If you’ve got an allergy but you love having a pet, then you may have a dilemma. We want to help, so I’ve collected some useful information that hopefully will help you to start your low allergy pet search. Here are my suggestions of pets for people with allergies.
Unfortunately, cats tend to irritate people with pet allergies more than dogs, as they spend more time in close contact with people, and their saliva contains proteins that act as allergens. Cats are thought to cause allergic reactions more because they lick their fur more than dogs. So the runny eyes, watery noses, and scratchy throats endured by most allergy sufferers are virtually unavoidable if they are exposed to cats. However, happily, some cats are especially recommended for people with allergies.
The Devon rex was first spotted in 1960 living in Devon. It has a short, rippling coat made of down fur. As the Devon rex has less fur than some other breeds, they can be cleaned less often than their furrier friends. Experts advise: ‘the Devon rex is a good choice for people who are allergic to cats. While no cat can be truly hypoallergenic, many people with allergies to cats discover they can live comfortably with a Devon rex.’
Most cat allergies are a result of the Fel d 1 glycoprotein, which is present in cat saliva and skin excretions. Southern California based company Allerca claims to have bred a hypoallergenic cat, which was engineered to have modified versions of the Fel d 1 glycoprotein – the ‘Sphynx’ cat. While not hypoallergenic, the Sphynx could be better for allergy sufferers, simply because they don’t deposit allergen-laden hair.
Dog lover? Why not get a poodle….
The poodle has a long hair-growth cycle, which typically means it will shed less. Poodles are said to be great water dogs. Their coats are usually tightly curled and without much of an undercoat, dead hair is less likely to detach and float in the air. Poodles may need to be professionally groomed, as dander – the most common source of allergen – can get trapped in their coats.
Lizards could make the perfect pet for an allergy sufferer because they are hairless. It’s very uncommon for a person to be allergic to lizards. Leopard geckos are considered extremely easy pets because they are small and have minimal care requirements.
Ultimately, perhaps the only hypoallergenic pet that experts can agree on would be a fish. A fish surrounded in a watery enclosure will certainly be as allergen-free as can be.
If you do go for the cat or dog option, it’s worth bearing this advice in mind:
- Find effective allergy treatment that works for you
- Invest in a HEPA filter
- Keep certain areas of your home pet-free
- Clean your living space and your pet frequently
- Spay or neuter your pet, as the sebum produced by a neutered cat is lower than that of an unaltered cat
Read more about allergy friendly pets. Good luck in your search!