By Chris Pitts, RVT, of Broadway Animal Hospital
Finding out you are allergic to your dog is an absolute bummer. You're a dog person. You snuggle in the evenings, get out on the weekends, trade goofy dog memes with friends. All that is gone now that you found out you are allergic to your dog… or maybe not. There are a lot of questions that need answering.
First, talk to your doctor about the severity of your symptoms. Are they life threatening, or can they be managed? If they can be managed, how would they be managed? With medication? If so, what are the potential side-effects of the medication, and how risky are they to your health? Are you comfortable with the risks to your health? There is a lot of adult and thorough thought that needs to go onto your decision.
Second, is your allergy such that moving the dog out of the house and doing a deep cleaning of your home is sufficient to keep your allergies at bay? Garages can be set up with a comfy dog bed and food and water. Are other members of the family able to give your dog the attention he needs, without exacerbating our allergies when they come back inside after visiting with your dog? If so, then that may be the solution for you.
If your allergy to your dog is life-threatening, or cannot be managed in a risk-free manner, then you may have to find a new home for your dog. There are a bunch of wonderful places that can help you find your dog a wonderful home. First, try your local humane society. These guys really do try their best to place every dog that comes into their care into a wonderful home. Then there are also breed specific, and even age specific rescue agencies that you can contact to get help placing your dog in a loving home. The internet is going to be a huge help in finding agencies / rescues in your locale. These places usually do a great job doing home assessments prior to adoptions to make sure your wonderful dog goes to an equally wonderful human. Hopefully it won't come to having to re-home your dog, but if it does there are good options out there.
On a small side note, as a veterinary nurse I always find it interesting that when we send out allergy testing to identify what a dog may be allergic to, occasionally these panels come back and tell us that the dog is allergic to its human!