Are you an animal lover, but an allergy sufferer? Fear not, having allergies doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the companionship of a pet. In fact, there are several pets out there that you can welcome to the family without worrying about your allergies flaring up. Here are 7 perfect pets for people with allergies, so you, too, can experience the joy of owning a pet – without the sniffs and sneezes!
1. Sphynx Cats
When asked to think of hypoallergenic pets, most people immediately conjure up a mental image of this iconic animal: the Sphynx cat. This distinctive-looking cat breed appears to be completely naked, but that’s not the case. Sphynx cats aren’t entirely hairless, but rather have a very thin coat of fine hair that feels silky and almost like soft suede. Think peach fuzz!
Because of their lack of fur, they produce fewer allergens, which makes them a perfect pet for allergy-prone cat lovers. In addition to their allergy-safe status, Sphynx cats are one of the most affectionate cat breeds out there. What’s not to love?
2. Bichon Frise
Bichon Frises are small, fluffy dogs that have a hypoallergenic coat that doesn’t shed, which on top of making them a low-maintenance dog breed, makes them a perfect pet for people with allergies.
The Bichon Frise is a small dog breed that has a medium-length coat of silky fur with corkscrew curls. These adorable little canines are known for their affectionate personality, gentle nature, and cheerful and playful temperament, which makes them a great pet option for kids and families.
3. Guinea Pigs
Sometimes allergies are so severe that owning a cat or a dog is simply not possible, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any other furry friend options. You might just need to think a little smaller. Enter the guinea pig!
Guinea pigs are one of the most popular pet options for several reasons, including their compatibility with those who have allergies. These adorable rodents are low-maintenance, sociable, have fun personalities, and are pretty easy to care for. Because they have short hair, they produce fewer allergens compared to other small animals, plus they generally don’t free roam, so the areas of your home that could be ‘contaminated’ with allergens are minimized.
4. Devon Rex Cats
This next pet is a unique and charming cat breed with a curly coat of soft short hair. Thanks to this curly coat, the Devon Rex sheds less dander than cats with fur and is known to cause fewer reactions in people with allergies.
Devon Rex cats basically look like Sphynx cats that are covered in a layer of short curly hair. They are also very active and playful and have amazing personalities that have been described as “a cross between a cat, a dog, and a monkey”. They really are wonderful cats.
5. Portuguese Water Dogs
By now, you may be thinking that allergy-safe pets equal small breeds, but this next pet is the perfect option for allergy sufferers who love bigger breeds. Please, welcome to the post, the Portuguese water dog! This breed is officially classed as medium-sized dogs as they generally measure in at around 17 – 23 inches depending on whether it’s male or female.
Portuguese water dogs are covered in hair that falls in tight compact curls, and they have no undercoat. Both factors mean they don’t shed, so the risk of their hair triggering your allergies is extremely minimal – although their grooming requirements are pretty intense! This beautiful dog is also known for its intelligence and loyalty and makes an especially great pet for people who enjoy outdoor activities.
Again, let’s step away from the cat vs. dog comparison and look further afield, or rather, further afloat. Fish can be a good option for people with allergies because they don’t have fur or produce any dander, both of which are common allergens. And don’t think that fish don’t make for good pets because they really do. In fact, there are some fish breeds that have huge personalities and – depending on the breed – are completely beginner friendly.
However, it’s important to note that some people can be allergic to fish. Though rare, fish allergies do exist. To make sure that you’re not one of these unlucky few, it’s recommended that you go visit an aquarium or spend some time around fish to see if you have an allergic reaction before taking the plunge. Fun fact for you: people are more at risk of being allergic to fish food than they are to fish.
And last but definitely not least, is the snake. Snakes don’t have any fur, feathers, or fluff, and they don’t produce any dander, which makes them a wonderful pet option for allergy sufferers. If the idea of owning a pet snake makes your skin crawl, take a deep breath and consider the following:
- Most snake breeds are super low maintenance, forget constant demands for attention and a long list of exercise requirements
- If space is an issue, a snake could be the solution, as they can happily thrive in their appropriately sized enclosure and don’t need any extra space to roam
- Snakes are calm and quiet and do not make any loud noises, which is perfect for people who like peaceful environments
- A snake is a friend for life – with the average corn snake living for 10 to 15 years, a snake is one of those animals that have long life spans
Similar to the above-mentioned pet option, though it’s not at all as common as a dog or cat allergy, snake allergies can exist. Some people may find that they’re allergic to the proteins found in a snake’s skin or its saliva, so it’s best to slither over to a reptile exhibit – with antihistamines at the ready!