42 answers

Do I Need to Give up My Dog Due to Kids Allergies?

I had both my sons tested for allergies and both tested positive for dogs.
We have a very sweet dog the whole family loves (plus we live in the middle of nowhere and I feel saver having her).
My one year tested moderately allergic but my 5 year old was off the chart higher than the higest level. He has been on benadryl and is now on claritin and as long as he takes his meds on time he doesn't have symptoms. If I forget, he immediately reacts though. My Dr. strongly advices to "get rid of the dog".
Is it selfish of me to want to keep the dog and treat the symptoms?

What can I do next?

More Answers

In a short answer yes. I can understand your feelings for not wanting to get rid of the dog, but you are putting your dog over your son's health. Listen to your doctor and find a loving home for your dog.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi S.,

Gosh, that's a real hard question, isn't it?

But, you already know the answer, don't you?

The welfare of your kids always comes first.

It's just not a healthy situation for them to be living on drugs that they could easily avoid.

So, find someone whom you trust or could trust and give the dog to that person, and get them to agree to your coming to visit the dog on some sort of a regular or irregular basis.

Now, logically, the dog's life span is not nearly as long as your kid's will be. Second, dogs, for all their wonderfulnesses (yes, that's a plural), unlike humans, can transfer their familial allegiances rather easily, and within a couple of weeks, their new home is as good as their last home.

I know from personal experience, both ways, but most recently when friends had me watch their dog for few weeks in my home, when they came back, (and they lived next door to me) their dog was truly confused and after greeting them wanted to come back into my house with me!!!

So, do the right thing. Don't feel guilty.

R. Katz, Psy.D.
www.richardkatz.org

2 moms found this helpful

No question about it- Who is more important to you, the dogs or the kids? With all the newly discovered side effects and such released in the media today, do you really want to take a chance that these meds will become one of those and find out you may have been damaging your child? At the very least put the dogs outside. I don't mean to sound critical but this does seem like an easy choice to make. I would get rid of every animal in a heartbeat if it affected my kids. Shannon G.

2 moms found this helpful

You asked the question, Yes I believe it is selfish to keep the dog. We are a society that would rather treat symptoms than fix the problem. That is not ok. Can your dog live outside? If not, find a good home for the dog and find one that can live outdoors. That way you can still feel protected and not harm your child every day. I would never put my son in this situation. I have 2 dogs, and I love them dearly, but if it's a choice between my child's health or the dogs, my son comes first!! Don't surrender the dog, find a home by placing an ad in the paper and interviewing the people yourself. That way you can be sure the dog goes to a loving home. Please don't put your dog before your son, that's wrong. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm sure you're a wonderful mother and I too grew up with dogs and know how great they can be, but...

How would you feel if your children developed asthma as a result of continuous exposure to a known allergen?

Do you really want to keep your child medicated unnecessarily?

If your kids grow up and decide that they want to get a dog when they are adults and deal with the allergies then that's one thing. However, you are their mother and are supposed to be protecting them from harm to the best of your ability.

This is an easy one if you really think about it and put your emotions aside. Good luck!!! I know how much a part of the family a dog becomes.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi S.,

I'm sorry to hear of your problem. I'm also sorry, some people have responded so harshly to you! I mean, here you are asking for some advice, and not everyone's comments seem helpful. (or even civil)

If I was in your situation, there are several things I would do. First, is there a way to keep your dog out of your children's rooms and play area? Do a thorough cleaning, investigate air cleaners (do they really work, does your doc think this would be helpful?). Do you have carpets that are holding the dander and making the situation worse? Go to an allergy specialist. See what he/she suggests. There may be simple solutions to the problem.

I know my dog is a great watchdog, and the best security system. I call him my "fur-child" and he is my daughter's best friend. She would be devistated if we had to get rid of him - especailly if she knew it was because she had allergies.

If you really have no other choice but to give him away, at least you will know you've done everything within your power to make things work for the whole family.

Good luck to you all!

2 moms found this helpful

Hello S.,

I am sure you love your children, so show it. But if the dog is effecting their health you need to listen to your Doctor and get rid of the dog, no question about it.I have to say in the nicest way possible - SNAP OUT OF IT. You would rather your child be on meds. instead of listening to your Doctor, find the dog a better home, allow your child the chance to be healthy and a chance to be healthy without possibly having to take meds. for allergies. To answer your question -it is selfish of you. I think you already know that. My husband was diagnosed with allergies and then hospitalized for asthma when he was a child because he continued to react to the pets he was allergic to that his mother kept- even thought the Doctor said "GET RID OF THE PETS." His allergies and asthma persisted and worsened with taking many meds. for the symptoms. When he finally left home his health improved drastically. Is that how you want your child to live? Suffering at all, even the slightest, through symptoms and having to be medicated. When all it takes is his mom finding the dog a better home.

1 mom found this helpful

Of course you must find a loving home for your dog. You don't really want to put meds into your 5 year old son, do you?

1 mom found this helpful

I know how hard of a decision this is for you. My daughter and I both have allergies. I grew up with dogs and I LOVED them. I consistently got sicker as I got older. In high school, I was hospitalized. My parents never got rid of the pets. I didn't want them to. Since leaving their house, I've been much healthier with no pets. Since my daughter never was around pets, it's a much easier decision not to get pets. When we visit my parents (which we do very often) we both always get sick even with medication. My parents were down to one dog, and they said they wouldn't get any more when she died. They just got a new puppy.

Knowing now how much healthier I am without pets, I would advise you to get rid of your dog. I wouldn't think you're a bad mom if you kept it. I just think your sons would be healthier.

I must admit, as an adult looking back, I'm hurt that my parents chose to keep the dogs. At the time, I would've been hurt that they got rid of the dogs. The dogs were like family. It's a no win situation.

It's a very tough decision. If the medicine didn't work, it would be a no brainer to get rid of the dog. Again, I would advise you to get rid of the dog, but I know how hard it will be. Good luck.

J.

1 mom found this helpful

Do your children have any allergies other than to the dog? If they have to be on the medicine anyway I don't think it would be that big of a deal, but of course, your doctor is the best judge. If they don't have any other allergies I would seriously consider finding a good home for your dog.

1 mom found this helpful

Has the doctor forgotten the most important thing in the world? How about your children's feelings. Get rid of the drapes so all the perverts can look inside your house. Have to have hyperallerginic everything in the house. The animals must go.

I am glad my parents did not listen to the doctors all those years ago when we were told to get rid og the cats. I still own and love cats to this day. I have had dogs and reptiles also. If I had not had a cat to sleep between my legs for years without me hurting them I do not know how I could have been a good mother. I had to put my first son between my legs because they broke my tail bone to get him out. I would never have know what loving something that grows old and dies means. So many gifts come from animals. One of my cats would run and jump on my chest when I stopped breathing with my sleep apenia. My ex-husbands smoking made that very bad, he was not allowed to smoke in the house.

Tell the doctor that your house is your childrens haven. You can lie and say the dog is gone. Or you can tell the truth "the dog stays". Talk to the vet I think there is a dander shot that could help your son. They give the animal medication that cuts down on the dander.

I would have been devisated if my parents got ride of the pets. I need animals unconditional love. You and you kids love the dog.

My best friend washed his hands and face between each touch with his cats. He took his medicine and let them give him the love and touch he needed.

1 mom found this helpful

Is there even a question? Your children's health should come first. I have a friend who's parents chose not to get rid of a pet due to allergies which then turned into asthma. She has had to deal with life long breathing issues. Put yourself in your children's shoes. If something was making you sick, would you keep it in your house????

I completely understand the love of a pet. I am struggling with a pet who is ill and can't bring myself to make a decision on what to do. But if it came to my child's health there would be no question.

1 mom found this helpful

I have to weigh in on the side of getting rid of the pets. You will also need to do a thorough cleaning to remove all hair and dander in order to fully stop the allergies. I found out that I and my son are both allergic to cats and hoped to keep my two, but allergy shot treatment takes time and the medicines make my son either lethargic or difficult. The allergies themselves have had an effect on his learning and behavior and they were making my own health poor too! In the end I sadly found a new home for my cats and things have been much better since. My son has other allergies too, but most are seasonal and periodic medicine will help when things are bad. While I still miss the cats, it is worth the sacrifice for our health in my opinion.

1 mom found this helpful

No, I don't think it is at all selfish to want to try to keep the dog. I also find it upsetting that some people would find it appropriate to judge you on an issue that you are being so thoughtful about. I think some people are trying to make this a black and white issue, where a child's health should of course take precedence over a dog. But there are many ways to protect your child's health that don't necessarily mean giving away the dog. Some decisions are complicated, and you are clearly doing your best to consider all the factors involved in trying to BOTH protect your children's health and spare them the loss of a beloved pet. As many others have pointed out, there are things you might be able to do to make the situation even better, and there are many benefits for you and your children of having the dog. You sound like a caring mom, trust yourself.

1 mom found this helpful

I certainly don't think so! To be honest, my daughter is not allergic to our pets, but my husband is. When we first got together he thought he would never be able to come near my pets, but he also began taking allergy medication and has no problems now. He actually developed an immunity to their fur and now loves our pets as much as I do. My daughter has also learned so much about treating all living beings with respect and compassion. They are such a wonderful part of the family that I believe it is worth it!

1 mom found this helpful

Dear S.,
In answer to your question, Yes. Listen to your doctor. Your family will benefit in the long run.
Why in the world would you want to subject your child to a regimen of medication etc. if you did not have to?

1 mom found this helpful

Our Drs advised us that we could keept the dog as long as our daughter doesnt react (she did have a positive rast test to dogs). Dogs do a great job of building antibodies that can reduce the likelihood of asthma. However, if the children react, the dogs can trigger the problems.
I also don't want to get rid of our dog. But, if/when my daughter starts reacting, we will. I'd hate for our dog to make my daughter worse or to bring on/trigger asthma.
I did have one Dr suggest getting rid of him now so that in the future, she doesn't feel like she's the reason we had to get rid of a member of the family.

1 mom found this helpful

The people on here who are saying it is selfish are really ticking me off. It is not selfish. At least not when there are ways to help your son and the keep the dog.

Doctors always advise to get rid of the animals. They are probably a huge reason why animal shelters are overflowing with unwanted pets.

I grew up with 3 dogs and 4 cats. I had allergic reactions to cats, where my eyes would puff up and I couldn't breath very well. I grew out of it. Your body starts to build up a tolerance. Your son will more than likely grow out of the allergy. Though, in the mean time, so you don't have to give up your poor dog, there are waterless shampoos that you can put on your dog to reduce allergens in his/her fur. You can get them from PetSmart or Petco. Also, ask your vet for recommendations. I am sure they'll be able to give you some advice so the world doesn't have to have yet another homeless animal.

You might try changing not only the dog's diet, but your sons as well. I am a vegan and I have absolutely no more allergies. Dairy is something you might consider removing from your son's diet. There are plenty of alternatives out there.

And please don't take the advice someone gave below to put the dog outside. How cruel. Animals have feelings too.

No the pet isn't necessary, and yes it was a choice, that doesn't mean your not attatched to the dog and love it as a part of the family, and it's not that easy to just "get rid of". I was born with horrible pet allergies. The more exposure I had to them, however, the better they got. I had severe reactions where my face blew up and my eyes sealed shut, mainly around dogs. The more I was around them, like I said, with some medicine like benadryl, the symptoms faded dramatically. Now the only time I get that reaction is around horses & cats, probably due to not being around those animals much. I don't think rehoming the pet is that necessary if you are able to relieve symptoms temporarily. I would wait it out some.
My son is 2 and we have 2 dogs and allergies are rampant in both sides of the family. He used to break out in hives and his eyes would water and would get wheezy in his chest. Washing his face and hands after being kissed by the pup would especially cause this. I was terrified I'd have to lose our dogs. It's been a year's wait, and now my son hardly has any reaction at all unless he's rolling around on the floor with them with his face close to their fur. Its nothing like it was at first. I will say I think his reactions are practically gone completely except for excessive play. I have had dogs all my life, and had my mother completely removed dogs from my existence I probably would still be really allergic around them. Just my opinion, but I say to heck with all the replies about getting rid of your pet just yet.

Hi S.,
So sorry you're in this situation.

To commiserate: I grew up with bad animal allergies and asthma and we always had dogs. As another member said as I aged and moved out my allergies got better, BUT a lot of allergies get better with age anyway and I've since had/have a dog and cats (something I could never be around before). We also had 2 cats when my son was born 12 weeks too soon. We had to rehome them for fear of breathing problems. It was the toughest decision I've made, although the right one we felt at the time... turns out his little lungs are great/wouldn't have bothered him, which makes it even harder when we're missing them now!

I would highly suggest following Lauren's suggestion of changing your dogs diet and grooming products, while these won't eliminate your sons allergies it will probably help. And even making sure you're vaccuming daily (away from the kids) will make a world of difference. You might want to check into your children's diets as well, whether or not they have food allergies - artificial colors/flavors, high fructose corn syrup, lots of sugar, etc- can weaken the immune system and make allergies more prevelant. A whole foods diet can change a lot! There are also tons of "natural"/homeopathic allergy meds you can try rather than benadryl and prescriptions, from ginger to ready made combo's there is a lot out there that is safe and still works. You might even want to see an NMD.

I don't think you're selfish, obviously as a mom in a do or die you would choose your children over your dog, but since this pet is important to everyone in your family, allergic kids included, I think it's well worth the trial and error to see if anything helps before getting rid of it.

Sorry for the long response- hope this helps!

I would give up ypur dog, even though it will be tough. I have 3 kids and 2 of them have really bad allergies to everything especially to dogs, and we can't have a dog in the house. I have problems with them if we go into someone else's house if they have any pets. You don't want to keep them on too much medicine, it isnt good for their bodies. And at any time your son could have a severe allergic reaction to your pet. You will be at much better piece, if you can eliminate any pets in your home. If you have any other questions on allergies, I would love to help you out, as I have been dealing with severe allergies with my children and myself for about 14 years. I also have a question for you as I see your a stay at home - working mother. Do you have any advise on how I can try to achieve this? I want to open up my own business and I need to go about the right steps, I thought maybe you would have some advise for me on this matter, and how you achieved the work at home business. Hope this helps.

You have alread gotten a lot of great responses, and I am sorry but I am with those who say get rid of the dog. Do you have any family members that may be able to adopt her? My husband and I are both allergic to dogs and cats and are both miserable when we visit family members and friends with animals. I had a dog growing up and didn't develop my allergies until I was in college so I understand that your children and you are probably very attached to the dog. However, it is not fun at all to be on allergy medication every day and you don't know how that will affect your children long term. Also, even with the medication if my husband and I sleep in a home with animals we are still uncomfortable. I think the best solution would be to find a home for the dog where you kids can go visit but not have to live on medication.

Good Luck,
D.

Hi S.,
I work with a nutritional company and have had several clients who have had great success with nutrition and/or an air purification system to help combat the issues associated with pets and allergies/asthma.

If you are interested, please let me know and I can share more.

I don't think its selfish at all to want to keep the dog. I think its certainly a good idea to look at several options to see if it makes your son's allergies any better.

B.

I don't know as if I'm the best person to answer this, because I am an animal lover, but... My son was diagnosed with asthma last year and we have a dog and two cats. The pulmonologist suggested that some of his attacks could be triggered by the animals, but that there are things we can do to help without getting rid of the animals. The big thing was to keep the animals away from where he sleeps. So, for the last 8 years she was able to sleep upstairs with us, but now we keep her to the first floor. She was upset at first, but has gotten used to it and it is better than finding a new home for her... It has also cut down dramatically on his attacks (plus he is medicated because he has other triggers too...) Hope this helps.

I say wait it out a bit. I am very allergic to cats and dogs, we have one of each :). I am almost to the point now that I dont even take my medicine. It has taken a very long time but you can get used to certain animals and then they dont bother you. Now my cat and dog both sleep in our bed and I am fine. Now if we go to someone else's home that has a dog or cat I am sick with in the first 20 min of being there.
Your child's healthiness is number one, and you dont want to drug the kid for life, but try it out. Waiting to hear what happens. Good luck A.

What I would do is keep the dog. Sweep your floors often to keep dander down and see how it goes. I love my dogs and my daughter and I can't see getting rid of either of them. Honestly, if it was my kid, I would use you best judgement and keep an eye on your sons allergies, they can grow out of them over time. Good luck
J.

I don't think it is selfish of you to want to keep the dog, I just don't think it is the best decision you should make for your family. You say your son is off the chart, higher than the highest level. Sounds like an extremely severe reaction!

If your child was allergic to environmental stimuli over which you had no control (tree, grass, pollen, etc.), then there would be little you could do. You can't keep your kid inside the house 24-7 or in a bubble. It is *necessary* for your kid to go outside and have a life. Unless you are able to cut down every tree and eliminate all traces of allergens from the environment, your child will come in contact with it. That argument is out the window.

On the other hand, having a pet is a *choice*. It is not *necessary* for a family to have a pet. Yes, I understand there is emotional attachment between your family and the pet, but I think you should look long-term as to what the pet is doing to your child.

Do you want your child to unnecessarily be on drugs for the rest of the dog's life, knowing that the exposure to the drugs could lead to more severe allergies or asthma? If your child isn't on the drugs, do you think it is fair to him to have to suffer through the symptoms of the exposure to the dog, just to fulfill your emotional attachment?

I don't envy the decision you have to make, but if it were me the decision would be simple. Carrying out my plans would be the difficult part.

I have the same problem with my 7 year old grand son, he is allergic to almost every thing, he is on singulair before bed, and claritin every morning, we had 2 dogs, one recently passed away, but still have a toy poodle, my grandson sleeps with the poodle. Yes sometimes he gets wheezy and stuffy, but much of that is from cold damp winter air, if we got rid of his puppy he would be heart broken, no you are not selfish, the puppy is also a part of the family. Simply give your child the medicine as directed and all should be fine, my doctor said many times a child will out grow the allergies. Good luck, and god bless. M billick

I am also allergic to dogs have been since I was a kid, we own one and have for about 4 years, since my dog allergies have gone down, I have buildt up a tolerance to dogs, but I do take medicine everyday still. Why dont you give it some time and see how the kids are while they are on the medicine. You can always give up the dog at a later date, just my opinion, it seems like you really want to keep him.

Hi S., I had horrible allergies when I was a child, but my parents were of the theory that I would have to deal with them for the rest of my life, so I'd better get used to it at a young age. They did not get rid of our pets or remove "dust collecting" items like carpet or stuffed animals from my room. I learned to wash my hands after petting the animals. I've mostly outgrown the allergies and LOVE animals. I'm thankful that my parents kept our pets. Best of luck.

You could try an alternative allergy approach...NAET. There are to women who practice in the Indy area. I have used it with alot of success and will have my 3 year old tested in Jan.

I have two cats that have also been 'my babies' for the past 7 years. If my 10 month old ever became severely allergic to them I would be absolutely heartbroken, but I would consider finding a new family for both of the cats. And you can bet that I would contact every place imaginable to ensure that my babies went to a good home with caring, loving owners. After the fact I am sure I would feel guilty as hell for "abandoning them". I would be devastated but I cannot imagine forcing my child to suffer and live uncomfortably or hop them up on meds for as long as the dog is around.

Imagine if you were the one who were allergic to the dog, and your eyes were watery and itchy, it was hard to breathe, and you broke out in hives. That probably would make you miserable. Would you want to go through all of that?

Yes, this is a tough decision, but you may get to a point where you have to decide between your affinity for the dog and your child's health and comfort.

Oh boy, what a hard decision!! If I were you I would try the allergy medicine and see how it goes. I also love my pets, and my kids, but maybe it is possible to have both. If the medicine does not seem to be working, and it is affecting their health , then you may have to find a new home for the dog. Is their any down side to keeping your kids on allergy medicine?? Good luck!

No, there are difent med that you can give your son check with your doc. If he has been rased with the Dog it may give emotinal problems if you get rid of him. I have alleges to cats and Dogs and with help from my doctor I have both
G. W.

I agree I don't think it is cruel at all to have your son on allergy medicine. My son takes zyrtec for the 10 or so allergies he has (trees, grass, etc.) He is also allergic to cats (which I am told zyrtec does not improve), and we were told to get rid of our 2 cats. My son has been doing very well on his medicine, which he would have to stay on regardless if the cats stay or go. I posted similar question on another web board and got some nasty replies telling me what a terrible mother I am for wanting to keep the cats. So, don't take these boards too seriously.You guys have to decide this as family and weigh the risks and benefits.

I have dogs and a newborn, so far so good but I probably wouldn't until I really had no choice as long my child wasn't at a big risk, it's tough, good luck and I hope your chidren can somehow overcome their allergies with safe medications and other forms. Also try to keep the dog as clean as possible, it's not so much the dog but the dander.

I am going thru the same thing but its my cat, I have had him since I was 15 and now I am 28, so you know I am pretty attached. My son was tested for all cats and it came out positive.The won't give him allergy shots since its only cats and eggs. So I am stuck between 2 hard rocks. After dealing with this on my mind for 3 months now, I am just gonna put my cat asleep. I feel horrible over it but my kids come first. I wish you the best of Luck.

S....I have allergies and so did my adult children, I also owned a Pet Shop in Chicago for over thirty years...Since, the animals saliva and their coat are the culprits...change the food the dog eats and buy one of the allergy products to groom the dog with on a regular basis, also there are food supplements for the dog that will help. The commercial dog foods are loaded with all sorts of dyes and chemicals that are an irritant for the children. Talk to a Professional at a shop close to you to find out what the natural course of progression for changing foods will be. Also, better food and supplements to maintain coat will mean less shedding and better general health for the dog. Sometimes a lamb and rice product works and sometime a venison product works and there is a cook book for dog food that addresses this problem as well. Call a real Pet Shop and ask some questions...Good luck, keep the Dog!...L. M.

I can definitely understand how you feel. That would definitely be hard. Is there anyway your dog can be an outside dog, or part time outside? Maybe that would help a lot. Hope everything works out and you get to keep your dog and treat the symptoms.

S.,

My 5yr old is mildly allergic to dogs, so not as bad as your situation. She is also allergic to mold, dust and some outdoor allergans. She is on 2 meds, and I am actually thinking of doing the immunotherapy shots for her. I do not want her on meds constantly, and she will also be exposed to dogs and cats at other homes. I am actually thinking of doing the shots for myself as well. I have some of the same allergies, and then we can do them together.

Good luck

L.

I think I'd set a deadline, maybe 6 months from now, and do what you can to combat the allergens in the house between now and then. Dogs are easier than cats, at least - you can crate the dog in the kitchen at night, keep him out of their rooms, etc. Explain to the children what's going on so they have time to get used to the idea.

My son shares the same environmental allergies I have (pollen, grass, mold, etc.) and so it's kind of funny to me to think of just being able to get rid of a trigger - we're stuck with the allergies and seasonal medication forever, so it doesn't seem cruel to me to have to take meds for it. It's just the way things are. Which made me wonder - do your kids also have environmental allergies? You may not be able to get rid of the meds no matter what you do.

I would talk to an allergy specialist and get more information. I wouldn't say that it is selfish, your dog has become a member of the family, and you have him for safety. I would say get more info, and see if there are other options- shaving the dog, ect... What kind of dog is he? I'm sure worst case scenerio you can find a good place for him. Good luck, and God Bless.

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