pictures of pets, pets on screens, and drawings of pets

How to Cope with Pets and Atopic Dermatitis 

We know what the doctor says about allergies and pets for people with sensitive skin. What I’m talking about is the reality of raising a child in a dander free environment.

Coping with hard to avoid triggers

We knew from day one that this girl was itchy.  Her parents didn’t even think about having a pet in the house. The pediatric dermatologist said it was a no-go. This child would live a danderless life. We were going to insulate her from any allergens, right? Who were we trying to kid? We had to learn how to cope with pets and atopic dermatitis.

Inescapable

Everywhere she went, there were puppies and kitties. The neighborhood cat joined her on the trampoline. The dog next door put her paws up on her shoulders at every greeting. Her cousins had a Labrador who was more like a blanket rolled up on the floor than an actual pet. Our favorite restaurant had a talking parrot.  It was useless for us to keep her in a dander free environment.

So she was the sneezy one that everyone had to put their pets up for. Was it too much to ask? Nah. Here’s how we did it.

Proclaiming a pet-free zone

Ask ahead of time

My daughter was diplomatic. She knew where the pets were, and came prepared with a set of solutions. First, she always asked if the dog or cat could be put in another room, or outdoors. Some people were fussy, but honestly – most were accommodating, especially for short visits. She came armed with her moist unscented towelettes and the loaded medicine bag. All of the creams, gels, and moisturizers, plus a few antihistamines could be broken out in a moments notice.

Teach no touch

This sounds harsh, but we all encouraged Jill to pet the baby lambs at the petting zoo, and then we wiped her little fingers. If a dog ran up and licked her face, we got out the moist cloth. We also taught her that her itchy skin might need more medicine if she touched animals. By the time she reached school age, she shied away.

Enjoying from afar

Because she didn’t hold a lot of animals, she was a little shy around them. Well, that – and the dog across the street that bit her on the nose made her more likely to look from a safe point of view. When she saw an animal coming, she turned away. Most well-behaved pets responded to that by ignoring her and getting their attention from her younger sister, who is allergy-free. Larger animals never held much appeal for her. She’s ridden a few horses and showered after, but even she felt it wasn’t worth the effort.

Dealing with dander now

She’s a teen now, and spends the night with friends who have pets. They even got a small dog in the house a few years ago, but it doesn’t visit her bedroom. She loves animals and we watch funny animal videos and movies. We even send each other pics of puppies. I had a cat that was low-allergen, and she adored her. For the most part, animals are not a large part of her life. If she wants unconditional love, and some snuggle time, she gets that from her humans. That works!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AtopicDermatitis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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