Should people with COPD have pets?

4 answers | Last updated: Oct 20, 2016
5tarman asked...

Should people with COPD have pets?

Community Answers

Jazzmin answered...

The logical answer is, probably not.

However, being a COPD patient myself, I had several young, healthy pets before I got diagnosed with COPD and they are like my family to me. Taking them from me now that I am having to deal with the stress of the disease, would only stress me more and make my symptoms worse, in my opinion. Sometimes, I have to ask a friend or relative to come in and help me with them, or take a run to the store for food, if I can't go. But, other than that I care for them myself. They give me company, comfort and the will to tolerate the bad days I have with the COPD. They don't judge me or tell me what I should or shouldn't be doing. They are there for me. They support me.

So in truth, pets? Just depends on the personal situation and how advanced the COPD is. If the person is bedridden or can't function on their own, then no. Pets would not be a good idea to be kept on a permanent basis, unless you have a live-in caretaker who is willing to look after a pet as well. On the other hand, if the person who has the COPD feels confident enough that they can maintain a pet, then by all means, they should have one, because the comfort and company of a pet is priceless, especially those who have exceptional health challenges that are often misunderstood by those who do not live with the illness or disease.


J berrier answered...

A patient with COPD symptoms should most likely not have pets. Cats and dogs especially can be extreme COPD triggers since they shed their coats and the dander from these animals is spread all over the place. The pets can make breathing much more difficult and induce coughing fits. My father actually has COPD, which is a combination of emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and when he is around our cats, he finds it especially difficult to breathe. Although, if you were own a dog which doesn't have fur, such as a poodle that is hypoallergenic, there shouldn't be a problem. Also, reptiles or other animals without dander and fur should be alright also.

A fellow caregiver answered...

J_Berrier: He is very lucky to have you looking after his best interests. I feel bad for your father. Sounds like his immune system is probably fairly weakened by the diseases and / or he has allergies that do not allow him to have pets around. By your description, I can understand why someone would not advise to have pets with COPD.

Personally, since I have no family to look after me and I live independently, I will remain with my pets, regardless of my condition. It is my choice. My pets are what keep me going and give me the will to get up everyday. I don't care if I do have emphysema, bronchitis and asthma. Until I can no longer take care of myself, I will keep my dog, cats and parrots. COPD takes enough of life away from a person. It does not also have to take away something precious and beloved as well, when you have nothing else to live for.

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Warbird answered...

J_Berrier, There is no such thing as any fur bearing animal being hypoallergenic at all.The problem with the allergen that affects people with COPD is dander.Dander and what it actually is more often than not is not understood by people.Anytime a dog or cat licks or grooms itself or chews on itself it leaves saliva behind which dries.That dried saliva breaks up into microparticles that go airborn mixing with dust from other sources as well as dust mites which also feed on that dander as well as shed skin cells.This when breathed in is the triggering agent.Thereby is an explanation of why regardless of breed or hair type that they can be a COPD exacerbating agent.