How do allergies change?
February 25, 2018 6:42 AM   Subscribe

I used to have a (non-sheddy) dog. Now I seem to be allergic to dogs. Dare I get a dog?

I'm trying to figure out if I'd be allergic to another non-sheddy dog. When I met my first wife, she had three cats. At first I was allergic to them, then eventually I wasn't. Then we got a dog, and I wasn't allergic to him, either.

He died a decade ago. We've been talking about getting a new non-sheddy dog (a Portuguese Water Dog). But a colleague brought his Doodle to work, and I seemed to be very allergic to him, even though he's a non-sheddy type (poodle/golden mix).

How can I tell if I'll be permanently allergic, or only temporarily allergic, to a new non-sheddy dog?

What is the state of the art for medical solutions to dog allergies?
posted by musofire to Pets & Animals (4 answers total)
So, what I was told a long time ago is that there are two ways to be allergic to cats: the protein in their spit which is permanent or their dander, which you can develop a tolerance for over time.

So basically, you may eventually become not-allergic to your pets because you live with them and get dosed every day (like with immunotherapy) if you are allergic to dander. Evidently based on your experience, you are dander allergic and you have the possibility of developing resistance to at least your own pets. My best friend is like this - very allergic to pets, but not her own. She's been tested for allergies and came up very positive for cat dander, but her cats do not bother her. YMMV.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:12 AM on February 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also keep in mind that mixes like doodles aren’t as consistently hypo-allergenic as full on poodles or Portuguese Water Dogs.
posted by brilliantine at 7:19 AM on February 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Forget the idea that there is such a thing as hypoallergenic dogs. That is a myth put out by dog breeders. Allergy scientists say there is no such thing.

You can be tested by an allergist to determine your sensitivity to dogs or cats. You can get allergy shots to reduce but not eliminate your sensitivity. These can be expensive and take a lot of time. As far as drugs go, you don't want to subject yourself to long term antihistamines just to tolerate a pet. There are always side effects.

So first get tested to determine your sensitivity. Then use your best judgement, but there is no magic cure for pet allergies.
posted by JackFlash at 10:47 AM on February 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

You sound like my husband, who is miserably allergic to pretty much any dog or cat for the first few weeks of exposure, then acclimates — sort of a Dread Pirate Roberts, iocaine powder thing.

Some dog breeds trigger him worse than others, and he swears the length of their hair seems to correlate positively with the depth of his suffering. (Cats only come in a limited range of hair-lengths and he hasn’t observed a difference with them.)

Can you subject yourself to some different breeds/mixes and track your reactivity?
posted by armeowda at 5:20 PM on February 25, 2018

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