Allergies and the First-Family PetPublished November 17, 2008
Many years ago I was asked to represent Cats Magazine, facing off against a colleague from Dog World magazine, in the “Great Pet Debate” just prior to another presidential election.
We focused on which would make the better White House pet--a cat or a dog. Socks Clinton was the incumbent at the time, a brash kitty whippersnapper youngster running against the Dole’s senior citizen Schnauzer, Leader.
It was all tongue-in-furry-cheek fun. I’m please to say that when Bryant Gumble moderated our appearance on the Today Show and voted for the dog, Katie Couric voted for the cat side--and the cat side won! Meeee-yow!
Today we have a new family ready to move into the White House. I’m so very pleased to know that pets are part of the agenda, and that the Obama family takes the issue very seriously. After all, when you adopt a pet, it’s often a decade or longer commitment. Animal behavior organizations like the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (I’m a certified member) are lining up to offer advice, as are shelter and advocacy groups including the ASPCA, and the American Kennel Club and the Cat Fanciers Association.
Pet allergies can’t be taken lightly. I’m thrilled that despite the diagnosis, the girls’ parents want to offer them the joy of a furry companion, but in a safe way. There are not only dogs (and cats!) that are less allergenic, you also can take steps to reduce potential problems.
For instance, allergy shots help many people. Products like AllerpetC (for cats) and AllerpetD (for dogs) help reduce and neutralize the dander that sets off allergies. Having a non-allergic family member tend to the pets’ grooming needs reduces exposure. Cat owners sometimes react more to the dusty litter than to the cat, so finding less dusty products can help.
Here’s a Pet Talk segment on the topic that offers other suggestions. Do you suffer from pet allergies, but still keep a cat or dog? What steps have helped you? Please share with other readers--it might help a pet stay in his loving home! And who knows, maybe word will get to the Obamas that a kitty might be an option to consider, too.
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