• I have had some friends suggest I get rid of my beloved dog. I can't face the idea of being without her.

    Asked by MelMom on Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    I have had some friends suggest I get rid of my beloved dog. I can't face the idea of being without her.

    Is there a danger of having a pet in the house while going through treatment? I see people all the time talking about how their dog helps them get through this and helps them heal, what do you think?

    36 Answers from the Community

    36 answers
    • ld_105's Avatar
      ld_105

      Ask your oncologist, but keep the dog. If you need to be isolated them make the appropriate plans. Some people just don't like pets.

      over 5 years ago
    • KLC's Avatar
      KLC

      Ouch ! . . .why would they suggest that? Do they think it will be too much for you to take care of her ? Small children are a source of constant bacteria, but, I can't imagine someone suggesting getting rid of a child because they can compromise your immune system while undergoing chemo. I'm not certain if there is anything specific to Leukemia and having a dog that could possibly affect you in a negative manner. Personally, I have two dogs and they were such a source of comfort to me during chemo. They are also good motivators to keep you moving - good excuse to go for a daily walk ! ! ! Please don't over-react or make an implusive decision you would surely regret.

      over 5 years ago
    • amontoya's Avatar
      amontoya

      Noooooo, don't get rid of your pets! They're so loving and wonderful and comforting and cute and always there and they don't talk back and I could go on and on! I often wonder why people do not think before something like that comes out of their mouths.

      over 5 years ago
    • HeidiJo's Avatar
      HeidiJo

      In my opinion, they could not be more wrong! I have a cat and a dog, I asked my onconolgist about the safety of my animals during my treatments, she said there have not been studies either way, but there have been no known problems. Taking your beloved animal away at this time when you need them the most is not the answer. My cat and dog laid on me after my treatments and surgeries, and it is now 5 years after my last treatments, and they are fine. I have heard that if you need a bone marrow transplant, you need to find a new temporary home for them while you recover. Good Luck!

      over 5 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar
      ticklingcancer

      As I sat one day in my "chemo chair" feeling like complete poop...in walks a volunteer with a beautiful golden retriever One by one, this dog stropped to visit each of the patients in the infusion room. When this dog finally made it to me it was pretty awesome. He knew I was sick. Having never met me before he walked up and put his head in my lap. I rubbed his head and talked to him for a couple of minutes. And for just those couple of minutes that he visited, all was right in the world. I would get rid of who ever suggested you get rid of the dog. ; )

      over 5 years ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar
      barryboomer

      Keep The Dog no matter what the Doctor says.....
      UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      over 5 years ago
    • cam32505's Avatar
      cam32505

      Ok, I think the issue is sanitary. You will be immune compromised. So, get some help with the dirty work, but love your animal.

      over 5 years ago
    • Keith59's Avatar
      Keith59

      I suggest you keep your dog. Pets are great therapy. I would ask you oncologists if the dog compromises your health in any way.

      over 5 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar
      FreeBird

      I'd probably tell them, "how about we get rid of you instead." Dogs are the best caregivers, and they are family.

      There are trillions of bacteria all over the place, and it's unavoidable to pick it up. They live on and inside our bodies. Some of it is beneficial. If animals are digging and rolling around in the dirt outside, maybe it's a good idea to do something to stop that and make sure they're well groomed. It's probably a good idea to let someone else clean up their body waste. But they're probably not out touching grocery carts, doorknobs, toilet handles, and other people to transfer anything from there to you.

      I think it's more important to practice good hygiene like handwashing and use common sense. My dad's dog was by his side throughout both of his major cancers, and he's cleaner than a lot of people I know. Not long before he died, his dog let out a howl I've never heard from him before. After he died, his dog jumped up on him, and laid right next to his head. He was included in everything all the way through as part of the family.

      over 5 years ago
    • lilymadeline's Avatar
      lilymadeline

      Your friends are probably just trying to be helpful, but they are misguided to say the least- OK they are wrong. Pets are a wonderful support, they give us a reason to get out of bed in the morning! And they always keep us in the moment. My cancer center has visiting therapy dogs all the time, and personally I would be lost without my furry friends.
      There are risks however - but you are endangering your pet more than the other way around. While you are undergoing chemo you are very toxic. It is not talked about enough but there is danger from second hand chemo exposure and also second hand exposure to some other cancer treatments such as PET/CT scans. So check with your oncologist or oncology nurses and find out how long that you are toxic after treatment- it usually is a few days. But you can also check with the drug company, in fact you probably will get more accurate information from them. So for those few days you will need to be flushing the toilet twice, don't let your dog lick you! I wouldn't huge it closely either, just be aware that the chemo is being released from your body in all your body fluids and sweat. And of course you need to be careful around small children. So keep your doggie! I really could't have gotten through 4 years of cancer treatments without my dogs, in fact it is time to get up and go walk them now......Good luck and God bless!

      over 5 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      Wow! I would probably throttle someone who suggested I get rid of my two dogs. Sometimes, they are my reason for continuing to fight! When I was first diagnosed, my smaller dog (a Sheltie) would come lay on my chest. I know it is stupid, but it felt like he was drawing those tumors out of me. He's never laid on me in that way before or since. It gave me great comfort.

      Besides the love and companionship, having my 2 dogs means I make myself get up and get out and walk. I spend lots of time outside with them, too. Additionally, we play agility together - a fun game that has brought many wonderful people into my life. My doctors are well aware that I have dogs and never has any sort of suggestion been made that I consider getting rid of them. IF they made such a suggestion, I would be looking for different doctors.

      over 5 years ago
    • andreamk's Avatar
      andreamk

      I would ask your doctor about it, if you're concerned. Pets are just so wonderful to have around, especially during tough times, and I have known a few people going through treatment with dogs around. I personally have had my sweet, giant bunny rabbit by my side throughout chemo all summer with no problems. My oncologist had no problem with it, but he did ask me to stop cleaning Abner's litter boxes because of the bacteria (what a bummer for me- not), and we moved his cage out of our room and into the garage. My boyfriend has been doing all of the litter box cleaning, and I wash my hands really well after I play with him. Maybe someone can help you out with the messy stuff, too. Good luck! :)

      over 5 years ago
    • Asanayogini's Avatar
      Asanayogini

      Keep your dog our chemo center brings dogs all the time to say hello to us

      over 5 years ago
    • trouble241's Avatar
      trouble241

      NO but XXX NO they give the best comfort ! I have three an all three stayed at my feel an when it got bad they put there head on my lap.

      over 5 years ago
    • denimi's Avatar
      denimi

      I think your friend is crazy! You need your doggie...especially now! God bless you.

      over 5 years ago
    • BabsWon's Avatar
      BabsWon

      Don't you dare get rid of your dog. You need each other. My oncologist never asked if we had pets. We have a cockatoo and I cleaned his cage with no ill effects. And as others have said, it's very important to wash your hands often. I was told to stay away from crowds after chemo treatments. But I was stubborn and went to our state fair a week after my last chemo. No ill effects from that either, except I got really tired. I was determined to not let cancer ruin my plans. Best of luck, take care and keep your dog because I'm sure you love one another and you don't need the added stress of being apart.

      over 5 years ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      MY dog barked hysterically when I read him your question! Okay, he's a plush dog, but he's alive to me. I love everyone's replies! Dogs - and let's not overlook cats - are wonderful, grounding companions, and we all need them before, during and long after cancer treatment.

      over 5 years ago
    • Emmalee's Avatar
      Emmalee

      Keep the dog!!!!!
      The only pets my oncologists said to avoid were reptiles and amphibians because they can carry weird diseases, but as long as you are not touching the poo of your animal you should be fine!

      over 5 years ago
    • Lillyzz's Avatar
      Lillyzz

      Keep your dog. My two dogs are what comforted me through the worst of my chemo treatment. One on each side of me on the sofa. Such comfort and love. Also, it made me get up and get dressed and go outside.

      over 5 years ago
    • LisaLathrop's Avatar
      LisaLathrop

      I BEGGED to have my cats come for even the shortest of visits in the hospital. No - but I was in isolation. If you are at home...with other germs in the air, counters, floor, etc. there is no harm in having a dog. If there was, would your oncologist let you go home? btw....haven't you heard that a dog's tongue/mouth is actually cleaner (less germy) than a toilet?? Keep him...and hug him and let him be right by your side. :D Pets heal! no pun intended...lol

      over 5 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar
      BuckeyeShelby

      I was more concerned about getting my cats sick than the other way around. Since I live alone, during treatment I wore gloves to deal with the litter box. And I had one of those automatic boxes, so I wasn't shoveling through littler, just emptying the little plastic tray. Take necessary precautions, but love your puppy and let him/her love you back.

      over 5 years ago
    • ariez's Avatar
      ariez

      Keep the dog and get new friends!

      over 5 years ago
    • gonewest's Avatar
      gonewest

      NO NO NO. My dogs give love and get me out of bed and outside to play. I have found a way to play frisbee from my lounge chair because the Lab insists. :)

      over 5 years ago
    • gonewest's Avatar
      gonewest

      @lisa. One of my friends snuck his Doxie into USC-Keck after my major surgery. It was the best visit ever. The therapy dog was entertaining and visited me every day.

      over 5 years ago
    • still_fighting's Avatar
      still_fighting

      Hi Melmom I hope your doing well during your treatments hun. I had a 15 year old cat (until she passed 2 years ago) and 3 dogs all during all my treatments. My oncologist said I can keep my animals but I couldn't let them lick me in the face and I had to use my sanitizer after contact when I was in active treatment and I couldn't change the cat box ever during treatment. My cat was my baby she knew when I was really sick and she would just lay next to me and let me stroke her...I think it comforted both of us. Talk to your oncologist but there's no reason to get rid of your animals. They love you and you can still love them.

      over 5 years ago
    • Judt1940's Avatar
      Judt1940

      I have 3 dogs. My Golden slept with me all through chemo. My RBC stayed up, never even had a cold. The dogs pushed me to get better so I could get out and play ball. So nice to have warm bodies in my home, waiting for me. Do your friends have dogs? Not their business.

      over 5 years ago
    • kalindria's Avatar
      kalindria

      My dog is in Idaho with my parents. My Dad is a well-known retriever trainer and AKC field trial judge so my situation is unique.

      Depending on your situation and your ability to find a suitable temporary home for your dog, I would say think about it. Germs are one consideration but so is your ability to take care of your dog.

      I am the president of my national breed club and while it's terribly tough not to have Ozzy with me, but for me, the most responsible thing to do was to send him somewhere that he could get tons of exercise, learn some new skills and have lots of fun. He's a big active dog and while we had made concessions to living in a Bay Area apartment, I knew I wouldn't be able to give him adequate exercise during chemo.

      Ozzy is a therapy dog, well-behaved, well-trained, a show champion and I love him dearly. But it was in both of our best interests to have him go to "camp" while I recuperate.

      This is a really individual choice and a lot depends on how you care for your pup. No kisses on the mouth and wash carefully after you clean up poop. Good luck!

      over 5 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Our medical center has Therapy Dogs that sit with people while they have Chemo they also have therapy dogs in the hospital. The dogs are bathed before coming also they had frequent checks by the vet. Also at the rehab facility patients were encouraged to have visits from thier pets. There are hundreds of articles about pet therapy. I suggest you give your friends a copy of "The Healing Power of Pets": by Dr. Marty Becker

      over 5 years ago
    • mlk180's Avatar
      mlk180

      Ditch the friends...keep the dogs!

      over 4 years ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar
      barryboomer

      KEEP THE DOG.....BTW.....DID you keep it? as this post is from a year ago.

      over 4 years ago
    • mlk180's Avatar
      mlk180

      I have two dogs and a tank of fish. Feed them and they love you. What a great deal! No political opinions, no tiffs, no bad days..just lots of unconditional love, rain or shine, hair or no hair. Unfortunately, the POUND will not take some of my relatives. My friends are hand picked and I love every one of them. Life's too short to be obnoxious. Live long and prosper! I say this as I celebrate my 65 birthday today. I read a definition today that says that an optimist is someone that knows that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it's a cha-cha...and I am dancing as fast as I can!

      over 4 years ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      Happy mirthday, mlk180! Must say, though, that I've met a few very political dogs (mean, snarling, vicious, pooping on smaller dogs). Sounds to me like members of ONE political party....

      over 4 years ago
    • kalindria's Avatar
      kalindria

      THIS IS AN OLD THREAD...

      This is a very personal choice and should be made with your medical team - NOT YOUR FRIENDS, unless they are qualified to voice an opinion.

      I shipped my pup, Ozzy, off to my parents in Idaho for 15 months because when I went through chemo, we lived in a crowded environment with lots of dogs that aren't necessarily vaccinated. Even though my dog had all his shots and wasn't in contact with other dogs, it was far too easy for him to track in dirt and germs. I was sick a lot before he left and much less so after he departed.

      I was also not sure I would be able to walk him as he's a he's a 75 lb retriever with a stubborn streak. My boyfriend had just started a new job with long, unpredictable hours and we were in an apartment so walking the dog was necessary.

      I was lucky, I had a great place to send him. My Dad is a Field Trial judge for the American Kennel Club and they have 40 acres of rivers, ponds, training areas, ducks, and other retrievers. I told anyone who asked that Ozzy at doggie summer camp. And now he's home.

      If your friends are telling you to do anything, I'd ask questions and simply check it out with your medical team. Most cancer patients (and other with chronic diseases) learn that everyone wants to tell us what to do, how to live what to eat, what caused our disease, how to cure our disease and stories about people who have or had the same disease. Ugh. Most of the time it's not news and a lot of the time, it's just bad science. I take it all with a HUGE grain of salt and shrug my shoulders a lot.

      You and your medical team are the best judge of what you need and how you should proceed.

      over 4 years ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar
      barryboomer

      Kalindria as I said in another thread NOBODY knows Nothin.....we'll find out maybe after we die or not. Too many know it alls and they don't have a clue either.

      over 4 years ago
    • KPetunia's Avatar
      KPetunia

      I really wonder where your friend got that idea. Pets are wonderful companions. I have never heard such a thing. I have been a nurse for nearly 40 years and the general opinion is our pets do so much for us. Unless you are allergic or something like that, I would not get rid of your pet.
      I have a beautiful, fluffy, goofy, energetic, loving Golden Retriever. I could not stand the thoughts of getting rid of him.

      about 4 years ago
    • KadenKendrick's Avatar
      KadenKendrick

      It’s not like that; you can live happily with your pet without worrying about others and I know how difficult is to spend life without them at certain age. Do one thing, buy good product for your pet to maintain wealth and health from https://www.petcarerx.com/trifexis/22843 . Add protein and nutrients in his regular food for better and quick growth. Take him to the vet for regular checkups. With little care you can spend your whole life with them blissfully.

      almost 3 years ago

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