As many as three in 10 people in the U.S. have allergies to cats and dogs, and cat allergies are twice as likely as dog allergies. Allergies happen when someone’s immune system is triggered by something, such as pollen from flowers, or dander from pets. These allergies can cause itchy watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing and rashes just to name a few, and it can make owning a pet extremely uncomfortable.
However there are a number of pets which are suitable for all people, regardless of whether you have allergies or not; fish and reptiles are a couple of examples. You may be happy to hear that there are also a few breeds of cats and dogs which are much less likely to trigger reactions than other breeds and can be kept by people who are usually sensitive to them.
These animals are known as hypoallergenic breeds. Here are some of the best pets for allergy sufferers.
Some cats produce less allergens than others which make them a much better match for people who suffer with allergies. It’s the protein in an animal’s dander and saliva which triggers most allergies, so finding a pet which creates less of this protein is the key to living with a pet when you have allergies.
Here are a few popular breed choices for hypoallergenic cats:
- The Oriental Shorthaired cat is one of the most popular hypoallergenic breeds, they shed very little hair.
- Cornish Rex cats shed very little hair and only possess the undercoat layer known as the down hair.
- The Sphynx cat is hairless and so therefore doesn’t shed at all and has no hair to trap the allergens.
- The Russian Blue is a great choice if you want a typical furry cat; he has a shiny blue coat which is short haired.
If you’re a dog person at heart but can’t stand the sniffles that come along with cuddling a cute pooch, then you might be in luck with a hypoallergenic dog breed.
Similarly to cats, these breeds don’t create as much dander and so they don’t trigger allergies in many people.
These are the most popular hypoallergenic dog choices:
- The Bichon Frise is a beautiful cuddly teddy bear dog with fluffy white fur.
- Poodles are well known for their hypoallergenic traits. They have tight curly hair which traps shedding hair.
- Miniature Schnauzers shed a very little due to their short double coat which has a wiry outer coat.
- Portuguese Water dogs are playful and laid-back as well as only having a single coat and shedding minimally.
Rabbits can make great pets; they don’t require as much attention as cats and dogs but can still be cuddled and played with.
Just like cats and dogs, there are some breeds of rabbits which are less likely to cause allergic reactions. Mini Rexes are the best breed choice for people with allergies. They have short velvety hair and they produce less dander than other rabbits.
If you do experience an allergic reaction around rabbits, make sure it’s not their hay that you’re allergic to because this is also a common trigger for allergies. If it is the hay, there are plenty of other choices available or you can ask someone to help with handling the hay.
Fish may not be able to interact with you are much as the other animals listed here, and you can’t get them out for a cuddle when you need cheering up, but they are very good for cheering you up in other ways.
Keeping fish has actually proven benefits in improving mental health and stress. Spending five minutes after a busy day at work, watching your fish swim around will help to calm you down.
Fish can bring plenty of color and personality to your home. Depending on the space you have, a fish tank can either be a centerpiece in your front room or a small tank in your kitchen. These pets won’t trigger any allergies and they are much easier to care for than other animals.
Reptiles are normally a great pet choice for people with allergies because they don’t produce the proteins which are found in warm-blooded animals.
You will need to spend time caring for them and keeping their cage clean. Ideally you’ll wear a mask and gloves when cleaning their home out to avoid any allergies being triggered.
Some of these animals require humid temperatures which can create a lot of moisture and easily result in mold if you don’t keep on top of their maintenance requirements.
If you have allergies and have put off having a pet because you’re worried how they will affect you, there are plenty of options which are available to you!
Always spend time around the animal you’re considering giving a home, before you bring them into your home permanently.