If your children are allergic to cats and dogs and you want to find an alternative pet, then here are some great options for you!
This is an updated version of a previous blog post which you can find here.
A childhood classic. Not hands on, no skin to skin contact with the pet, and no airborne allergens. Fish are a pretty safe bet but remember that water in fish tanks can contain bacteria that can lead to infections if in contact with broken skin.
Sticking to cold water fish that have simple requirements is the best move if buying fish for children, that’s why the classic ‘goldfish’ is a great fit. Tropical fish may look amazing, but their tanks require daily attention, and tiny changes in temperature can kill the delicate fish.
Head to a reputable aquatic centre for the best advice on tanks and care.
- Corn snake
Corn snakes are harmless and get their name from the corn like pattern on their skin. If you’re not squeamish about scales, reptiles can make fantastic pets for kids with allergies. In fact, cold-blooded animals are better for children with pet allergies than warm-blooded.
No fur, no feathers, no dander. On the whole, corn snakes are docile, easy to handle and have a gentle temperament. They’re much more likely to hide if they get scared than they are to bite. Once the right environment has been created for them, they are simple to take care of.
Head to a reputable reptile centre to make sure that you get the best advice.
- White’s Treefrog
OK, a bit slimy for some – but easy to care for, handle and one of the larger arboreal frogs you’ll find!
Kids often seem to be fascinated by frogs – I know I was when I was younger! A frog can be a great pet as they do not require large spaces or lots of attention to flourish. It is important to note that White Tree frogs do live for up to 16 years, so they are a big commitment!
White’s Treefrogs are normally blue or green with a white underbelly – hence the name! They are one of the larger frog species, growing to 12 to 13 centimetres. They are pretty lazy frogs which means they are easy to pick up and handle, unlike their more energetic and smaller relatives. Remember that all amphibians have very sensitive skin that easily absorbs chemicals, so care is needed when handling.
These funny-looking friends could make a great addition to your household!
Head to a reputable amphibian centre to make sure that you get the best advice.
Hamsters are small, so although they do omit some level of dander because of their fur, that level is low and mostly contained to the hamsters fur and cage. Younger children would be better suited to a larger breed of hamster, such as a Syrian, as dwarf hamsters are very small and are sensitive to rough handling. Another thing to consider with hamsters is that they’re nocturnal so tend to make a lot of noise at night! They can be handled in the day too, though.
A good pet shop will be able to advise you on correct set up, care and breeds.
If the allergy is a feather allergy, then this might not be a great idea. Or if you live in a flat. Or anywhere without a garden!
Chickens are remarkably simple to take care of and have been increasing in popularity as ‘backyard’ pets in recent years.
With the correct set up and enough outdoor space, chickens can be great fun. Research at the University of Kent showed that chickens are more closely related to dinosaurs than any other birds and kids seem to love their cheeky nature. They are curious creatures, which will reward you with eggs and make perfect fertiliser for your home veggie patch.
Remember though, most councils will consider the loud crowing from cockerels to be a statutory nuisance in suburban areas, so stick to hens unless you’re out in the sticks.