by David the Dogman
David Klein FDTCB. F.inst D. Canine Behaviourist
Many people are unaware
that exposing an allergic to a pet can be life threatening. Pets
should not be a vital part of family life where there is a history
of asthma or hay fever they simply are not a good idea.
As a canine behaviourist
my interest is in both human and pet behaviour. Anything that has
an effect on the relationship will have an effect on behaviour.
As an asthmatic I am always interested in reports from the National
Asthma Campaign and British Lung Foundation both of who are unsympathetic
towards the pets before people brigade.
Myths abound about breeds
of cats and dogs and even horses that are supposedly safe. Many
say that poodles will not affect you because they are woolly rather
than hairy. It is not the hair that causes the problem it is the
allergens and enzymes secreted on to the animal's skin and into
its saliva that causes the reactions.
If you move into a house
where a cat or dog has spread dander it can take up to two years
to clear the allergens. They stick to walls and are in the carpets
and soft furnishings.
If you suffer any form
of allergy then you should consider removing the pet from the home.
If this cannot be done then confine the dog or cat to one room.
The kitchen is best because it has no soft furnishings. Some people
are so allergic that they have only to walk past a cat to set off
an asthma attack. The National Asthma Campaign report that they
now know that if babies who have inherited the tendency to develop
allergic reactions are exposed to cats in the first few months of
life, 80 per cent will develop the allergy later on. The immune
system has been primed and you might start to see wheezing when
the child is about two.
If someone wishes to
own a dog so much that they are willing to "give it a try" (which
I'm not convinced is fair to the animal or the allergy sufferer),
I would recommend some preliminary steps to making it as successful
as possible. First - a visit to an allergist, to be tested and see
how clinically severe the allergy is. Second, begin drugs therapy
and immunotherapy; in order to attempt to prevent reactions. Third
- install air filtration in the home. Fourth - realise the practical
limitations of interaction with the dog.
I adore my dogs but
as an asthmatic I don't snuggle them much, I don't bury my face
into them, like many owners I know. Voice commands rather than "hands
on" makes them more controllable. I keep my hands off them 99% of
the time. I usually limit the petting to their heads, where there
is a little less saliva. Since they are unable to lick the top of
their own head I do have them in the house, but my direct physical
interaction is minimal and they must lay on "their" beds. I always
wash my hands after handling pets.
I would not recommend
a cat or dog for an allergic person, whose life would certainly
be more uncomfortable by owning pets. I go into pet ownership with
my eyes open and would recommend that others do the same.
Brought to you by: World
Wide Information Outlet - <http://certificate.net/wwio/>,
your only source of FREEWare Content online.
Copyright © 1997
by David Klein. Do you have any problems with your pet? Then why
not send your problem to DAVID THE
DOGMAN. David is a Canine Behaviourist who works and lives in
Marbella, Spain. Tel/Fax (00345) 2883388. His web site is located
David has his own radio and TV shows, and writes for many newspapers
and magazines. David has been working with dogs for many years and
started his career in Israel, working on the Border Police. He has
been involved in all forms of training, including air sea rescue,
air scent work, and has trained dogs for finding drugs. David has
devoted the past 10 years to studying behaviour and the very passive
approach. He does not use choke chains, check chains, or any form
David The Dogman is
available for private consultations in your home, for further details
telephone; Tel; (95) 2883388
on Allergies: Dog & Cat Allergies
Editor's Note: This
article is not intended to serve as medical advice. If you suspect
that you have pet allergies contact a physician.