Who Should Get Hypoallergenic Pets?

Q. Who should get a hypoallergenic pet? A. If you are allergic to pet dander, a hypoallergenic pet is for you.

After all, some of us still have to deal with allergies, but we still want the companionship of a beloved animal friend. Or, we may have relatives or people living with us that are allergic to cats, dogs, and other animals.

Those of us suffering from allergies could experience a red face, runny nose, puffing up, or tightness of the chest- even trouble breathing- when we come into contact with various animals.

As a result, a happy medium can be found in finding yourself a hypoallergenic pet. That being said, you may have to go against the grain when searching for a true “hypoallergenic” animal.

Hypoallergenic Pets: Do They Exist?

Allergy and asthma symptoms happen when our body’s immune system displays a reaction to environmental allergens. Examples are the proteins found in yours/someone else’s pet’s urine, dander, and saliva.

Such proteins make their way around via particles that are easy to inhale and are manufactured on all animals with warm blood, including some so-called “hypoallergenic” breeds like the Sphinx Cat or Chinese Crested dog.

Some folks might think that specific breeds of cats or dogs are hypoallergenic because they do not have hair nor do they shed a lot. But there’s more to it than just that. Because allergic reactions can occur due to saliva or dander, finding a good pet for somebody with allergies will require a good chunk of research, thoughtful decisions made, and a discussion with the rest of your family about your decision.

Side note: If dog urine is a problem in your home, consider this program- House Train Any Dog. It could very well help your dog stop peeing in the house!

 

Hypoallergenic Pet Types

Who Should Get Hypoallergenic Pets?

So is there truly a hypoallergenic pet? It’s not as simple as we might think. We will now discuss which types of breeds and animals are less risky when it comes to producing an allergic reaction in people affected by allergies and asthma.

Is it Possible For Cats and Dogs To Be Hypoallergenic?

All animals with warm blood manufacture proteins which lead to allergic reactions in those with immune systems that are sensitive. Some breeds of dogs and cats, such as the Sphinx and the poodle, are recommended for those affected by allergies.

But finding a pet that’s allergy-friendly can be much more difficult than simply selecting a so-called “hypoallergenic” breed (and do keep in mind these breeds tend to cost a LOT).

For instance, we know of some dogs that are thought to be “hypoallergenic” but the fact of the matter is that they still have the potential to cause allergic reactions, thanks to their urine, saliva, and skin (skin is where the dander comes from).

You should also take note of this study from 2011. In it, clinicians are advised against telling patients that any single dog breed is less capable of spreading allergens than another.

Cats are another story altogether- they are considered more capable of causing an allergic reaction thanks to their self-grooming habits. However, both cats and dogs are capable of polluting the air you breathe with allergens regardless of the breed chosen.

Thus, there are no true “hypoallergenic” dogs or cats, but some breeds aren’t as problematic for allergy sufferers, thanks to their shed patterns and grooming behaviors.

What About Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, and Rabbits?

Smaller warm-blooded mammals, such as hamsters, rabbits, chinchillas, and guinea pigs are producers of dander just as dogs and cats are. The biggest difference lies in that these critters don’t spread it around as easily because they are contained in an enclosure such as a cage or plastic habitat.

Because of this, most of the dander is easy to seclude. However, these small creatures are not for people with allergies to handle. If you choose to keep a pet such as this one, you will want to keep it in a room that has little traffic, and cages should be cleaned every day, week, and month by a member of the household who doesn’t have allergies.

The advantage of pets of this size is that they are a great choice for someone who desires a pet but has a family member/roommate who has pet allergies. They are easier to keep away and offer companionship- a win-win situation.

You should also take care to provide the correct cage for the animal. Rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas all require varying cage sizes depending on their breed. Also, rats, hamsters, and mice are great pets, but all three require different enclosures to be completely happy and safe. Plus, some pets such as guinea pigs do better in pairs so you will need to accommodate that as well.

Pets That Aren’t Mammals

Many of us think of pets, and we immediately think, “Dogs and cats of course!” But companionship doesn’t have to necessarily be limited to mammals. You can enjoy animal companionship when you think differently and opt for one of these great pets.

Birds

Who Should Get Hypoallergenic Pets?

Birds have warm blood, so they are capable of producing dander that leads people with allergies or asthma to react. The dander can make its way around your home when your bird flaps their wings, which is necessary and healthy for birds to do as exercise. They may also spread it by defecation or preening.

If you would like a bird you must be careful to stay on top of cleaning and sanitation. The cleaning should be done by somebody who is not allergic to animal dander, urine, or saliva or suffering from asthma. It is also possible that a person with an allergy can live comfortably in a home that has a bird so long as the animal’s habitat is kept clean.

Amphibians & Reptiles

These critters are ideal because usually, they do not cause reactions in people with asthma or allergies. Their bodies do not manufacture the proteins that we find in the urine, saliva, and dander of warm-blooded creatures.

These pets are ideal for those with allergies or asthma, so long as you are capable and willing to care for their well-being and keep their habitats clean.

Frogs, turtles, lizards, and snakes are unique and interesting animals, but their requirements for comfort and proper care are quite complicated compared to cats and dogs. For example, bearded dragons require a basking spot with a special lamp. They also have dietary requirements such as live food (crickets and roaches). Leopard geckos need a cool and warm hide, and much more.

Another thing to consider is the handling of these animals. Although rare with proper hand-washing and care, salmonella is capable of being spread from these animals to their owners.

Also, consider that some snakes require mice to eat. Owners with allergies/asthma must wear a mask AND disposable gloves when handling these and other creatures your pets might consume such as roaches, crickets, or other live food. Be sure to dispose of gloves immediately after feeding is over and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Fish

Fish are great pets for people with allergies or asthma but the problem is that fish are not very interactive pets. They certainly look lovely in your home, however, and can make any space feel a bit less lonely if you live alone. They are relaxing and the bubbling sound your air stone makes can be soothing.

Fish do not manufacture allergens, but the evaporation of the water from the tank could make the humidity in the aquarium’s room go up. This may lead to mold growth which, as we know, is not healthy for anyone, much less a person suffering from allergies or asthma.

It should also be noted that fish require a good amount of care, too. You must take care to measure and purchase the correct tank size for your space. Then, the tank must be properly cycled to accommodate the fish you’d like to buy. And while it may be tempting to purchase beautiful saltwater fish, these habitats are for advanced fish keepers only.

Beginners should begin with a betta fish or set up a 10-gallon small tank with a few community fish to make sure they’re serious about having fish as pets.

What About Hypoallergenic Animals For Kids?

Who Should Get Hypoallergenic Pets?

Some of you are probably reading this article because your child has been bugging you to buy them a pet. Or, perhaps they’ve saved up their money and want one. The problem is, your child has allergies. So what is a parent to do?

It’s hard enough not letting your child pet, keep, or play with cats and dogs as their friends do. However, as parents, we can help our kids get excited about the alternatives.

For instance, many kids don’t know about the exciting varieties of tropical fish or goldfish that are available. And while it’s true that most children would prefer a dog or cat, guinea pig or rat, there are many beautiful and colorful fish that are sure to delight.

And, kids still get the benefits of pet ownership: caring for another living being, responsibility, and learning that actions have consequences (if I do not clean the tank, it becomes cloudy), etc.

It’s a great way to teach your child the basics of owning a pet without the worry of allergic reactions.

For kids who insist on having a small mammal, reptile, or bird, there could be allergens in these animals’ waste. Parents or other siblings may have to be the ones to clean the enclosures in this case.

Kids, regardless of whether or not they have allergies, should tell their friends about the pets they have before they come over for birthday parties, sleepovers, or play. This way, there are no unpleasant surprises when they stop by.

I Live In A Small Apartment/Space… What Hypoallergenic Pets Are Right For Me?

If you live in a studio/small apartment or a smaller size place like a mobile home, allergens could build up faster. It can seem like a great idea to get a smaller pet such as a frog or fish that won’t take up much space.

However, you should research carefully how large the pet will get, and what amount of space they need as they grow.

With a properly sized enclosure, you can enjoy companionship and a more “homey” feeling even if you do suffer from asthma or allergies. So long as you properly and regularly tidy up the habitats, you shouldn’t have to deal with allergic reactions (and if you do have one it will likely be mild).

What Else Can You Do To Keep Your Home Allergen-Free?

Ideally, to keep your home COMPLETELY free of allergens, you’d want to keep out any warm-blooded critters kept as pets. If that’s not possible, you can take other measures to keep your exposure limited.

No matter how much you clean, it’s not possible to eliminate ALL allergens.

However, keeping your house clean is one way to minimize your interaction with allergens commonly found in family homes. Regular cleaning tasks that you should do include:

  • Bathing your pet each week, if possible (for cats this is not always doable)
  • Keeping your pet away from bedrooms and rooms with upholstered furniture/carpeting
  • Washing aquariums, pet beds, and cages regularly
  • Wiping down/cleaning walls
  • Dusting and vacuuming
  • Washing bedding and clothing after your pet has come into contact with them

If your pet lives in a habitat, terrarium, or cage, make sure you keep it situated away from return/supply ventilation so that your HVAC system doesn’t spread allergens around the home. By using filters for your heater and air conditioners, plus using air purifiers, you can limit the spread of allergens.

Some air purifiers work better than others, and for people with severe allergies, you may want to purchase a large purifier instead of a small one (for example a desktop or wall-outlet model).

You should look for true HEPA filters- these can rid the air of large pet particles and destroy compounds present in animal saliva and dander that cause allergic reactions.

They are common but life-changing machines for pet owners with allergies.

Which Breeds Are “Hypoallergenic?”

At this point, you may be wondering which breeds are thought to be “hypoallergenic” when it comes to dogs.

It’s important to remind readers that there are no actual hypoallergenic dogs, but there are dogs whose hair sheds less and creates less of a chance for allergens to shed.

Now, let’s discuss a few of these dogs in detail.

American Hairless Terrier

You can adopt a hairy or hairless version of these dogs. The hairless type sheds very little and thus is ideal for allergy sufferers.

You will have to make sure they don’t get sunburnt- here’s a great doggy sunscreen-but all things considered, these dogs are great in terms of hypoallergenic breeds.

Epi-Pet Sun Protector Spray for Pets

 

And although they’re not as famous as some of the others featured on our list, these dogs are sure to become a fast favorite thanks to their playful demeanors.

Peruvian Inca Orchid

At first, you might think you’re reading about a flower. Nope! This breed originated in Peru, of course- and these dogs are loved for their protective and loyal natures.

They are great watchdogs because they are sighthounds- this means a breed of dog that hunts using speed and sight instead of endurance and scent like other breeds such as bloodhounds or other scent hounds do.

There are three sizes available for Peruvian Inca Orchids, and you can purchase a coated or hairless type.

Allergy sufferers don’t necessarily have to worry about heaping amounts of fur or hair with this breed. However, owners should take care to protect the skin of their dog especially when out and about on sunny days.

Xoloitzcuintli

You can call these dogs Xolos (pronounced Show-Low) for short.

They hail from Mexico, and they remind you of the Peruvian Inca Orchid and the American Hairless Terrier. But the cutest thing about Xolos is their wrinkly foreheads.

They are great companions and their intelligence means they are a perfect watchdog.

Much like the Peruvian Inca Orchid, you can choose among two varieties and three sizes. They can be hairless dogs or coated dogs. The hairless varieties do not shed as much as the coated variety. Even the types with coats are not required to be brushed as often as you might think because of how little they shed.

As is the case with other hairless breeds of dogs, you will have to partake in a skincare routine for your pet, especially during sunny days outdoors.

Natural Dog Company Skin Soother Healing Balm, Relieves Dry, Itchy Skin, Allergies, Skin Irritations, Hot Spots & Wounds, Organic, All Natural Ingredients, 2oz Stick

 

Spanish Water Dog

One look at the Spanish Water Dog and you wonder if we’ve lost our minds. These dogs are very furry, after all.

But, appearances can be deceiving. The Spanish Water Dog is one of the best hypoallergenic breeds out there. The dogs feature coats that are wooly and curly. When these hairs grow out, they form tightly wound cords.

Many dog owners keep the coats of these dogs cut short. The longer and tightly corded coats require more care and expertise on the owner’s part. These dogs do not shed a lot, so they are a fair choice for those with allergies.

The Spanish Water Dog is known for its tendency to be playful and active. After all these dogs were retrievers and herders according to history. They will be easy to train, especially with this great program Brain Training For Dogs.

Chinese Crested

Just as with the American Hairless Terrier, you will find a coated and hairless type of the Chinese Crested. (The hairy types are called Powderpuff.) The hairless type sheds quite minimally, and even the Powderpuff type sheds quite a little.

Both varieties of the Chinese Crested still need your attention when it comes to grooming. Skincare is required for the hairless type, and the Powderpuffs will require regular brushing. Check out this quality brush:

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They are a lovely and quirky dog that’s great for smaller spaces.

Portuguese Water Dog

Remember Bo and Sunny from the White House? This is that breed of dog. They love the water, of course, but they also love being active in general.

They are an incredibly smart breed, too. These dogs are medium in size and are trained easily. Their coats are curly and ideal for allergy sufferers.

Their coats are seasonally shed and are quite thick. You will want to keep it cut short and perform regular brushings for best results.

Coton de Tulear

If you’ve never heard of this breed, don’t worry! These dogs aren’t as widely known as others on our list today. But, you’ll easily recognize these once you’ve learned about them. Maybe you already knew one and didn’t know this was the breed!

These dogs look like walking clouds. Their coat is soft and pleasant to the touch. Unless owners keep it short, it can grow quite long.

Even though their coats make it look like they shed all the time, they actually only do so occasionally and only need minimal coat care, if you keep the coat cut short.

This is a great breed that is loyal and loving. They are easygoing and happy animals that will delight everyone they meet.

Bedlington Terrier

This dog looks almost like a sheep. They are very lively dogs, too.

The coats are curly and crisp, but not wiry as we’ve seen with other terriers. These dogs barely shed, despite their coats looking like they do.

Their coats require regular clippings, so make sure you know a good groomer or can do it yourself!

In Conclusion

Who should get hypoallergenic pets? Anyone who wants a pet that sheds less hair than breeds you typically might find. You don’t have to be an allergy or asthma sufferer to benefit from animals known to be hypoallergenic.

As with any pet, research carefully what the animal needs to be happy and make sure you have the time, space, and money to do so. Then, adopt away and enjoy your new friend.

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