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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Human Allergies To Pets

Are you sure it’s the pet?
Some people can develop allergies later in life.  So even though that oak tree that has been in the backyard for 15 years has never given you problems, it might be a problem now.
If it’s not too scary for the pet and if it is safe, consider having a friend take care of the pet or board the pet at a reputable facility for a few days.  See if your symptoms subside. If they don’t you will know it was not the pet that was giving you problems.

Could it be something on the pet?
When I used to volunteer at animal shelters, some of the cleaning solutions workers used would make me cough. Especially Fabuloso.
If the pet lived with or played with other pets before arriving at your residence, the pet might be carrying urine or fecal matter on his/her fur.  The pet might have perfume or cologne on his/her fur from cuddling with volunteers and/or staff members and/or the previous owner. The pet could have rolled in something on the ground.  If the pet was bathed right before you took him/her, the shampoo could have been perfumey and allergy inducing.
Consider any flea or tick applications or collars that cause problems for a human
If it’s safe and not too scary for the pet, try giving the pet a bath in a perfume free, dye free, detergent free, hypoallergenic shampoo.  Check with your vet for a good brand.  Or ask your vet about the safety of a vinegar and water rinse or baking soda and water rinse or a sugar scrub.

Can you give it time?
I have found that whenever a new pet entered my home (temporary fosters or permanent residents), I often went through an adjustment period – different allergy symptoms with different pets.
When Matt-Matt came to live with me, the inside of my face itched for about a year. Then the itching went away.  Yes, a year is a very long time. But during this time, Matt-Matt slept in bed with me, right next to my face.  He was comfortable there and he was a very nervous dog by nature so I didn’t mind having him there. If I had given him is own bed, I’m sure my itching would have subsided sooner.
When Puddin came to live me with me, I had very painful eczema for 6 weeks.  The eczema was actually a lot more annoying than the face itching. I probably could have cuddled her a little bit less to reduce my symptoms. But the symptoms did eventually go away.
When Murphy came to live with me, I had a dry cough for about 6 weeks, then it went away.
So will other folks be able to adjust to their new furry family members the way I did?  I don’t know. Of course the down side to waiting might be that the allergies don’t subside and the family is more attached to the new pet.

So what if none of the above works?
Before giving up the pet, talk to your conventional doctor about over the counter or prescription medication. Or talk to a holistic practitioner about other ways to alleviate allergy symptoms. Be sure to thoroughly research any medications.
Something that I happened upon by accident – vegan raw foods.
Despite taking four different medications per day, my allergies were pretty bad at night for some reason.  Every night around 10:00 PM, I’d get puffy, itchy eyes and sniffles.  One day I just happened to eat a couple of salads that contained only raw veggies and fruit and nothing else. Later that night, I had no symptoms. I tried nothing but raw for a few more days — no symptoms. When I would go back to eating cooked foods, my allergy symptoms would come back.
I don’t expect allergy sufferers to change their diet to vegan, whole, raw foods, but it’s just an example of one remedy that worked for one person.
The person with allergies could wash his/her hands after engaging with the pet. Maybe even consider a dust mask when engaging the pet (at least until medical relief kicks in)

Vacuum every day or better yet, remove carpet
Dust every day
Brush pet outside daily ( to be done by the non allergic person of the household)
Wipe pet down with damp cloth daily
Set up air purifiers preferably with HEPA filters
Set up pet free zones in the house (usually the bedroom of the allergy sufferer)

Other allergens
Allergy sufferers are often allergic to more than one substance. Consider minimizing other allergens so that pet allergens are more easily tolerated
Remove all chemicals and perfumes (in the residence and on people) – i.e. air fresheners, scented laundry detergent, makeup, etc..
For more information on allergies to pets see information from the Humane Society of the United States here

Of course some people can have a life threatening reaction to certain allergens.  Asthma attacks and the like are not to be taken lightly.  And human children should not be forced to be miserable and or sick in order to keep a new pet.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Counter Surfing. Part 3. Training Humans

So what if you are willing to keep the counter clean but you are having a hard time with family members leaving stuff on the counters?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

From The Mail Bag: My Dog Won't Come To Me Indoors

If a dog will come in one context (outdoors) but won't come in another context (indoors), then we need to start thinking about what is different:

1. Is there more noise indoors?
People talking loudly
Children playing

2. Are the floors slick and hard to run on?

3. Does something unpleasant happen when the dog comes when called indoors?
Sent to crate
Human leaves
Nail trims

Once you have addressed all known issues (i.e. rubber flooring, not sending to crate when called, etc..). Then just start all over with recall training. You might need to use a new word if the original cue has lost its meaning.

Recall the pup from 1 foot away, heavily reward when he/she comes.  Then proof in tiny increments.

Recall tips and tricks:

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Counter Surfing Part II - What Not To Do

Continuing our discussion on counter surfing.  We've already talked about what to do. Here is what we should not do

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ladder Of Aggression

Years ago, I worked for in a small organization. We all knew each other well. And all of my coworkers knew that I had several dietary restrictions – (no animal products, no processed foods, etc..)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Pet Medications - Acepromazine

Some nervous or noise phobic dogs are prescribed Acepromazine. Although this drug has it’s place in veterinary medicine, as with all drugs (psychotropic or not), if a pet is not in an emergency situation, pet parents should do their own research in addition to discussions with their vet.

Grooming and Medicinal Support

So you gone through the counter conditioning steps and your pup still squirms, fights, growls etc.. Maybe the issue is more than fear or discomfort. Maybe the pup feels pain while being brushed or while having her nails done or ears cleaned, etc.. When an animal is in pain, counter conditioning might not work.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Distraction Training Or Counter Conditioning- When You Don't Have A Helper

So you've been proofing your dog and he/she is ready for a higher level of distraction.  Maybe you need someone to walk by and toss a toy as you teach heel or stay.  But what if you can't find any one to help?