Allergies don’t have to stop you from acquiring a pet. It’s important to understand though, that there are no pets that are totally non-allergenic. The idea is to find the pet that you have little or no reaction to.
There are a number of different types of pets that produce very low allergens and can be considered hypoallergenic. With cats, there is a protein in their saliva and when they lick their fur, the spit becomes airborne and you breathe it in. In both dogs and cats the shedded skin cells called dander release allergens.
To lower the risk of an allergy attack, use an air-filter system at home, vacuum and dust often. Wash a pet’s bedding, toys, cage at least once a week. After contact with a pet, don’t touch your face until you wash your hands thoroughly. Groom your pet and bathe often to remove allergens. Birds also have dander and can be sprayed with clear water. A groomer or non-allergic family member can groom your pet regularly. If this is not possible, perhaps wearing gloves and a mask will help with grooming.
Before committing to a pet, test yourself. Meet the pet you’ve chosen. Take along your allergy medications and lots of tissues just as a precaution. Sit near the pet for at least 15 minutes or more. If you’ve had little or no reaction, try handling the pet. Play with the pet and groom him/her to see if you are still comfortable. You can use the test several times before adopting the pet to make sure all is well.
Here is a list of some pets that produce low allergens. These are just suggestions and by no means should stop you from looking at other pets that may be hypoallergenic in the categories to see if you are a good match.
- Airedale Terrier
- Bedlington Terrier
- Bichon Frise
- Cairn Terrier
- Chinese Crested
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Wirehair Fox Terrier
- Bouvier des Flandres
- Some Poodle mixes
- Italian Greyhound
- Pigs – intelligent and easily trained
- Guinea Pigs
The advantage of having a smaller pet is that they live in confined areas most of the time.
Hopefully, you will find a pet that is a good fit.