5 Great Pets for Kids with Cat and Dog Allergies

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  1. Goldfish

A childhood classic. Not hands on, no skin to skin contact with the pet, and no airborne allergens. This sounds great, but be wary 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, the classic ‘goldfish’ for example. 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.

  1. 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. No fur, no feathers, no dander. On the whole, corn snakes are docile, easy to handle and have a gentle temperament. They’re much likely to hide if they become scared than they are to bite. Once the right environment has been created for them, they are simple to take care of.

Head to ya reputable reptile centre to make sure that you get the best advice.

  1. Sea Monkeys

OK, a bit retro- but tricky to kill, easy to care for, and you can even take them camping – if you really want to.

Sea monkeys are actually ‘brine shrimp’ which grow to a maximum size of 1cm. They start life as dried eggs which may be several years old. A process called ‘cryptobiosis‘ enables them to survive in a dormant state, helpful for surviving in their natural environments which are often harsh- namely dry salt lakes.

How does it work? Simple snip open a packet, pour the dried eggs into purified water, and wait a few days for the shrimp to hatch. They are simple to feed with powdered algae.

As they begin to multiply, you may see several stuck together, forming bizarre ‘monkey’ like shapes which is how they were given their nickname.

The best way to start is to buy a kit, which will contain the eggs, water purifier and growth food. You can buy online!

  1. Hamster

Hamsters are small; and so although as furry animals they will omit some level of dander, that level is low and mostly contained 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.

A good pet shop will be able to advise you on correct set up, care and breeds.

  1. Chickens

If the allergy is a feather allergy, then this might not be a great idea. Or if you live in a flat. Or a lighthouse…

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.

Check out this ultimate beginners guide to keeping chickens!

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