treating my animal allergies through exposure

I have a confession to make.

It's not something I advertise or want my clients to know. In fact, I go to great length to hide this fact from new clients, especially:

I am a professional pet sitter and pet blogger who is allergic to animals.

Huh?

Yes, you heard me correctly. 

This fact that I have not revealed publicly came to mind recently because I had a consult with a lovely, yet exuberant, English Bulldog who I was pretty darn allergic to. She basically wanted to make out, and, of course, I wanted to, too! I did pet her lots, which I intend to do during each and every visit, but I had to do my best to hide my "disease" to her human parents. During our discussion of the ins-and-outs of this pooch's routine, I fought back the sneezes. As soon as I sneeze once, it's all over. Best to keep it under wraps, if possible. I let my eyes water a bit, instead. I feel like if my allergy is apparent during a consult (when it is likely at its worst), my new clients might feel I'm less than capable or feel insulted that I think their animal is "dirty," neither of which is the case. 

When I left the consult, the insides of my arms were welted up from the cuddles and my cheek was red from kisses. Sigh.

Does this stop me? No way! I am madly in love with this dog already. She'll get kisses and pets from me no matter what. It's part of the job. And, besides, I love it.

The good news? The more I pet and kiss her, the better things will be. My method of treating this allergy is to build up a natural tolerance. I do not take medication. I am lucky because my allergy to animals does not affect my breathing. Those who have trouble breathing around animals should not use this method. 

treating my animal allergies through exposure   This is my inside forearm a couple of hours after my consult.

treating my animal allergies through exposure

This is my inside forearm a couple of hours after my consult.

My allergy is primarily a contact allergy, accompanied by sneezing. That means that my skin welts up and itches in areas where I've had contact with the animal's fur or saliva. You can tell when I've been "making out" with an animal because I come home with a fat lip and itchy arms. The worst is when I accidentally rub my eyes after petting an animal. Itchy, puffy eyes result, and the symptoms take hours to subside.

Instead of popping pills or taking injections, I treat my allergy by increasing my contact with these animals and building up a tolerance. I know...sounds crazy. It's a bit uncomfortable at first, but, in the long run, it's effective! I am not at all allergic to my own pets or those I see on a regular basis. I have lots of contact with them, and my immune system has built up a tolerance.

I am most allergic to dogs, cats, small caged animals, horses, and goats. I am also highly allergic to hay, so any animal who eats hay is a double-whammy (horses, guinea pigs, etc.). Brand-new clients definitely have a break-in period for me. I just love on them as much as possible, and after a few visits, things get better. My body fights off the allergen. I also notice that certain dog breeds cause a more severe allergic reaction in me than others. Contrary to popular belief, it's not about fur length. It's about dander and saliva. Frequent grooming helps, but only a little.

The toughest breeds for me are labs and retrievers because their skin typically carries a lot of dander, even when groomed well. Bulldogs and pugs, and other flat-faced breeds are also tough because they typically rub and project saliva on to those around them. Do I love these breeds any less? ABSOLUTELY NOT! In fact, they are some of my favorites!

Thankfully, I am not allergic to fish, reptiles, or birds. 

So, yes, I'm a pet sitter and pet blogger who is allergic to pets, and I treat my symptoms naturally, if unconventionally. Please don't hold it against me. 




Ultra Oil for Pets

I used to think supplements unnecessary. I make sure my family eats healthy, nutritious food, so why should we need anything more? I learned that due to the depletion of minerals in our soil, the foods we thought were so nutrient-rich–and should be–sadly, are not. Even whole, organic, natural foods don't pack quite enough punch. So I put my family on the best supplements I could find with maximum absorption. The whole family takes multivitamin & minerals, calcium, and omega-3s, and us oldsters also take joint supplements so we don't get all crotchety when we try to run around.

But what about N.A.S.H.A., our dog? She just turned eight, yet still acts like a puppy. Would she need to supplement, too? I feed her the highest-quality food. But then, taking what I know into consideration...she'd probably need to get on board with the rest of the family.

I discovered Ultra Oil, a skin and coat supplement, a balanced source of omegas for pets. Ultra Oil is designed to compensate for the deficiencies found in our pets' foods. It is heart-healthy and helps with immunity and overall organ function as well as itchiness and skin dryness.

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Although N.A.S.H.A. is healthy overall, she has that wiry fur that easily tangles, and she has seasonal allergies that cause her to lick and chew her paws at various times of the year (like, now), depending on what's in the air and on the ground. Since pets absorb everything they step on through their paws, it's easy to understand why it's common for pets to pay so much negative attention to them.

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Tony Klabunde from Ultra Oil describes the supplement:

Ultra Oil gives you everything you need from a fish oil supplement with the omega-rich, low mercury sardine & anchovy, but we don't stop there. We add hempseed oil (nature's most balanced source of omegas) along with flaxseed and grapeseed oil. This allows for the complete profile of healthy fats, including omega 9s, in the right balance to be optimally absorbed. We believe this is why our supplement is so much more effective at healing allergic breakouts, itching, and hot spots that fish oil alone just can't touch. After people see the effectiveness of this balance on even the most serious skin irritations, they keep coming back, but the #1 thing that causes people to originally switch from fish oils is the fact that Ultra Oil doesn't have that stinky odor.

And, it's true! I really stuck my nose in there, and the stuff has no odor whatsoever. N.A.S.H.A. is a super picky eater, so I thought for sure she'd reject her altered regular food when I put the Ultra Oil on it, but I have seen no change in her eating habits whatsoever, so she either likes it or doesn't notice it. Based on her weight, all she needs is one pump per day. Administration instructions are on the bottle, so you'll know how much your pet needs.

After being on Ultra Oil for a month, now, I have noticed a reduction in the amount of time N.A.S.H.A. spends tending to her paws. There is an occasional lick, but, for the most part, the Ultra Oil has alleviated her allergic reactions. Though her fur isn't like that of a mink, and she'll always be prone to dreadlocks, it seems softer to me and tangles less.

I love the fact that Ultra Oil is non GMO and completely human grade. The farmers from which they source their seed oil use sustainable farming practices. So I can feel good about giving it to my pet.

Though we've seen some benefits in N.A.S.H.A., I'd love to see first hand how the stuff works on a dog with extreme allergies and hot spots. Stay tuned for future reviews!

Ultra Oil is available for individual use and wholesale applications.

Disclaimer: I was provided Ultra Oil in exchange for my honest opinion.