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best dog/house keeping suggestions for a family with allergies

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  • best dog/house keeping suggestions for a family with allergies

    I'm almost afraid to ask this question but..

    What are the best dog and house keeping tips that folks can provide for trying to keep allergies to a minimum with a Golden Retriever?

    I did not like the allergist response of "get another dog" but have convinced him to work with us so, figured I'd ask the collective COTH folks for their recommendations for grooming tips and tools, house-keeping tips, best vaccuum, best HEPA filter devices, magic incantations, etc. ANYTHING to help keep allergies at bay...

    After being dogless due to family allergies for 12 years, we're getting a Golden Retriever puppy next week and I want to do everything I can to make it work.

    Thanks in advance!

    I'm a VERY excited about-to-be-puppy-owner!

  • #2
    My sister who is a DO is big on the stuff by bio-allers, drops that you take every day, they sell it at the Vitamin Shoppe, and it's worth a shot.

    Otherwise, you've got it with the HEPA filters, on the vacuum, on the house air intake etc.
    Also, what about eliminating all the carpet you can? Hardwoods or better yet, Pergo flooring doesn't harbor all that dander.

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, why did you have to get a big, hairy dog?
      That makes handling dog allergies much harder.
      You will be allergic to the dog and much that comes in the dog's coat, like pollen and molds from the outside.

      Now the good news: You can try to make it work by keeping your puppy very, very clean.
      A weekly bath, which don't believe those that say bathing a dog is bad, many of our club's goldens get bathed more than that for shows and theraphy work and are still happy and healthy.

      As a puppy, you may not react that much to your dog, but you will once it gets the adult coat, sorry to say.

      If you religiously get it bathed once a week at first, then you can try going a little longer, until you reach your personal limit, that may be from a week to maybe even a month.

      Then you got to get a towel, soak it in plain water, squeeze the water off and rub the whole dog once daily with it, so the water soluble oils the dog produces will be minimized, rubbed off.
      Also rub the dog off when it comes in the house, see above for reasons.

      Teach your dog NOT to lick you, as the saliva also has that protein that your body will see as foreign and make you react with allergy symptoms.

      Best if you can teach your puppy to sleep in a crate, not on your bed.
      Best if you can have someone brush and handle your dog for any grooming.

      Allergies are cumulative, so if you are already exposed to many things but not over your threshold before you have symptoms, that dog may throw you over the top, so avoid other things, so you can be around your dog more without too much trouble.

      There may be a time where, sadly, if your dog allergies are bad enough, you may have to choose if to breathe or keep the dog, after you may have ended in the ER with an asthma attack.

      Allergies with upper respiratory symptoms will slowly damage your lungs, so there will be a time where you may have to make some hard choices.

      You absolutely need to work with your Dr, preferably a specialist.
      For some people, weekly allergy shots work over the years to at least keep you from reacting to so much other out there and let you keep the dog with good care on the cleanliness end.

      If we are talking about little kids, I will have to agree with the Dr that it is not fair to have them live in misery, so you may want to rethink what you are doing there.

      There are no truly hypoallergenic dogs, just some we react to less than others and many times it is because some dogs are kept or naturally stay cleaner than others.
      Goldens are not known for that.

      Sorry, sometimes things in life are not supposed to be as we want them, but you can give this a try and see how you may get along with the dog, good management to keep all very clean and maybe medications like Advair and such.

      Comment


      • #4
        You can also wash the dog in four parts water and one part liquid fabric softener, and towel dry, don't rinse it out. The fabric softener will help keep the dander down. For people, you may want to consult a holistic nutritionist who can help you the allergy problem. I've known people who got rid of their pets due to allergies, but even after all the heartbreak and trauma of doing that they were still suffering because they were allergic to so many other things.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by lolalola View Post
          You can also wash the dog in four parts water and one part liquid fabric softener, and towel dry, don't rinse it out.


          Gaaah! Do NOT do that--especially with a puppy!--unless and until you run it by your veterinarian and have your vet check the ingredient list of whatever brand you're planning on using.

          Good advice from Bluey. Definitely have the dog washed once a week.

          I'd reconsider breed choice.

          Does the breeder know about the allergies? (Does the breeder care?) Will the breeder take the pup back if you can't work through the allergy issues?

          Comment


          • #6
            I have heard from more than one person dealing with allergies in their family that their allergist suggested a golden retriever as a dog of choice as there are less reactions to them. I have no idea how valid that is, but would guess it has to do with coat texture???

            Anyhow, I love my golden retriever. Because we've raised a number of goldens and labradors as guide dog puppies in training we have certainly dealt with fur and dander so I've made a list of helpful hints.

            1. Feed a quality puppy/dog food as that will cut down on dry skin and dander and keep the coat shinier.
            2. That said, we noticed more dander on our black lab pups (because we could see it on them easier) during growth spurts, so don't be surprised to see that occasional increase.
            3. The vacuum is your friend. We have always vacuumed regularly with a hepa filter, but a year ago we purchased a Roomba after I saw a thread on COTH about Roombas. I still vacuum with my upright vacuum, but Roomba runs three times a week on the vinyl and wood floors. She is programmed so we do nothing except empty the tray as needed. I watch the seemingly random patterns and wonder how it could clean well, yet when we have Roomba shut off (company visiting or whatever) I noticed there is definitely more grit and pet fur under foot. My next vacuum to purchase for my carpeted areas is going to be a Dyson due to its allergy-related effectiveness. Costco has a good price on them and that vacuum does a fabulous job.
            4. Brush your puppy/dog regularly. I use an undercoat rake and a Furminator on our dogs with good results. I find the puppies have always liked a soft, flexible, almost flat rubber dog curry and it's good for their skin and getting them used to brushing. I like the earlier suggestions of a damp towel or even using a chamois on a daily basis. Bathing can dry out the skin and fur so I would experiment with how often to bath the pup/dog.
            5. Not related to allergies, but I highly recommend obedience training and consistency for puppy/family success.

            So stay consistent using Hepa filters, vacuuming, grooming, etc. and congratulations on your new puppy!

            BTW, I've seen references to a study somewhere sometime that showed kids raised with dogs actually had less allergy issues than those kids raised without pets.

            Comment


            • #7
              For the cost of a better vacuum, if you own your house, check with an electrician about a whole house vacuum.
              You won't believe how having only a hose you plug in the wall will help with the dust in the house.

              Those vacuums sit in the attick, basement or like mine, in the garage and you empty them two or three times a year.
              In my house, three outlets let me reach every place, plus one more in the garage to clean cars.
              Most of the dust is vented to the outside of the house, so you don't have to mess with filters or have any dust blowing around in the house when you vacuum.
              The electrician will put two or three pipes in the walls from the attick, two or three outlets in the walls and a place for you to plug the vacuum hose.
              You can also add a bottom outlet, many put in the kitchen, to sweep stuff and spills into and have it be sucked up and out.
              Mine 4 years ago cost under $700 installed:

              http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/arti...232096,00.html


              No carpets, only tile or other slick floors and only rugs you can take out to dust off, is the best for anyone with allergies.

              As for breeds, I am very allergic to dogs and one breed I have never reacted to are shelties.
              I checked out a litter of dobies and was allergic to three of the five.
              So, it depends on the dog very much, although some breeds may be easier for you to live with.

              Generally a small dog is better than a larger one.
              A short haired dog will be easier to keep clean and should bring less outside allergens on it into the house, so less allergens, but a dog with long top guard hairs, as shelties and goldens, if kept very clean, you should not be close to the allergens in the skin, so react less to those dogs.

              Dogs that lick themselves a lot will make you react more, as they leave saliva on themselves.
              That is why cats generally are worse for people with allergies and also because they are not kept as clean easily.

              I hope your breeder is aware of the possible problem and will give your puppy a bath before you pick it up and keep it by itself, so you don't start sneezing right on the way home with your new puppy.

              Comment


              • #8
                That is why cats generally are worse for people with allergies and also because they are not kept as clean easily.
                Makes sense...ever try to wash a cat????

                Can you rehome the dog to another member of the family? I wouldn't suggest just rehoming it in general...but if you have a friend of family member willing to have a new buddy then it might be a good idea for you.
                Then get yourself a Standard Poodle. Hypoallergenic and non-shedding. And not a little yippy useless dog either...darned good dogs for families, easy to train, smart as heck without being an evil genius type, good around horses and rids yards/properties of unwanted varmints.

                If not, you're going to want a canister vacuum most likely. The uprights do have pet hair models now...but none seem to have a pet hair power brush attachment that's actually got power. It's just a slide-on that has the suction of the motor turn the beater-bar. Which will spin great when you're looking at it and slow right down the minute you put it on furniture or carpeted stairs. For pet hair pick up you want the smaller upholstery/stair attachment to have an electric powered beater bar...and you need the smaller attachment to rid the furniture of hair.
                I just got a new vacuum (no allergies but I can't stand pet hair all over the place and I have a cat and a GSD) and had tried out a couple of the uprights and neither one did any real picking up except on the carpet itself. I tried the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser one...then tried the Dyson Animal. Both were strong enough to almost suck the carpet pad up through the carpet but neither one could get the hair off the furniture unless I went over each spot about 5x and pressed down hard as hell. And frankly I don't want to get exhausted vacuuming. I ended up getting a Kenmore Canister (had one in the past too, awesome easy to use attachments) and it's working great.
                You're going to need an excellent vacuum...if you get a bag vacuum make sure you buy the filter bags that keeps the dander from escaping in the exhaust...and vacuum daily. Furniture and floors, you need attachments to get the furniture and under it because even if you can't see hair on it...that's where dander wafts to and collects and causes allergy outbreaks. And your dog will need a good bath weekly, not just a quick soap and rinse but massage them well and rinse a couple times to loosen and remove dander.
                The allergies can be lessened but it takes some extra work.
                You jump in the saddle,
                Hold onto the bridle!
                Jump in the line!
                ...Belefonte

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sanely Eccentric View Post
                  My next vacuum to purchase for my carpeted areas is going to be a Dyson due to its allergy-related effectiveness. Costco has a good price on them and that vacuum does a fabulous job.
                  I'm not trying to hijack this thread, but where did you get your information about Dyson vacuums doing a good job?? According to Consumer Reports (I love this publication), Dyson never ranks anywhere near the top of performance ratings for vacuums.

                  March 2008 Consumer Reports rated Two Kenmore models as #1 & #2 for uprights. Dyson ranked #7 & #15!!!!!

                  And at their ungodly high price, why would you even consider one???
                  If you cannot set a good example, at least serve as a terrible warning....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Kenmores rated that high??? Wow, I didn;t know that.
                    I started using Kenmores years ago, they always worked great for me and lasted a good long time because Sears always has replacement parts. I'm tough on vacuums, I vacuum daily and always have heavy shedding dogs. Yup, I'm an idiot. I tried going with a non-Kenmore last vacuum and hated it...it was an $800 freaking vacuum too. It was great on the floors...and that's it. Went back for a Kenmore last week and am loving it.
                    I seem to have better luck with canisters since they have better cleaning attachments and I can do everything above the floors as well as the floors themselves. I dust with the vacuum too.
                    For the prices they can't be beat...the top model is around $500 I think and you can get a great one for $250.
                    The Dyson Animal I bought and then ended up returning did do a good job on the floors...but only on the floors. And it's so bulky you can't get under anything with it, or even close to walls or furniture with it. Not to mention it's size and weight is like trying to manhandle a tank around. And emptying the dirt catcher was messy as hell...stuff poofed everywhere despite being careful with it.
                    You jump in the saddle,
                    Hold onto the bridle!
                    Jump in the line!
                    ...Belefonte

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                      Kenmores rated that high??? Wow, I didn;t know that.
                      Yup. I have the #1 rated vacuum (we buy what Consumer Reports recommends and have always had good, reliable stuff).

                      #1 Kenmore Progressive with direct drive. $300
                      #2 was also a Kenmore Progressive (different model) at $350

                      Interesting that a Hoover (#6) for only $60 beat out the Dyson (#7) and its $550 price tag. Even Bissel and Hoover ranked higher than the Dysons.
                      If you cannot set a good example, at least serve as a terrible warning....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Poodles have a reputation for being hypoallergenic, but they are not.
                        I know, I had three to groom and I had to take medication before starting.

                        The reason people may not react as much to them is because they are groomed much.

                        Every time I was grooming ours, if one licked my arm, I would have hives on it right off.

                        People with dog allergies are allergic to a certain protein our bodies see as "foreign" and that brings out the cascade of histamines and other.
                        That protein is found the most in the oily skin secretions, urine and saliva in the greatest concentrations in substances we may be more apt to have contact with.

                        Each person with allergies may react more or less to some, no matter what breed of dog you are around or individual dog.

                        Since we can't really go around getting puppies and having them half grown to when we start really having a problem and then giving them up and trying another, as that is not fair to the dogs and ourselves, really, we have to just be careful to try to get the dog we like and manage it well.

                        Even then, there are some dogs we just can't live with and still breathe.

                        I had two dobies with little problem and when I got my third one, right off I was over the top allergic to that puppy.
                        No matter what I tried, after several weeks, I just about ended up in the ER with an asthma attack and my doctor told me the dog just HAD to go.
                        The breeder took her back and I was in contact with her new owner for many years, that loved that dog and the neat obedience training start I had on her.
                        He had a falcon that rode on her back going to hunt.
                        The falcon would fly off and hover, she flushed the rabbits for the falcon to hunt and when done he would ride on her back again.
                        He sent me some neat pictures, but I can't find them.

                        Severe dog allergies and trying to live with a dog is hard in many ways, but all we can do is to try to manage.

                        I hope you have enough ideas now to make a good plan for your needs.

                        Would be neat if you had a good groomer close, so you would not have to do that yourself.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          our daughter has allergies to almost everything, including her sweet tb mare. dd is at the barn 4-5 days a week then comes home to 2 dogs and a cat which she is also allergic, not to mention all the grass, hay, trees etc... basically allergic to everything except food. this is what we do ....
                          hepa filters for ac/furnace
                          no animals in her bedroom.
                          her bedding is wrapped in a an allergan resistant cover(pillows,mattress and box springs). you can get these at target for not much $$.
                          all hardwoods and tile in my house.
                          window treatments that are either wipable or washable.
                          dogs and cats eat high quality food(eagle pack) formulated to reduce skin irritation. you never see our animals scratching.
                          i vacumn(with a dyson) and dust almost everyday.
                          when dd comes home from the barn, she has to shower asap.
                          i try to keep clutter at a minimum. (emphasis on try)
                          dd is on allergy meds but there are days when her allergies get the best of her.
                          daughter was diagnosed after she started riding and after the dogs and cat were part of our family. knowing what i know now i would look at a standard poodle for a family pet. great dogs and less dander.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                            Then get yourself a Standard Poodle. Hypoallergenic and non-shedding. And not a little yippy useless dog either...darned good dogs for families, easy to train, smart as heck without being an evil genius type, good around horses and rids yards/properties of unwanted varmints.

                            .
                            Great description of the Standard! Best dogs ever - mine is happily snoring on the couch right now!

                            My brother has a golden and boy does she shed - a lot! Are you sure that is the best choice dog for you? I'm not trying to be mean but I watched my mom have to give up her beloved corgi due to allergies and it was not fun.

                            Mom had always wanted a corgi and got him to keep her poodle company after his mutt died. Well, after having poodles and the mutt who didn't shed much for so many years, the hair that came off the corgi was a shock. My mother had never had allergies before so she kept thinking it was sinus infection, a cold or one thing after another. Finally the doctor said it was related to the dog and that she had developed severe allergies. She cleaned like crazy, we washed him with special stuff and even had him clipped! But it just made no difference and her lungs were getting worse and worse. So we had to find him a new home. Luckily we found him a great home with a couple who babies him like crazy but it was really heartbreaking. They were friends of a friend and now they've moved so we don't get updates anymore either.

                            I'd really think twice about taking on a new family member that you already know you are going to have issues with - it is really heartbreaking if it doesn't work out.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Definitely think about dog free zones in your house, especially if you're not ready to tear up all the carpet (yet!). If you can keep the dog out of the allergic person's bedroom, that will help. If you can get rid of any carpet, even area rugs, and upholstered furniture (even if the dog isn't allowed on the furniture, he'll rub up against it and the hair will stick) and drapes - that will make a big difference. We have cats and cat allergies, and of course cats go EVERYWHERE, so we've even ditched the comforters and any bedding that can't be washed weekly when the sheets are changed. Sofa pillows - forget it. Throws for the couch - washable. Now that the carpet is gone we see the dust bunnies sooner and that's even affected my thinking about buying furniture - I'd never buy something now that I couldn't easily vacuum underneath, or couldn't easily move aside to vacuum behind. Depending on your situation, your best investment might actually be a cleaning lady on a regular basis to keep on top of the details. Ours has animals too and knows all sorts of tricks for keeping it all under control.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Get rid of your carpet! Seriously.

                                We have 4 dogs and the carpet makes house cleaning a nightmare. It holds pet hair and dander more so than a hardwood/tile floor would. I can't wait to get rid of mine.

                                Keep the dog clean and run air purifiers with HEPA filters in your house. I have a big one that runs in the living room and a smaller one that runs in the bedroom all the time. Change your whole house filters often also and buy the best allergen type filters you can get.

                                Good luck!!
                                "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                                Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I agree with Bluey. I know you don't want to hear, 'why did you choose that breed' but if you have allergies in the home, why would you choose a breed that is such an allergy-inducing furball? Our neighbors have a Golden and we love him, but he leaves a trail of fur behind him wherever he goes, even with their excellent care and grooming.
                                  Have you considered any of the hypo allergic breeds? We had a Kuvasz for 14 years. She was an amazing dog, with no shedding/allergy issues at all. We have friends who have a Soft Coated Wheaton terrier because their children have allergies and he is the sweetest dog. There are some great breeds out there that are suitable for children with allergies.
                                  I just worry about a puppy coming into your home and in a year you may find that the allergy issue is too difficult, so when the puppy is no longer cute and little, you may have to find a new home for him.
                                  But that said, if you decide to go ahead with the GR, I wish you all the best. They are great dogs.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by lcw579 View Post
                                    Great description of the Standard! Best dogs ever - mine is happily snoring on the couch right now!

                                    My brother has a golden and boy does she shed - a lot! Are you sure that is the best choice dog for you? I'm not trying to be mean but I watched my mom have to give up her beloved corgi due to allergies and it was not fun.

                                    Mom had always wanted a corgi and got him to keep her poodle company after his mutt died. Well, after having poodles and the mutt who didn't shed much for so many years, the hair that came off the corgi was a shock. My mother had never had allergies before so she kept thinking it was sinus infection, a cold or one thing after another. Finally the doctor said it was related to the dog and that she had developed severe allergies. She cleaned like crazy, we washed him with special stuff and even had him clipped! But it just made no difference and her lungs were getting worse and worse. So we had to find him a new home. Luckily we found him a great home with a couple who babies him like crazy but it was really heartbreaking. They were friends of a friend and now they've moved so we don't get updates anymore either.

                                    I'd really think twice about taking on a new family member that you already know you are going to have issues with - it is really heartbreaking if it doesn't work out.
                                    I love heelers, but I can't even be in the same room with them hardly, as they have, as GSD and corgis, that same heavy down coat and short guard hairs.
                                    A friend raised corgis and after he got the dogs, I could not go visit any more, he had to come to my house for that.
                                    That combination of hair type is the worst for allergies in most people that have allergies.

                                    Also the size of the dog helps, as a smaller dog is easier to keep clean and brings even less stuff in from outside, all else being relative.

                                    As for breed, if you like poodles, fine, if you don't, don't get one just because you think you can be less allergic to one.
                                    Decide why you want a dog, is it the idea of having a dog, or do you really, really want to have a dog and what kind do you like best?

                                    Seems that you had done that already and decided on a golden, so work from that now.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Train the puppy from day one that he's not allowed on the furniture. He can't jump up on the stove, is it any crueller to say he can't jump up on the couch? Humans go on the floor to play with puppy, puppy doesn't go on furniture to play with humans.

                                      If your home is like many people's - wall-to-wall carpets, a lot of stuff, one or more casual living or family rooms, a kitchen that flows into the rest of the house, etc. - it might be easier and cheaper to change the way you decorate. If all the rooms flow into each other on the first floor, with no doors that can be closed, it'd be simpler to make the whole downstairs as clean and bare as possible because that's where the dog will spend 99% of his time.

                                      Most bedrooms have doors, so make it a rule from the start that the dog doesn't sleep in the bedrooms - get a toddler barrier to let him see/hear people, but don't let him go into the rooms. That'll keep him off the beds, for a start, and make it easier to keep everyone's personal things, including clothes, away from dog dander.

                                      If at all possible, replace any downstairs wall-to-wall with area rugs. These also collect dander, but can be taken up and beaten, hosed clean and put back over cleaned floorboards annually. Try to find some sort of solid storage for all cloth and clothing that lives downstairs - shut the coats in the closet, if you have any of those nice warm throws on the couch, find a place for them. Anything that goes near your face, from scarves to pillowcases to blankets, either keep far from the puppy or be prepared to wash in hot water frequently.

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                                      • #20
                                        Golden's are the best dog. But they shed like MAD! It's crazy how badly they shed. We give ours a cut in the summer and that helps. If you do have to get a golden, make sure you have a good groomer.

                                        If you want the best of both worlds, look into a labradoodle. Hypoallergenic and great dogs.

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