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Hi dear community,

I'm a new poodle mom, Charlie is 9 weeks so far and she is adorable. The only problem is that since we got her (one week ago), my mom developped an allergic reaction to my puppy. She does not have the usual symptoms she has with other breeds of dogs (rashes, sneeze, stingy eyes...), but she still has asthma and it's quite severe. I don't want to get rid of my beautiful girl, I love her with all my heart and she has really been a blessing in my life right now...

Please, I need some tips from people who dealed with an allergic reaction to their poodle!! Anything is welcome. Does it get better when the puppy grow older (no more puppy fur)?

Here is what I've done so far to try to keep my mom's allergies under control:
  • Keeping the puppy in a specific room to reduce the allergens in the house
  • Brushing her coat every day
  • Vaccum every week
  • Mom washes her hands everytime she touches my puppy

I count on your help,
Thank you!

A worried poodle mom
 

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Do you have HEPA air filters running in the house? Even if the puppy is confined to a room, that air is still circulating through the house. We use Honeywell filters. I also bathe both my dogs every week. Supposedly, things do improve after the puppy coat goes away, although I'm not too sure on this fact, since my family member's reactions to Fluffy, our toy poodle, have always been minimal. I'd also keep your girl clipped short so as to avoid any other allergens being trapped in her fur and making things worse. Hopefully things get better sooner rather than later. :)
 

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I am mildly asthmatically allergic to Annie. I have zero carpets, change my bedding frequently, and, especially at the beginning, bath her weekly. Now it's about every 3 weeks. Have you bathed her yet? I found getting her siblings saliva off her helped at the beginning. In addition to a vacuum, especially if yours doesn't have a HEPA filter, you might try a wet mop.
 

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Oh no! What a heartbreak. :(

I have allergy-induced asthma, which has historically been triggered by rat urine. Icky, I know, but I used to keep rats as pets, and they were the sweetest little boys. It was very hard to give them up.

If she doesn't have one already, I would suggest your mom get a high-quality air purifier, like Floofy recommended, and turn her bedroom into a "clean air" room (door closed, no puppy allowed).

I'd also recommend giving your puppy a good bath if you haven't already. Now's the time to get her accustomed to the groomer, so tell your groomer about your mom's allergies and ask for their input. They might recommend a shorter than usual puppy clip and should also be using fragrance-free, hyopallergenic shampoo.

My mom has severe allergies and currently lives with two small dogs in a small travel trailer. It's doable, though asthma isn't something you want to mess around with. Has your mom consulted with her allergist?
 

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I’m very sorry about your mom‘s allergies. It is so difficult.

I have severe allergies and some dogs will trigger asthma. In fact, most dogs will trigger asthma. When I get a new dog (I choose breeds less likely to trigger my asthma), I always make an agreement with the breeder to return the dog within 3 weeks if I have respiratory problems. I need about 2-3 weeks to know if the asthma will go away, or stay. For me, if it hasn’t gone by three weeks, chances are it won’t go away and I feel it’s not fair for the dog to be rehomed after more than 3 weeks top.

I have allergies to my two current toy poodles. Last winter was very hard on my lungs, and I had thoughts about rehoming. It was the first time it happened so bad and my dogs were almost 3 and 6. I spent a lot of money trying to make it better for my health, so I could keep them : I bought a commercial grade air purifier that I put in my bedroom and I had an air exchanger installed. A good air exhanger will completely replace the air in the house once every 8 hours, so three times a day (you can’t use it if you live in a warm/hot area. It’s only to be used when humidity is around 60% and less). This winter will be a test, I’m hoping what I’ve done will help.

Here’s what can help :
  • No carpets in the house
  • No dog in the bedroom, ideally not even on the floor where your mom’s room is
  • ventilate as much as possible (air exchanger, opening windows)
  • put an air purifier in your mom’s bedroom (don’t buy a cheap one, do your research)
  • wash the dog once a week
  • brush your dog outside or in another room with closed door
  • wash bedding once a week
  • wash hands after touching the dog
  • ideally, your mom should even avoid touching the dog
Unfortunately, it does not always work. Asthma is a life threatening condition and needs to be taken very seriously. Especially in this pandemic.

I really hope it works out for you.
 

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I love how PoodleForum is so knowledgeable and sympathetic to allergy/asthma problems. Thank you, PF!
 
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Asthma is a life threatening condition and needs to be taken very seriously.
Very true. Many years ago my 30-something supervisor died of an asthma attack during a hot muggy summer weather spell. He was had moved in with his girlfriend and her cats, exacerbating his previous asthma issues. The weather pushed him over the edge. Unfortunately, neither human took the issue as seriously as they should have.
 

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While I do think that many of the suggestions above may help your mom's asthma with regard to your puppy I also think that the risk of a fatal asthma attack for her is something I wouldn't risk. BF has asthma and cats are a big trigger allergen for him. We will never have a cat in our home. My last cats lived with my mom after BF and I moved to this house.
 

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While I do think that many of the suggestions above may help your mom's asthma with regard to your puppy I also think that the risk of a fatal asthma attack for her is something I wouldn't risk. BF has asthma and cats are a big trigger allergen for him. We will never have a cat in our home. My last cats lived with my mom after BF and I moved to this house.
Same here. Last time I tried to live with a cat, I ended up sleeping outside on the porch (thank god it was summer) and had to go to the ER. Thankfully dogs are not nearly as dangerous for me as cats. I don’t know what it is with cats, but they can be deadly to those with asthma !
 

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Same here. Last time I tried to live with a cat, I ended up sleeping outside on the porch (thank god it was summer) and had to go to the ER. Thankfully dogs are not nearly as dangerous for me as cats. I don’t know what it is with cats, but they can be deadly to those with asthma !

There were a couple of times where BF stayed at my old apartment with three cats and his asthma flared so badly I thought we were going to the hospital.
 
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I am very sorry for you and your family! What a difficult situation. I have serious allergies and asthma. Poodle folks have given you great advice. I'd suggest you make a list (even a spreadsheet or a calendar) and keep careful notes on what works.

Prior to getting my poodles, I started allergy shots. That's made it possible for me to have my dogs. My allergist is my hero! It's expensive, but have your mom see an allergist. They have so many resources and there are many new medications available. I take Allegra and montelukast (sp?) it's an asthma medication, daily. I have a daily inhaler and an emergency albuterol inhaler. I now have very few reactions to my dogs and I've even started grooming them myself. Brushing your pup outside is important. I do think puppy fur aggravates allergies more then adult fur. I have no idea why, but my breeder definitely agrees. Fortunately, dog allergies are typically easier to manage than cat allergies.

Additionally I've learned dog dander vacuumes easily, whereas cat dander is actually sticky and will adhear to surfaces like walls. Crazy right?

An idea that won't appeal much to your mom is to have her experiment with eating foods which are less inflammatory. My favorite things to eat are simple carbs and sugar. Sadly these food groups also increase my congestion ( as does alcohol, but fortunately I rarely drink) Basically anything your mom can do to lessen the allergic & inflammatory load on her system will help increase her resilience to your sweet puppy. I get allergy shots for dogs and cats, but also for dust mites and certain pollens. Again the idea is to decrease the overall histimine load on my body so I have more ability to tolerate my dogs.

I have wondered if the grain free diet my dogs eat is also helpful in terms of the proteins in their saliva? I've never found anything to support that theory. It's just my speculation.

To echo what everyone else has said, asthma is a big deal. My first priority would be get your mom to an allergist pronto so she has an emergency inhaler and she can get fully tested. And like all professionals, you may need to shop around to find an allergist sympathetic to your cause. I've had a few people tell me I'm crazy to go thru such extreme lengths to own a dog. Of course these skeptics, have never owned a poodle. They can't understand. We need to be patient with the unenlightened 😉

Good luck!
 

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Hi everyone,

thank you so much for your help and insights!!! Turns out that my mom's asthma inhaler was empty (hence her very intense allergic reaction these last few days). Now that she has opened a new inhaler, it's much better (but still not perfect of course). Yes, I know that asthma can be life threatening, we'll be very carefull, thank you for your warning and concern :)

Do you guys have an HEPA air purifier to recommend me?
 

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I’m glad to hear the medication issue was fixed.

I like the BlueAir brand of air purifiers.
 
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Here is another question. How much does your mom want a dog, and how committed is she to making this work?

I've already mentioned my supervisor who died of asthma. He didn't particularly like cats, but he liked his girlfriend. Among the many fatal mistakes he made was to simply try to avoid the cats and put it all on his girlfriend to deal with them.

I had another supervisor who also had asthma, who loved animals, and who was determined to keep animals in his life. He was very active in managing his allergies and getting help in reducing his exposure to allergens. He bathed his dogs and cats weekly. His girlfriend brushed the animals between baths. He installed hardwood floors. He hired a cleaning service to damp dust and HEPA vacuum his house weekly. He switched to using a duvet with a washable cover, which his girlfriend washed weekly (along with doing all the rest of their laundry.) He met regularly with an allergist to get his medications adjusted. Managing it all was a huge effort on his part - and his girlfriend too - but it allowed him to control his asthma enough to keep his pets while avoiding scary incidents.
 

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Here's the air cleaner we use: Germ Guardian. I run it in the bedroom at night. If my mother visits, I move it to the living room. We've had this machine for about five years and it's had no issues. Additionally, we have a gas furnace and I install a high quality filter and switch it out monthly instead of the recommended 3 months. I can look up the MERV rating if that's helpful.

Get yourself a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. I have a Eureka "The Boss" and I find it clunky and unwieldy, but it's a good vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter included. Everyone raves about Dyson machines. I've never tried one. I'm sure they are amazing but they're are spendy!

Hardwood floors make a world of difference.

Your mom will need to be diligent on her part to manage her allergies. I'm optimistic she can improve her situation, but she'll need to commit to taking her meds daily. Hope this helps!
 

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Do you guys have an HEPA air purifier to recommend me?
I bought this one. Medical grade, very good reviews, among the best and made in USA. I can’t say if it’s making a difference yet because I will be going through my first winter since owning it. The only con : too noisy at medium and high speed (use that speed when you’re out of the house or vacuuming) but at the lowest speed, it makes a nice white noise in the bedroom to sleep.


Do your research, there are precise formulas to determine what machine you need based on room size. Also, filters are very expensive and after a few years, they cost more than the air purifier itself ! The Austin air filter is good for 5 years, so even though the machine is expensive, it pays for itself with the money saved from filters.
 

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I've got a Classic BlueAir. The fan got a little wobbly in the first year, and they sent me a brand new one. That was almost five years ago, but very good customer service.

The filters are pretty expensive. I've found the best price so far at Costco.com. I especially love the first month after replacing the filter. It is (literally) a breath of fresh air. Was extremely helpful during the recent wild fires.
 

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Here is another question. How much does your mom want a dog, and how committed is she to making this work?
She is very commited and she loves Charlie as much as I do! Yesterday, we even spoke about the possibility of doing a desensitization therapy if her allergies don't improve. But things are going pretty well right now. I gave Charlie her first bath yesterday and so far, my mom doesn't have much asthma since she opened her new inhaler (she says her asthma varies from an intensity of 0/10 to 2/10, 0 being no asthma at all). We already have hardwood floor and I plan to bath Charlie every week and brush her daily. I also plan to buy an air purificator soon :)
 
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