Particularly for children, the concept of not having a pet because you are allergic is unfathomable.
When your friends are gloating about their new puppies and kittens, you are left staring longingly at the latest Andrex advert. However, armed with some medication and a bit of knowledge, allergies do not have to mean a pet free existence.
There are some hypo-allergenic pets out there, as well as ones that only shed a minimal amount of dander. The 10 pets below would be fantastic companions for who those who usually get red eyes and an itchy throat in the presence of furry friends.
Most people are much more affected by cats than dogs, due to the allergen CH1 being present in their saliva and skin excretions. Therefore, streaming eyes, runny noses, and scratchy throats are really unavoidable when it comes to felines. However, while not hypoallergenic, the Sphynx is one of the best cats to consider as a pet as they are hairless. This means they do not deposit allergen-laden hair, resulting in much less potential for unbearable coughs and sneezes.
Although considered ugly by some, this ET of the cat world has a fantastic personality. They are intelligent, inquisitive, and unusually people-orientated. They love nothing more than catching a snooze on a warm lap, earning them the name of ‘the Velcro lap cat’.
Like a lot of dogs with curly coats, the Bichon is a lower-allergen dog as it is harder for their dander to escape the coils of their coat. Bichons also need regularly grooming, which means that less dander will be shed at home. These white powder puffs are excellent house dogs, with a cheerful persona, and they love learning tricks!
The most popular of all the Hamster breeds, the Syrian hamster are a great option as their home is a restricted space. Although this may sound cruel, it is excellent for allergy sufferers. Aside from occasional cuddles, hamsters are not pets that trot around the house freely. Therefore, a lack of interaction with the home saves from dander being spread far and wide.
If you want to avoid even a sniff, a Leopard Gecko is an ideal pet as they are hairless and relatively low maintenance. It is very rare for people to be allergic to lizards, but it must be remembered that many breeds of lizard require live feeding and, if you are not comfortable with this, they are not the pet for you.
Leopard Geckos are compact little lizards and have minimal care requirements; great for first-time lizard owners as well as allergy sufferers. Many owners comment that their Leopard Geckos all have very different personalities, but the majority love to be handled and often sit on a knee in front of the television.
Portuguese Water Dog
Many people look at the long wild coat of the Portuguese water dog and can feel their eyes itching. But, there is no need. This breed needs regular grooming, meaning that all aggravating dander is the problem of the dog parlour. Barack Obama’s daughter has bad pet allergies but Bo Obama, the president’s dog, is a Portuguese water dog and does not aggravate any family members.
Portuguese water dogs are an active breed, and need owners that are a fan of lakes and the coast – they like to take a dip! They rarely shed and are an easy breed to train, especially when brought into the family as a puppy.
Devon Rex Cat
With a similar silhouette to the Sphynx, the Devon Rex cat emerged during the 1960s. They are a fascinating breed, capable of not only recognising their own name, but that of their owners. Due to their short wavy coats, they are often associated with being one of the best cats for allergy sufferers. They are not hypoallergenic, but along with the Sphynx, they are definitely a breed to consider if you are a cat lover.
Devon Rex’s often shadow their owners, following them from room to room until they can jump up for a cat nap on a lap. Not only are they people orientated, they also love to play and can be delightfully mischievous.
Parakeets & Budgies
Many people assume that is just fluffy pets that produce allergy-triggering dander, but birds do too. However, despite not being hypoallergenic, the household favourites of budgies and parakeets are ideal. Even when they are moulting, both breeds shed very little dander. This means that owners with allergies are less likely to fall foul of an attack.
A pet surrounded in a watery enclosure is about as allergen-free as things can get. To be fair, it is not just goldfish that reign supreme in the hypoallergenic stakes, but they are by far one of the easiest pets to look after. It is easy to get drawn in to the allure of a tropical fish tank, but for first time pet and fish owners, it is best to keep things simple.
Many people think goldfish are boring pets, but there are some fantastic species such as the Fantail, Shubunkin, and Tosakin. Also, if they allow you to enjoy having a pet without the red raw eyes, you can learn to love them.
Like lizards and fish, it is pretty much physically impossible to be allergic to snakes. Before you invest in the idea of a snake as a pet, bear in mind that they require specialist homes and you will be feeding them mice. If you have the time and money to invest in a snake as a pet, some great beginner breeds include the Corn snake, Californian Kingsnake, and Rosy Boa. Also very popular are Ball Pythons.
If you have the land and the time, pigs are great pets and are not restricted to farms. Although pigs have hair, it is not fur, and therefore they are ideal for the allergy sufferer with a plot of land or expansive garden. Pigs are very intelligent and extremely trainable; they also often make excellent guard dogs!
For allergy sufferers’ pigs are a great pet, but it must be remembered that most breeds grow to be over 100 pounds in size and will need mucking out, much like a horse.