Between sneezing, itchy eyes, hives, and a swollen throat, pet allergies can make you feel terrible. And for animal lovers, allergies can be disheartening. Luckily, even if you suffer from allergies, you can still enjoy the company of a hypoallergenic pet in most cases. Hypoallergenic pets have a low likelihood of causing allergic reactions, and if you explore your options, you just might find the perfect pet for your needs.
Unfortunately, no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic. However, certain dogs cause fewer allergy symptoms than others. The following breeds often work well when a member of the family suffers from allergies:
- Airedale Terrier
- Bichon Frisé
- Hairless and Powderpuff Chinese Crested
- Kerry Blue Terrier
- Standard and Miniature Poodle
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
- West Highland White Terrier
Just like dogs, there are no truly hypoallergenic cat breeds. Dander and cat saliva can cause allergic reactions, and so the fact that cats clean themselves by licking can create a problem for some people. The following cat breeds are less likely to cause severe allergic reactions:
- Colorpoint Shorthair
- Cornish Rex
- Devon Rex
- Oriental Shorthair
- Russian Blue
Although reptiles can cause allergic reactions in rare cases, they are generally a good choice for allergy sufferers. Lizards, turtles, and snakes have scales rather than fur, so they don’t shed dandruff that can irritate allergy sufferers. Just make sure to keep your reptile’s cage clean to prevent mold.
Birds are another great option for those who have allergies. However, many species still have dander and other allergens in their saliva and droppings. Avoid Cockatoos, Cockatiels, and African Greys, because these species have a powdery substance on their skin and feathers that can pollute the air in your home. Make sure that your bird bathes often, and put an air purifier near its cage.
If you aren’t enthused by these options, don’t worry – there are several other types of hypoallergenic pets available. Fish are always a safe bet for allergy sufferers. Since rodents are typically confined to a cage, most people with mild allergies have no issues with them. Handling these small critters, however, can certainly cause an allergic reaction. Finally, did you know that certain pigs make great hypoallergenic pets? Pigs have hair instead of fur, are easy to train, and generally get along well with children. Just a word of caution – most healthy pigs grow to be over 100 pounds!
Living with Pets and Allergies
If you struggle with allergies, there are some additional steps you can take to live in harmony with your pet:
- If you are looking for a dog, choose a small one. Larger dogs typically shed more dandruff than smaller dogs.
- Make your bedroom a pet-free zone.
- Keep your pet’s cage clean.
- Give your pet baths at least once a week to remove dander.
- If you have carpets, consider switching to hardwood or tile floors. Make sure to vacuum, mop, and dust on a regular basis.
- Invest in an air purifier and vent filters designed to reduce airborne allergens.
Finally, don’t forget that allergy-induced asthma can be life threatening. Make sure to consult with your doctor before adding a pet to your life.
People with allergies react differently to certain pets, but with some trial and error, you should be able to find an excellent new companion. At Petsway, pets are our specialty. If you’re interested in hypoallergenic pets or need food and supplies for your new companion, stop in and see us. We have assorted small animals, birds, fish, and reptiles available for purchase, and our team members would be happy to answer your questions or offer advice. Check out our locations in Springfield, Nixa, St. Louis, St. Peters, and Poplar Bluff, Missouri.