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Hi new here.. looking for a shih tzu pup

lala24
November 22nd, 2008, 08:11 PM
Hi, I'm new here. I live in beautiful British Columbia!!

I am a huge lover of animals! I particularly like dogs though because they are so playful and you can teach them things, they are great companions and a wonderful friend. When I was younger I had a golden lab pup but soon found out I was allergic :( Needless to say, we had to give him away. His name was King. Around the same time we had 2 cockatiels which I was allergic to. Then we tried cats... nope, that didnt work out either...

Later on, we got a Lhasa Apso - she was the best pet I've ever had! So playful and silly. She was an absolute delight. AND the best part is that I wasn't allergic to her! Unfortunately after a few years she got sick and my parents couldnt afford her surgery... they said they gave her to a lady who could afford it... never saw her again. That was 10 years ago.

Before the Lhasa Apso got sick, we got a second dog. A Yorkshire Terrier... I named him Rex. We had to move though, and for whatever reason my parents said we could only keep one of the dogs... we kept the Lhasa Apso until she got sick 2 years later. Rex went to our neighbour who has kindly kept in touch with me and sent pictures every year or so. He's now 13 years old...

So, since my Lhasa Apso got sick and was "given away"... I moved in with my now husband 5 years ago with his cat... still hadn't grown out of that allergy so we moved to a basement suite so the cat could go outside hoping that would help. The cat passed away within a couple years from something outside... poisoned, mushrooms?? we dont know. It was sooo sad without animals around we decided to go for another kitten... all was good until it started shedding and I couldnt take it anymore with my allergies and we didn't want to let it out all the time because the last cat died from something unknown outside. So we gave the cat to our friends who kept him inside for so long that he became uncontrollably hyper so they started letting him out.. a couple months later his tail was run over by a car and the vet said it would cost $2000 to amputate.. and even then he would have problems relieving himself on a daily basis. They put him down. :( I ended up getting a hamster. She lived for 2 1/2 years. She was cute... but didn't provide the same type of companionship a cat or dog does.

So now I've decided to get a dog I know I am not allergic to. I'm going for a Shih Tzu. In May 2009 my husband and I are buying our first condo and once we are all settled I am going to get myself a dog. BUT... I want some advice.

Things happen. More often than not we live longer than our pets. What if they get really sick? What if they get hit by a car? What about vet bills? What about pet insurance? How do we deal with losing a pet? How do we ensure our animals are safe and healthy? How do we know we are chosing a good vet? How do we know we are purchasing our pet from a reputable breeder?

These are things I'd like some advice on. How many of you have pet insurance? Is it expensive in Canada? How does it work? Is it worth it? How much should I expect to spend monthly on a dog including food, vet bills, grooming, toys, initial expenses (dog, bed, leash, etc)...

Are obedience training classes neccesary? How do you properly house-train a dog?

Any advice or stories you'd like to share would be wonderful.

And if anyone out there has any more information about Shih Tzu's please feel free to pass it on. The more info I can get the better.

And I will be looking for a good reputable breeder to purchase a nice healthy pup from in Spring 2009 (May/June) so if anyone is out there that you can refer to me or if you happen to be one who is from Victoria BC, or Vancouver, BC please contact me.

BusterBoo
November 22nd, 2008, 08:23 PM
Hi and welcome to the forum....

I do own a tzu/bichon and I have to tell you that you HAVE TO...MUST be prepared to spend some money to buy the pup, to buy the supplies needed, to get the Vet check as soon as you have your dog, to put into obedience (yes, tzus are known to be stubborn!).

I have never really figured out what I spend per month on Buster, but ...as a for instance....he ate raisins a couple of months ago....Vet visit was over $400.....raisins are poisonous to dogs, so couldn't take a chance.

The first year is the hardest....find yourself a Vet you can depend on, who you believe in and who only wants the best for your pup! all the shots.....spay/neuter, figuring out which food will work...I have pet insurance....not sure how worth it it is financially but mentally it means I have a safety cushion if something happens to Buster.

Please do a lot of research before you get your puppy, he/she is a 10-15 yr commitment.

I am probably not a ton of help, but hope you find a very reputable breeder and find the perfect pup for you!

Diamondsmum
November 22nd, 2008, 08:27 PM
Hi there lala24.. Welcome to Pets.ca

So sad about your past pets I feel for them & you.

Taking on a pet is as you know a huge repsonsibilty.. No dog is hypo-allergic IMHO. Other members will jump in that have more experience, But There is also members who take allergy meds etc to live with the pets they have grown to love.

Upon just gotten a puppy (Well she is 5months old old now) but Id say our first month was close to $500.00+ but would of been alot more but we got her for $350.00 + food +shots, defleaing her, carpet stuff for her house training etc etc.

Lucky for me I work at home so I was able to bond with her & not leave her while at work.
My vet bills are cheap (free) as I have SIL who is my vet. But others here can tell you the expense's they do rack up & also fixing/neutering your Dog so that they dont have puppys.

As for a breeder often times the SPCA will have Shih Tzu That are in need of forever homes.

I am not sure but there may even be some in a rescue that woud also benifit from a loving home.

I hope this helps!

14+kitties
November 22nd, 2008, 09:32 PM
Things happen. More often than not we live longer than our pets. What if they get really sick?

You are right. Things happen. If you are not prepared to look after your pet through good times AND bad then you are not ready for a pet. If they get really sick you look after them. Proper medical care, operations, the whole bit.


What if they get hit by a car?

Keep them leashed and by you at all times. That should not happen unless you are being irresponsible and not watching your pet. If they get hit by a car they go to the vet asap.

What about vet bills?

:shrug: You pay them.

What about pet insurance?

Good for our piece of mind. Sometimes not worth it. You need to do a lot of research and asking questions to find the right one for you.

How do we deal with losing a pet?

The same way the rest of us do. You mourn them for the rest of our lives. They should become part of the family, to be treated like we would a precious child.

How do we ensure our animals are safe and healthy?

By keeping them close to you, in a good, fenced in yard, not allowed to run free. Cats on a leash at all times outside. Dogs on a leash when not in an enclosed yard.

How do we know we are chosing a good vet?

Ask around. Ask your friends, but not the ones that let their dogs/cats run around outside unattended.

How do we know we are purchasing our pet from a reputable breeder?

Go adopt from a shelter. There are plenty of pure bred dogs there awaiting adoption. Or from a rescue. You never know without tons of research if you are buying from a reputable breeder or a BYB.


These are things I'd like some advice on.How much should I expect to spend monthly on a dog including food, vet bills, grooming, toys, initial expenses (dog, bed, leash, etc)...

A lot depends on the type of dog you are intending to get and where you get said dog from. Some breeders will charge upwards of $3000 or more for a purebred dog. Initial vet bills for s/n, needles, worming, revolution for fleas (a monthly expense), etc can be very costly. Look at around 500 to 1000 for that. Good dog food is expensive. Again, depends on the type/size of dog.

Are obedience training classes neccesary?

Yes. For the dog and you!
How do you properly house-train a dog?

Patience,patience, patience, no yelling, no hitting, crate training, patience, did I say patience?


Any advice or stories you'd like to share would be wonderful.

And if anyone out there has any more information about Shih Tzu's please feel free to pass it on. The more info I can get the better.

Sorry, but this is just some of the information you need to take into account when you are thinking about getting a dog/cat/pet. A pet is not a disposable item. They need constant care and attention from you from the day you get them till they day you have to make the horrible decision to have them pts because (hopefully) they are just too old and tired to go on. Please do your homework before bringing a pet into your home.

lala24
November 22nd, 2008, 09:34 PM
Thanks for your advice.

I do know that owning a dog is HUGE responsibility and costly. But Im not so worried about the initial cost of getting the dog because Ive been and am saving for that... its more of what to expect after all that with monthly food costs, flea preventatives, grooming, maintaining health over the years etc.

There are some dogs that I do not show any allergic symptoms to because they have less dander than others and different types of fur. But that a whole other topic :)

I plan on doing a ton of research before buying my pup :) I've been reading lots about dogs for a couple years and looking into different breeds etc. That's why I'm here just to get some advice on finding a good breeder, good vet, and pet ways to train pups, good brands of food, flea preventatives, pet insurance info etc.

Ive always kind of worried about getting a dog from the SPCA.. Im not opposed to it, its just that sometimes I worry it will have behaviour problems or something else wrong with it... we got a cat from spca once and it was fine except he was overly affectionate and hyper... I dont know if that was just the way he was or if he was abandoned, abused or what... but he wasnt your typical cat. If any one wants to share their SPCA adoption stories with me, I would appreciate it. I know thats always an option.

As I said before, I can't even buy a dog until next Spring.. still at least 6 months away so I have plenty of time to prepare :)

Keep the info comin' :goodvibes:

lala24
November 22nd, 2008, 10:07 PM
Perhaps I wasn't clear in my questions - some of the questions were just thoughts that go through my head sometimes.. The "what if's:... Im a worrier! :shrug:... Some of your answers were pretty obvious.. I was hoping for some more specific answers....

I know that when you get a vet bill you pay it. And yes I am prepared to take care of my pet through good times and bad... I was meaning more along the lines of what to expect to pay for regular vet check ups. I know you guys cant give me exact amounts (animals go to vets for a number of reasons - also depends on breed and size of dog etc) Im just looking for some rough numbers to give me an idea of what to expect to pay monthly to ensure good health of my dog.

I know that you mourn a pet as the rest of you would... I was looking for some ideas on how to cope with a loss.

I am prepared to pay my vet bills and look after my dog through good and bad times...

When I asked about how to chose a good vet, I was hoping for some advice on specific things to look for or to watch out for??... I dont have many friends who own a dog, so I can't ask them. I'm asking here instead.

I know alot of these questions have answers that really depend on the type and size of the dog.. when it comes to vet bills, food etc... I was hoping someone might share how much they feed their Shih Tzu, how much it costs them, good brands of food to buy etc I already stated that Im wanting to get a Shih Tzu, so perhaps if anyone is a Shih Tzu owner, you could share some tips.

I just want everyone here to really know that I am a very responsible person, and I've always cherished my pets, cared for them and loved them as a family member. I know I have lots of research to do before I buy one.. that's why I'm here. I know what information I need to take into account and I am doing my homework. I wouldnt be here asking for advice 6 months to a year in advance if I wasnt doing my homework. I feel I am plenty ready as a person to be able to take care of a dog.

mollywog
November 22nd, 2008, 10:32 PM
Please, look on www.petfinder.com for some tzu's in your area. There are so many nice loving animals looking for homes out there.

Diamondsmum
November 22nd, 2008, 10:56 PM
I do admire you for looking toward the future.. & commend you on researching it also.

I am sure some of our shih tzu members can chime in.

hazelrunpack
November 22nd, 2008, 11:10 PM
Given that you know you have allergies, you might want to find a family or a friend who already has a shih tzu and spend some time with them to make sure that your allergies haven't changed to include shih tzus now. It would be pretty traumatic all around if you ended up having to rehome the dog because of allergies again. :sad:

Also, as far as vet bills--call some of the vets in your area and ask them about average annual cost of shots/routine care. Better yet, stop in at some of the clinics in your area and get a feel for how they deal with their clients. How you're treated at the desk can tell you a lot about a clinic.

But be prepared to spend more than just routine costs--we've had lots of dogs and every one of them has needed emergency care at one time or another for one thing or another. You have to be prepared to handle the extraordinary events, too, or it's not fair to the dog...

Dracko
November 22nd, 2008, 11:20 PM
And yes I am prepared to take care of my pet through good times and bad.

I just want everyone here to really know that I am a very responsible person, and I've always cherished my pets, cared for them and loved them as a family member.


I'm glad to see you appear to now realize that a pet is a lifetime commitment and not to be given away "during the bad times" as the majority in your past seem to have been. It sounds to me like the majority of pets that have been in your life in the past didn't fair too well.

Rainy
November 22nd, 2008, 11:21 PM
Check out the dog parks and get to know your neighbours and ask them what vets they prefer,etc,etc.Then go visit the vets office and pick up a card.They always have them on display.Even routine shots are differently priced for different areas and such so you need to get to know your area.

Dracko
November 22nd, 2008, 11:25 PM
Thanks for your advice.

Ive always kind of worried about getting a dog from the SPCA.. Im not opposed to it, its just that sometimes I worry it will have behaviour problems or something else wrong with it... we got a cat from spca once and it was fine except he was overly affectionate and hyper... I dont know if that was just the way he was or if he was abandoned, abused or what... but he wasnt your typical cat. If any one wants to share their SPCA adoption stories with me, I would appreciate it. I know thats always an option.




You are kidding about the cat being "overly affectionate and hyper" right???? Curious to know what happened to him when he wasn't perfect?

You do realize that you have more of a chance of getting an animal with something wrong with it from a pet store or byb (backyard breeder) than the SPCA.

Frenchy
November 22nd, 2008, 11:27 PM
It sounds to me like the majority of pets that have been in your life in the past didn't fair too well.

Was thinking the same ...

lala24
November 22nd, 2008, 11:41 PM
The majority of my pets were when I was a kid. The 3 dogs I had were when I was between the ages of 5 and 12... The 2 birds I had was when I was 6. The 2 cats I had (one was my husbands which he had for about 5 years) and the other one was the one we decided my asthma/allergies couldnt handle so we gave him to some friends. Maybe my wording of overly affectionate about that cat wasn't right... even the SPCA where we got him from said that he was alot more needy than the rest. He was extremely needy - but please dont get my wrong we treated him with every ounce of love and respect we had but my health was in jeopardy with him so I had to give him up. I loved that cat alot. My frriends who took him ended up finding up extremly hyper compared to their other cat and decided to let him outside more to burn off the activity level ... maybe that wasnt the best idea and something bad happened, but that wasnt my fault. My heart aches when I think about him. He was beautiful and so loving....


Im not just NOW realizing that a pet is a life time committment. Ive always realized that a pet is a life time committment.. as I said all the other animals in my life were when I was a kid. It wasnt my choice to give them up. I am doing all I can do get all the information I need to give my future dog the best life possible.

And I have spent some time with Shih Tzu's... although I dont have alot of friends with dogs, I have helped out with them, I know of some people who have 2 that I see somewhat regularly and have stayed at someones house before who has 3 shih tzus and have never had a problem with them - I know my allergies are not affected by them.


Thanks for the advice so far :thumbs up

lala24
November 23rd, 2008, 02:17 AM
So just to be clear.. I personally have never given away a pet when they were sick or chose to put them down. The one dog that my parents said they gave to a lady who could afford the surgery had nothing to do with me. I was 8 years old and they took her away while I was at school. The one cat that was put down, was put down mainly because the vet told my friends that he would have difficulty and pain in relieving himself even if they got the surgery done. So, instead of making the cat suffer for the rest of his life they made a decision to put him down. And on top of that it was going to be over $2000 for it to still be in discomfort and pain.

I don't want anyone thinking that I just randomly give away or put down animals when times get tough, when they get sick or if there is an accident. I would do everything I could to ensure the safety and health of my pets. Hence why I'm here looking for support and information before I take on such a committment. I dont want to be in the position my parents were in when our Lhasa Apso got sick, or when we had to move, or not testing the animal with my allergies before they bought it. I want to be prepared in every way. That was the whole purpose of joining this forum. All those realizations were in my mind before I came onto this site. All I was looking for here was some rough estimates on what I should expect in owning a dog. I know I need to keep in mind that incase my animal does get sick that will cost more, and there are other expenses etc. I was just curious what other shih tzu owners tend to spend monthly or even yearly.

In my very first paragraph of questions where I said "waht about vet bills, what if they get sick etc." as I mentioned before, those are the thoughts Ive had over the last few years whenever I think about getting a pet. I think about the "what if's" in life. What if my husband got cancer? Or in an accident? What would I do? well, the obvious answer is to help him, get medical attention, care for him love him.. but mentally, emotionally what if?!... and I think about the same things about pets... Im sorry I wasnt so clear about that - I was never intending that I would just put it down or give it away if it got sick.

I'm going to look into the SPCA in my area when the time comes. I know that pet stores aren't the place to go. Isn't it true that most if not all pet stores get the dogs from puppy mills :( .. is that the same for cats too?


Thank you for the ideas of looking into the SPCA, and checking out dog parks to interact with other dog owners.. :)

14+kitties
November 23rd, 2008, 08:29 AM
I moved in with my now husband 5 years ago with his cat... still hadn't grown out of that allergy so we moved to a basement suite so the cat could go outside hoping that would help. The cat passed away within a couple years from something outside... poisoned, mushrooms?? we dont know. It was sooo sad without animals around we decided to go for another kitten... all was good until it started shedding and I couldnt take it anymore with my allergies and we didn't want to let it out all the time because the last cat died from something unknown outside. So we gave the cat to our friends who kept him inside for so long that he became uncontrollably hyper so they started letting him out.. a couple months later his tail was run over by a car and the vet said it would cost $2000 to amputate.. and even then he would have problems relieving himself on a daily basis. They put him down. :( I ended up getting a hamster. She lived for 2 1/2 years. She was cute... but didn't provide the same type of companionship a cat or dog does.

and I've always cherished my pets, cared for them and loved them as a family member.

The 2 cats I had (one was my husbands which he had for about 5 years) and the other one was the one we decided my asthma/allergies couldnt handle so we gave him to some friends. Maybe my wording of overly affectionate about that cat wasn't right... even the SPCA where we got him from said that he was alot more needy than the rest. He was extremely needy - but please dont get my wrong we treated him with every ounce of love and respect we had but my health was in jeopardy with him so I had to give him up. I loved that cat alot. My frriends who took him ended up finding up extremly hyper compared to their other cat and decided to let him outside more to burn off the activity level ... maybe that wasnt the best idea and something bad happened, but that wasnt my fault. My heart aches when I think about him. He was beautiful and so loving..

I really do appreciate the fact that you are doing all this research before getting a new pet. I realize a lot of what you have told us happened when you were a child. However, the cats did not. Putting a cat outside so the allergies could be more managable or giving a cat away because of those allergies who was then put outside because it became "uncontrollably hyper" is not responsible pet ownership.
Plenty of people on this site deal with severe allergies every day and own pets. One has 5 cats, never ever let outside. One has 3 dogs. There are many many more who would never consider putting an indoor kitty outside because the allergies acted up. My own daughter is allergic to cats and has severe asthma. She has two cats. She deals with the allergies as well. If the meds have to be upped so she can hold her kitties she feels it is worth it for the love she is given in return.
You said you cherished your pets as a family member. You don't put family members outside to deal with inclement weather, cars, other animals, diseases, mushrooms. :shrug: That is what is confusing to me. Especially a cat who was indoors for five years. They have no idea how to deal with outdoor life. The poor kitty you gave to your friend who ended up being put outside and later being put down would not have been "uncontrollably hyper" if it had been played with, given a companion so it could have worn off some of it's hyperness, given toys or something to relieve its boredom. Yes, it may have been different from their other cat. All pets are. They all have unique personalities. I have a very needy kitten too. I love when she comes running looking for me for her reassurance.

What happens if you have the pup/dog for six months before your allergies start to act up? What do you do then? You can't put a dog outside to fend for itself. Especially not a small breed like a shih tzu. They would never survive. What I am concerned about is that puppy would end up going to a shelter to live in a cage or would be given to a friend who would not be as responsible as you would be and it would be let out. Just because the pup is small and cute does not guarantee it's survival in a shelter.

I beg you, for the sake of your future dog, to look into spending lots of time with a shih tzu for a few months. Not just being around one for a few hours or sleeping over for a night. Maybe even fostering one. That would give you 24 hour access to the pup and you would know if the allergies would indeed start to affect you. This way a pup would have a chance at a furever home. There are enough small breed dogs, in fact all dogs (and cats) being euthanized daily because people gave them up because their allergies could not handle the pet. :sad:

Love4himies
November 23rd, 2008, 09:25 AM
Fostering is a great idea, 14+ :thumbs up

lala24
November 23rd, 2008, 01:31 PM
Thanks for you concern and suggestions.



My husbands cat was always an outdoor cat while he lived with roommates (the first 5 years he was an outdoor kitty) then we moved in together to a 2nd storey apartment where he couldn't go outside and my asthma got worse, so we ended up moving to a basement suite so he could go outside again.
I did what I could to manage the situation with my asthma and allergies for 2 years! and nothing was working so I had to find another home for the second one. It wasnt easy.I tried medications and things to help with my asthma and allergies to cats, and by the advice of my doctor we decided I cannot live with cats. Everything I tried and what my doctor suggested didn't work. And I ended up in the hospital twice because of my asthma.

I hope you're not thinking that we just opened the door to the cat and said "here's the world kitty.. explore and dont come back... the world is now yours and you dont live in the house anymore".... (we let my husbands cat outside during the day in our back yard (like before when he lived with his roommates) the rest of the time he was inside with us... and when he died, the vet didnt confirm why... all we know is he got sluggish one day and wouldnt eat. He eventually died, and we never knew why...)

Anyways, Im done explaining things here. I gave you a brief overview of the pets I have had in my lifetime without the ENTIRE story to understand.. my mistake.:shrug:


I'm taking your guys' advice here.. I just dont want people to think that I just abandon animals and that Im some uncaring person here. The 2 cats were bad situations. So I should have tested the cat with my allergies, maybe it should have been strictly an indoor cat.. so some mistakes were made and hard decisions were made - but I dont believe that it was my fault that the first cat died - we dont know why he died, and that my friends let the other cat go outside. I learned from MY mistakes. And from other peoples mistakes - Im not going to pick up some random dog that I dont know if Im allergic to and then stick it outside to fend for itself. Ive done my research.

I do appreciate your concern though.. and understand why you would be concerened. But I REALLY want you to know that I know what I'm doing. I am being responsible about this decision.


I do like the idea of fostering a pet though. That's a fantastic idea! Is that something the SPCA would do?

Rainy
November 23rd, 2008, 02:44 PM
I do like the idea of fostering a pet though. That's a fantastic idea! Is that something the SPCA would do?
Yes they do.Good luck when the time is right.

14+kitties
November 23rd, 2008, 02:54 PM
I do like the idea of fostering a pet though. That's a fantastic idea! Is that something the SPCA would do?

You can also be a foster mom through rescues. I am sure the SPCA in your area could put you in touch with a Shih Tzu rescue seeing as that is the type of dog you are specifically looking for. It is possible someone on this forum may be able to help as well. I am not in BC but there are some members here that are. Maybe they can point you in the right direction.
I think fostering may give you a lot of insight into whether or not your allergies can handle a pet. Please make sure if you find one willing to let you foster that you tell them you are doing it so you can see if your allergies act up. In a lot of cases foster moms become foster failures because they fall in love with their fosters.

As an afterthought - you are aware I guess that shedding is not the issue with allergies? The dander is. Even pets who don't shed have dander. Bathing them or even wiping them down with pet wipes can help that issue a lot. I mention this because earlier in your thread you had said you had no problems with your allergies until the cat started shedding.

lala24
November 23rd, 2008, 03:44 PM
Oh, yes I do know that its the dander and not really the shedding it was just around the time the cat started shedding that my allergies really kicked into high gear..


Do you think that pets that dont shed or shed less have more or less dander than those who shed? Im curious because I have noticed that when I am around dogs that dont shed or shed less, I have less symptoms that when Im around one that sheds alot. I wonder if the more they shed, the more the dander gets spread around the house??

Can I ask what medications any of you allergy suffferers use? Or any other tips on controlling your allergies?

have any of you done the fostering thing?

14+kitties
November 23rd, 2008, 04:10 PM
Oh, yes I do know that its the dander and not really the shedding it was just around the time the cat started shedding that my allergies really kicked into high gear..


Do you think that pets that dont shed or shed less have more or less dander than those who shed? Im curious because I have noticed that when I am around dogs that dont shed or shed less, I have less symptoms that when Im around one that sheds alot. I wonder if the more they shed, the more the dander gets spread around the house??

Can I ask what medications any of you allergy suffferers use? Or any other tips on controlling your allergies?

Let me see if I can direct some of the allergy sufferers this way.
There is no such thing as a dog who does not shed. Some shed a lot less, that's all. Oh sorry, there is. The hairless dog doesn't shed. There is a new brush out now that cuts down on that a lot. It's called the Furminator. Works very very well.


have any of you done the fostering thing?

Many many of us do the "fostering thing". Look around, read some threads. You will find out how many do.

ancientgirl
November 23rd, 2008, 04:37 PM
I've read this entire thread so far and I really think you should consider fostering first. Perhaps find a Shih Tzu rescue to make sure that is the breed that doesn't set off your allergies. But I have to say there are no guarantees.

I had 2 cats in high school and a dog, was never ever even remotely allergic.

When I was in my early 20's I moved in with my boyfriend and we went to a friends house one night who had 3 cats. They almost had to take me to the hospital because my face swelled up so much my eyes almost closed, and I could barely breathe.

I spent the next 20 years with no animals in my life and having run like the devil from a cross from any household with a dog or a cat.

A few years ago a friend gave me a cat that was hanging around his neighborhood. I kept her for about a month and could barely stand to be in my apartment. I gave her away, not realizing I could have taken medication.

In April of 2007, I rescued a black kitty named Vlad. I'd been taking Zyrtec and Nasonex for about 3 months before I took him in, and about 3 weeks after he was in my apartment I also started to take Singular. In May of 2007 I rescued Oksana from my vets office to be a playmate for Vlad.

So now, here I am a person with allergies so severe I could not be in the same room where any animal had even been, was living with 2 cats. It wasn't easy, I still had a reaction to them, but the medication helped AND most important I was becoming accustomed to their dander. In November of 2007 I moved to a new apartment and came across 2 kittens, Maks and Kiska, in a vets office. Not thinking twice about taking them in, I now had 4 cats.

It took me another 2 months to again get used to two new cats. By about February or March of 2008 I took in for the second time my 5th cat, Czarina. She was a stray hanging around my complex. Again I had to get used to a new cats dander. By this time however I was down to just the Nasonex nose spray because my allergies weren't so bad anymore.

However, it was during this time my doctor told me I was now suffering from asthma. I take Advair twice a day, use a nose spray 2 to 4 times a week, sometimes less and live quite happily with my gang.

There are some days when I'm sneezing like it's going out of style, but it eventually goes away. Basically I have very little issues with allergies anymore.

I know if I were to bring another new cat into my home I'd be going through the cycle all over again. But I have little room for one more so I'm okay for now.

It's taken me a good year to get to the point where I am. My cats are all indoor cats. They never go out, only with me to the vet. They are in every part of my apartment and regularly sleep with me. I've never had a problem.

It's not impossible, you just have to be willing to take the time to get used to them.

JennieV
November 23rd, 2008, 05:17 PM
After reading this thread, I also would like to point out certain facts:
your life will change with introducing the dog. You will no longer be free to do as you please, go and come at any hour of the day or night, because you will have to think of this creature, sitting at home, waiting for you to go out or feed it. You will not be able to take off on a vacation, without arranging something for the dog. The petsitting is costly, unless you have someone to do it in your family.

You will no longer have the choice of not going out: -40, blizzard, rain, snow - whatever, you will have to go out there and walk that dog. Or deal with it if he does it inside, which means pee and poop on your carpets, smell, that will linger...

What happens if you decide to start a family?? will you have the time and the energy to deal with the dog? What will you do if the baby is allergic?
Most importantly, what will you do if the dog requires expensive medical treatment? I mean, it happens every day!

I agree with the other posters who suggested that you try fostering first. That should give you some time to see the situation for yourself!

As to monthly bills, you can easily expect about 30-40$ just on food, that is a whole other research you have to do. When we chose to get another dog, I decided to start him off with high-quality food right away. A medium bag of food costs me about 30$, and its enough for about 3 weeks. :shrug: There are alot of things to consider and alot of complications involved with owning a pet, but the rewards are priceless. You just have to be honest with yourself and fair to the animal that you are thinking of taking in.
Good luck!

JennieV
November 23rd, 2008, 05:54 PM
I also forgot to add that I am allergic to my cat, I always have been allergic to cats, but it never prevented me from having them. I clean really well, avoid carpets on the floors, take a pill and deal with it. However, that does not mean that if my allergies developed into asthma, that I would continue being ok with it. Hell, I would probably would have to rehome my kitty and that would kill me.

But what I would not do is go and get another kitty or doggy, knowing how my body responds to them.

Thats why I urge you to really give it a serious and hard thought and consider all the option. Puppies grow, they don't remain so cute forever. Part of that growing is toilet-training, and obedience classes, and improper things ingested while playing, that may require immediate veterinary attention, even on weekends or middle of the night, which means emergency hospital, which charges about $100 just for the visit, all other procedures are extra...It is alot and I mean A LOT of responsibility. Are you really ready for that? Or is your pet going to be a part of the statistics?

Frenchy
November 23rd, 2008, 06:24 PM
Don't want to rain on your parade but you'll be lucky to find a rescue that will let you foster.

When you apply to foster for a rescue , it's to help the rescue and the dogs. Not to find out if you still have allergies. Rescues has to put time to choose their foster families carefully and than train them, they don't want to take all this time and effort for someone who just want to find out about allergies , or for someone who will foster 1 dog , adopt this dog and never foster again.

If we would allow people to do this , we would spend our time to train foster families only to get dumped by them after fostering one dog. :shrug: rescues don't have time for this.

Not saying all rescues would say no to you , but I don't know any that would say yes. :shrug:

ancientgirl
November 23rd, 2008, 06:34 PM
Frenchy, that's a good point.

14+kitties
November 23rd, 2008, 07:06 PM
You are right Frenchy. Really good point. I didn't think about that. :o

Frenchy
November 23rd, 2008, 07:13 PM
I think the op's best bet would be to go get tested for allergies at a clinic. :shrug:

Rainy
November 23rd, 2008, 07:17 PM
Don't want to rain on your parade but you'll be lucky to find a rescue that will let you foster.

When you apply to foster for a rescue , it's to help the rescue and the dogs. Not to find out if you still have allergies. Rescues has to put time to choose their foster families carefully and than train them, they don't want to take all this time and effort for someone who just want to find out about allergies , or for someone who will foster 1 dog , adopt this dog and never foster again.

If we would allow people to do this , we would spend our time to train foster families only to get dumped by them after fostering one dog. :shrug: rescues don't have time for this.

Not saying all rescues would say no to you , but I don't know any that would say yes. :shrug:
While everything you say is very true there is also the need of certain different kinds of fosters.Sometimes you need a foster for a week and alot of families can do that but fewer can foster long term.Having all kinds of fosters helps a rescue, period.
In this case however I believe she would do well contacting the spca about fostering when she is able to because I am pretty sure with the background history of rehoming what the answer is going to be through a rescue versus a shelter......

Mat&Murph
November 23rd, 2008, 08:23 PM
As a allergie suffer...go get some tests done befor you go and buy a dog. I had too. My allergies bug me at least 4 times a week, but my allergies to my boys tested a 2.5 out of a scale to 5. So I makes sure I sweep and vacum all the time. I wash my hands all the time and my allergie pills. Too me haveing the boys is worth it!!!!!!! I would never give them up. Major pieces to my family!!!!! But do your research!!!

Good Luck!!

Karin
November 23rd, 2008, 08:29 PM
From my experience shelters and rescues also check references from vets and past experience with animals, regular vet checks and such.
All previous experience does not look good here. You had a cat die after being "sluggish"?

I'm sorry folks, I have to vote for Toys R Us again.

lala24
November 24th, 2008, 02:20 AM
Most of those things you guys have mentioned Ive thought about and considered and think about quite often. I get what you mean. And I did before you said it. Im not just rushing into this whole thing. It's something I'm looking into in the future and for the hundredth time I am doing my research. I dont need to be told this over and over again. I am serisously considering the fostering thing.. I think that would be helpful... and no, not just to find out about allergies.. I already know that certain dogs Im all good with - I have gone to doctors and clinics for testing. Cats are my main problem with allergies. I think fostering an animal for the animals sake is wonderful. I wouldnt ONLY do it to find out about what Im allergic to or not.

I had one cat in my life that died which was my husbands cat - he took him on regular vet check ups etc so I dont know why the vet didnt know what was wrong with him.. maybe the vet wasnt a reliable one? I dont know.. I didnt pick the vet. My husband had him going to regular vet check ups long before I even met my husband... 5 years he had him before he met me, and then we had him for another 3+ years before he died :( we did what we could to help the poor thing and he passed away quite quickly. We were never told why. We didnt just shove him out the door , neglect him, let him get sick do nothing about it and let him die.... We're not cruel people.

And then I had the one cat that I did what I could with doctors to work out my asthma/allergies and it didnt work so we ended up re-homing him... and the rest of the animals were my parents choice to give them up when I was a kid as I said before. None of that is good, and I wish none of that happened. I dont want to make the decisions my parents made. All I can do now is what Im doing. Learning, talking to people, researching, talking to doctors, searching out my options etc.

There's a few things that you guys have mentioned and reallly really helped out with that I wasnt aware of before so I really do thank you for that. For example, the fact that there just might be some wonderful medications out there in case I ever need to go down that road. 3 years ago when we had that cat, I thought my doctor and I had explored all my options... I was advised to not live with cats in particular so that was the decision we made - to no longer live with cats. I dont want to have to re-home animals because of something like that. Its not fair. It's not right I agree. And thats why I learned from that one experience.

My PERSONAL involvement with all the pets that have been in my life was nothing but caring for them, feeding them, spending time with them, loving them, playing with them, grooming them, teaching the dogs tricks etc. I was the one walking them, spending quality time with them and showing them nothing but love. It's not my fault most of them were taken away. And I've already explained about the 2 cats. The one who died, we learned from that experieince and thats why when we got the second on we didnt let that one outside at all. But my asthma couldnt take it - my life could have been in danger. What else could I have done when even my doctor is telling me I shouldnt live with cats? That nothing we've tried is working so re-homing the cat is the best option for me. And that's why I will never have another cat again. I know I can't do it. I know there arent hypoallergenic dogs out ther but there are ones that produce less dander and I have lived with dogs over the years and have not had problems with them. I have had 3 dogs in my life, lived with my grandmother who had a dog, roommates who had dogs, have house sat for people with dogs, done dog walking programs etc. Dont get me wrong though, I'm not dismissing any of your comments, suggestions or adivce. Im still going to continue my research about the type of dog I want, what it costs to maintain a healthy life for him or her, continue exploring my options with fostering etc, and make sure I know my options in case my allergies have changed at all and what I can do about them.

I just kind of feel like I'm being talked to as if Im some 16 year old kid who doesnt know what its all about. Trust me I understand. And I dont mean to be rude at all - I understand that all of you are extreme animal lovers and expect nothing but the best for all animals and pets. I FEEL THE SAME WAY :) Really, I do. I'm on the same page as you, mentally. I just dont want to be continued to be told to research and what not.. I want real advice on Shih Tzu's in particular, On an allergy/asthma advice that asthma/allergy sufferers can share, Advice on finding good groomers, vets, breeders, shelters etc. Ive bought books, spend time reading online, go to the library and book stores to find information before I jump into this 10-15 year committment. This is something that I have been looking into and thinking about for a couple of years. It's not just some spur of the moment thought of "ohh I want a tiny puppy because their cute" things... This is a realistic, I want to take care of an animal committment things. I want a companion, a friend, a member of the family that I can love and take care of. But before hand I need to learn more. I need to be prepared mentally, emotionally, physically, financially... That's why I've spent a year and a half to 2 years looking into options - and I still have another 6 months to a year or more to continue.

But again, thank you for all your concerns and suggestions - just PLEASE dont think that I am just some irresponisble uncaring person here. I do know and always have known that animals (of all types) are to be treated with love and respect as we would treat our families. I do know that there are other expenses included other than reg. vet checks and food. I was just curious what someone who owns a Shih Tzu typically spends monthly - so I could get an estimate on what I need monthly. I know there are other things emergencies, surgery perhaps, shots, spay or neuter, pet sitters, etc etc etc... Im not dismissing those things either - that's why I have a savings account started, and am looking into pet insurance.

TKW
November 27th, 2008, 05:53 PM
I'm a little late for the party but I can see you have plenty of good advices here.

I just did a cost estimate for my BIL who wants to get a dog just like ours. Based on the last three years expenses since he was a 9 weeks old puppy, I'd say the annual cost is around $1,500-$2,000. The major items are food, vet bills and insurance. Good quality Kibbles I fed him cost $600 a year. He eats 2 1/2 cups a day. A Shih Tzu may eat a little less but small bags kibbles cost unproportionally higher. Insurance is $400 a year but it doesn't cover shots, dental, neutering etc. If you want them cover, the premium will be over $100 a month. So the vet bill part is between $500-1,000 with insurance. This is just regular vet visits for minor stuffs. We had one emengency vet visit when he's around 1 y.o. for suspecting some unknown substance he ate, the bill was $500. And following up with liver biopsy and ultrasound, the insurance claim for that yr was $1,600. The insurer paid $1,100 and change our co-insurance to 50% right after. I am contempating getting more coverage for him after hearing more horror stories of vet bills that cost thousands of dollars.

BTW, I live in the Metro Vancouver area so the cost shall be close. If you are near where I am, I can give you the name of my vet who I recommend.

Tundra_Queen
November 29th, 2008, 01:30 PM
Hi

I think fostering would be your best bet. You would find out what kind of emergencies come up with owning a pet and how expensive they can be, also about the allergies.