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Asthma and your dog

Asthma and your dog

A trigger is anything that irritates the airways and causes the symptoms of asthma to appear. Common triggers include colds or flu, cigarette smoke, exercise and allergies to things like pollen, house-dust mites or furry or feathered animals. Everyone’s asthma is different and people with asthma may have several triggers.

Allergens, which trigger asthma symptoms are found in the saliva, flakes of skin (dander), fur and urine of furry and feathered animals. Although research shows that having pets as children protects against illnesses including asthma, and conversely that having pets causes the disease.

Should you get a dog (or any animal) when you are expecting a child?

No. Puppy training and new babies do not mix well. Both need a great deal of attention. Wait until your child is a toddler and follow the advice given below.

Should you get a dog (or any pet) when you have asthma, but dogs aren’t a trigger?

There is a chance that a particular dog could trigger asthma symptoms, even if you have been in contact with many dogs before. So, spend some time with the actual dog, or breed you hope to own, before you bring him home, to make sure you aren’t allergic to him. Even then, some people will find that over time they develop a sensitivity to their pet. In other words dogs may over time become a trigger for you, even if at first they do not appear to cause problems.

Should you get a dog (or any feathered or furry pet) when they trigger your asthma?

No. By identifying and then avoiding the triggers that make your asthma symptoms worse, you can reduce unnecessary symptoms and become more in control of your asthma. A dog is a big commitment and you need to be certain that you can care for him or her, for his or her whole life. It would be extremely upsetting for everyone, especially your dog, if you had to rehome him because you were unable to manage your asthma. However, you might not react to a different breed or a different species. Being asthmatic does not mean you have to live without a pet in the vast majority of cases, although the selection of the pet becomes far more important.

Some breeds seem to produce less of a reaction than others, and may be a suitable option, but please spend time with the breed to make sure you don’t react. Contact your local vet, or breed club to contact owners.

These breeds include: Basenji, Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Border Terrier, Chinese Crested, Coton de Tulear, Havanese, Irish Water Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Maltese Poodle Portuguese Water Dog ,Puli ,Schnauzer ,Shih Tzu ,Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Mexican hairless and Yorkshire Terrier.

If you child has a particular trigger for asthma, make sure teachers and carers know.

Similarly, if dogs trigger your asthma, make sure your employers are aware so you can be informed if a dog visits the establishment.

I have a dog who is triggering my asthma symptoms, is there anything I can do?

There are several things you can do to minimize and manage your asthma whilst living with a dog, before you contemplate re-homing your pet.

  • Keep your dog out of the bedroom and lounge, or the rooms where you spend the most time.
  • Replace carpet with hard wood floors to minimise dander build up, wash curtains, and bedding and change sofas to leather or leather substitute so they can be wiped down regularly.
  • Bath your dog twice a week. Different breeds need to be washed differently – for advice on the correct way to wash your dog, you can: ask your vet, ask your local breed club or dog groomer (to find your nearest groomer, call the Groomers Association on 01234 273933).
  • Use HEPA (High-efficiency particulate air) air purifiers and vacuum cleaners.

My doctor has advised me to rehome my dog. How can I make sure he or she is happy in the new home?

Rehoming is often extremely stressful, for both dog and owner.

Before you decide how to re-home your dog, please consider the following:

In a private sale, you have no rights after the dog is gone. If you find out that the new owner lied about their circumstances, or even that they have sold the dog on, there isn’t anything you can do.

If you re-home your dog badly, or you have lied about its problems, it will come back very quickly.

Think about what you will charge for the dog and whether you are also selling any registration papers with it if it is a pedigree. A lot of current puppy farm breeding dogs were bought privately from pet homes. You wouldn’t want that to happen to your dog. There is also a huge current market for dogs being sold abroad for fighting, fur farming and puppy farming.