|Barked: Mon Nov 5, '12 12:59pm PST |
|I also have severe allergies. I have the highest IgE levels in my current doctor's practice, which means I'm off the charts atopic. It took me a very long time to get to the point where I knew I could keep my own dog. I worked for people handling their dogs for many years, but couldn't live with dogs. First I started by seeing a top notch allergist and getting immunotherapy. It helped, but it's not a cure. There is no cure for allergies, just lessening your body's immune response to tolerable levels. Also, I've found that meds don't work all that well for me. The ones that do work make me too tired to function (yes even the so-called non-drowsy ones) so I can only take them when I'm not working.
I still can be nowhere near cats even after immunotherapy, but I can coexist happily with dogs. You're starting off right, you must meet the dog in person to gauge your reaction. Research even shows that black dogs and black cats are more easily tolerated and that some breeds do cause much less of a reaction in many people. My allergist doctor has poodles for a reason. There may be no true hypo allergenic dogs, but poodles are pretty close. Barbets have a similar coat type, but their skin oils for water work may have set you off. I found a black Airedale, std. poodle mix through a breeder I knew that had an oops litter. I visited her at 4 weeks to gauge my reaction to her saliva, and again before taking her full time at 8 weeks. She's three now and I'm still doing well. I get along best with dogs that have hair type coats that need clipping like poodles and terriers. GSDs and huskies I can only admire from afar...
Be honest with the breeder about your condition, most will have it in their contract that they'll take back their dog. For that reason and many others, going with a good breeder is likely your best bet. I don't mean to be a downer, just that you can do all the right things and still your body might not co-operate (like me with cats...oh and guinea pigs send me to the hospital). But it is highly likely that you can find the right combination of the choice of dog breed, and individual dog of that breed that you're ok with, ways to control your immune response (be it through medication and/or immunotherapy) and controlling your environment at home (hardwood floors are your friend). It takes a lot of trial and error though, because with allergies everything is so individualized.
Best of luck to you. Find a good understanding breeder and you have to meet the individual pup you're considering in person. Find a good allergist. I know how heartbreaking this can be and how much hard work it is...feel free to pm me if you want more specifics. I was a frustrated dog lover for decades and finally got things to line up right.
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