Pets are good for us. A pet provides companionship, they lower our stress levels, and improve cardiovascular health. If asked, most people would love to have a pet in their life, but if you are in the 10% of the population with pet allergies, your options are limited. You could buy a goldfish, but let’s be honest – goldfish are hardly the most stimulating of pets. So, if you’re hoping for a fun pet, one that gives you unconditional love in return for a meal, read on.
Don’t assume that a dog is out of the question if you have a pet allergy. Some breeds of dogs are classed as hypoallergenic, which means they produce far fewer allergens than breeds such as Labradors or Golden Retriever. If you can’t bear to live your life without a pet pooch, look for an Irish Water Hound, a Maltese, or a Bedlington Terrier. These pets will bring you joy without the sneezing.
Cats often spark serious allergic responses in humans. Clouds of fluff added to the fact that cats love to sleep on our beds and laps makes cats hard to live with if you have a pet allergy. Luckily, there are some cat breeds that are hypoallergenic. This includes the Sphynx Cat, Devon Rex, Russian Blue, and Balinese. Be warned, though, a hairless breed like the Sphynx Cat needs a lot of extra care.
Rabbits are a good pet for kids with allergies, as they don’t normally trigger a massive allergic response, even though they have fur. This is because rabbits usually live outside in an outdoor run or hutch, so you can handle them in short bursts without being badly affected. However, it is a good idea to try handling a bunny first, to make sure you don’t end up wheezing or your eyes start streaming.
Gerbils and Hamsters
Gerbils and hamsters are cute and easy to care for. They don’t normally trigger an allergic response, even though they have fur. Like rabbits, hamsters and gerbils typically remain in a cage and can be confined to one area. They are also small, which helps, but they do bite, so be careful when handling them!
Reptiles make fascinating pets, especially for kids. Because they don’t have fur, they won’t trigger an allergic response. Smaller species of snake area relatively easy to look after and don’t need too much food. Milk snakes and corn snakes are a good starter pet. Bearded Dragons are also worth considering, as they are lively, interesting creatures.
Unless you have an Alfred Hitchcock aversion to birds, consider a cockatiel, parakeet, or budgie as a pet. They don’t shed much dander, so you should be fine. Many pet birds are very tame, and you can let them fly around your house (with the windows closed, of course). Always buy exotic birds from reputable breeders, to ensure they have been captive bred rather than taken from the wild.
Don’t overlook fish as a pet. Goldfish aren’t as much fun as a dog, but they do react to human interaction!