Weather Updates

Asthmatic in trouble when boss brings her dog to work

Updated: July 2, 2012 8:34AM

Q. I am worried sick about my husband. He has a virulent kind of asthma triggered by certain breeds of shedding dogs. But don’t get me wrong, we’re dog lovers and have a poodle, Oscar.

My husband’s boss has a golden retriever and has started bringing the dog to the office. A golden retriever is a shedding breed that can make my husband start to gasp so when his boss has her dog, my husband avoids meetings in her office. How does he handle this new stressor?

A. Your husband must tell his boss directly about his asthma condition and why he avoids her office when her pet is in residence. If she’s a conscientious professional, she will leave the dog at home unless she gives fair warning of flying fur on the horizon. He could even earn a couple of brownie points by telling her that he too is a keeper of a dog so she knows he is not opposed to the species but to the hairy consequences.

Q. We have a 12-year-old German shepherd female, Heidi. She has always been somewhat high-strung, but in the last few weeks she’s very anxious a lot of the time. She is either quite lethargic, or she has what we call “anxiety attacks” She also is not interested in eating, or going for a walk. Our vet took blood tests and they all come back negative, indicating no problem. He recommends we take her to a veterinarian behaviorist, which we will probably do, but I was wondering if you know about anxiety in older dogs?

A. Dog Lady’s heart belongs to an elderly dog with his own senior moments. He can be startled suddenly, or he works himself into a lather, or he becomes restless and confused. Old dogs with touches of dementia need our patience and understanding. As long as Heidi has been thoroughly checked out by your vet, you can probably assume her weak signs are indicators of the endgame. She has enjoyed a long life. Treat her tenderly.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.