Loki on December 13, 2009 at 12:16pm
have you considerred a hypo allergenic breed of dogs? I know they may not be as cool as a corgi (and frankly a lot of them are hideously ugly) but if you have your heart set on a dog it may be the best choice of action.
Comment by Sam Tsang on December 13, 2009 at 11:13am
Yes, I am allergic to dogs and I had 2 anaphaletic shock and had to go to the ER during my first year of ownership, during the winter months, I'm more susceptible to asthma attack. So here's what I've done after learning the news. I obtain and carry an epi-pen from my physician. This pen will save your life. I change and wash all the window drapes, sheets every week, I vacuum and use a roomba as a supplement everyday, change the central AC filter every month with a 3M filter. faithfully brush and groom my dogs on a weekly basis, swifter duster all surfaces. As far as my dog goes, they are never allowed to be on my bed or sofa.

As far as yourself goes, cardiovascular exercise will strengthen your lungs, don't smoke and stay away from 2nd hand smoke area. Keep benedryl in your wallet and glove compartment.

Yes, after 7 years, it'll become a part of you and you'll get use to it. As I've mentioned in my profile, I'm a corgi fanatic and going this extreme is not for everyone.
Comment by Edward and Gemima on December 13, 2009 at 10:51am
Bummer!!!! I grew up not being able to have dogs because my mom is so allergic to them and most animals in general(even Guinea pigs)I am allergic to cats, but still lived with one for a few years after I got married! Felt like I had a cold all the time, but I loved that cat!! I take a Claritin every day still for seasoal allergies and Flonase nasal spray. I had been tested for dog allergy in the past and was negative to my relief. I do still get a little itchy if I hold my Corgis against my skin, but that is it and I CAN LIVE WITH THAT! My doctor told me every single dog is different for causing symptoms so be wary about just relying on your test to one dog and go out and handle as many as you can......that was my doctor's advice anyway!!! I know it is devastating to you to have allergies, My mom wants a Corgi so bad that it almost brings her to tears when she has a reaction to her grandfurbabies!!!!!! Good Luck with the treatments and keep me posted!!!!
Comment by Beth on December 13, 2009 at 9:26am
I am so sorry to hear this. I would be very upset too. I don't have animal allergies, but my father does. They have dogs and he's allergic to them, though not as seriously as you seem to be. He is allergic to many things so he does take a Claritin or something every day.

One thing they do is keep the dog out of the upstairs altogether and keep a good air-purifier (not one you would get from Sharper Image, but one you would get from a medical supply company) in the bedroom and run it every night. It's surprisingly quiet. If you walk in the bedroom, you can feel that the air is... well, this sounds weird, but it actually fees softer. Like there is no dust left in it.

Other tips are to have someone who is not allergic brush the dog outside every few days, and to have someone not allergic use a slightly damp cloth to wipe all hard surfaces. For many people the dander is the issue, and this shows up as "dust" on your furniture and electronics and stuff.

You would also want washable curtains and very minimal carpeting.

Good luck! I hope you can get your puppy next year.
Comment by Tauna and Kota on December 13, 2009 at 6:00am
Awwwww, I'm so sorry about this development. I know how heartbroken you must be. I hope you are able to overcome these allergies. I have had allergies to cats most of my life. I take a pill. It helps as long as I don't touch the cat then touch my face. Once that happens, my nose runs and my eyes itch and water. I use a nasal spray and eye drops for that. I don't own a cat. But I don't seem to have much of an allergy to dogs, unless they are really dirty, but then I think it's more the dirt than the dog. I have not really looked into the shots. I hope they work well for you and you are able to get a furkid. I'm glad you are going to give the shots and other treatment time to work before making your final decision to get one. And, I'm so glad you decided to wait and not get a dog in spite of your allergies. You are awesome. hugs from me and Kota

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