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The best pets for allergy sufferers

November 9th, 2017

The Best Pets for Allergy Sufferers

There’s nothing better than cuddling up to your furry friend after a long day. Unfortunately, for some, those cuddles could lead to hours of unbearable sniffles. There is good news, though! Just because you suffer from allergies, it doesn’t mean you have to avoid owning a pet all together. You have many “hypoallergenic” options!

Firstly, what causes my allergic reactions?

A protein found abundantly in the animal's skin and saliva trigger a person's allergies. When this protein flakes off with skin cells and sticks to the animal’s hair, it's called dander. When a dog shakes, or when you pet them, the dander flies into the air; this is the case with most animals. Shedding of the hair, along with the loose skin cells is what triggers the itchy watery eyes, sneezing, and the all around misery that accompanies an allergic reaction.

What are hypoallergenic animals?

People often assume hypoallergenic pets never cause allergic reactions, but research has shown that there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic pet. All pets will produce and shed dander, but some of them produce less than others. Breeds called hypoallergenic often shed far less than other breeds making them excellent choices for allergy sufferers. The list is lengthy, but here are some examples of hypoallergenic breeds.

Cats:

  • Siberian
  • Balinese
  • Balinese
  • Bengal
  • Burmese
  • Colorpoint Shorthair
  • Siamese
  • Russian Blue

Dogs:

  • Poodles
  • Schnauzers
  • Portuguese Water Dogs
  • Afghan Hounds
  • Kerry Blue
  • Bedlington Terrier
A dog that is a mixture of one or more of these breeds also can be an excellent choice for reducing allergic reactions.

Hairless Pets?

Just as reduced shedding aids in keeping pet allergies away, so does no hair. Hairless animals indeed do not shed hair, and they are virtually dander free. While some skin cells still flake off and it isn't 100% guaranteed that you won't be allergic to them, they are the best bet. Dog breeds like the American Hairless Terrier, Xoloitzcuintli, and the Chinese Crested are affectionate, intelligent, and very naked. Even cat lovers will find the Sphynx or the Peterbald cuddle-friendly. It's an easy way to spot a hypoallergenic pet at the pound, the one with no hair!

Recognizing Non-Allergenic Breeds

Adopting from a shelter is always the best way to find a pet. These animals need homes, but how can you tell if they are going to trigger your allergies? The first thing you can do is familiarize yourself with hypoallergenic breeds. This way when you're walking through a shelter, you'll be able to pinpoint which animals look more like non-allergenic breeds. If your allergies aren't life-threatening, you can test the waters with a couple snuggles to see if you get a reaction. Sometimes it's going to take a few days, so don't rest your case upon your first encounter.

There's even a hypoallergenic horse called the American Curly Horse, so horse lovers can saddle up and ride into the sunset without sneezing the entire way there. Animal companionship is one of the joys of life, and with these breeds, allergy sufferers can enjoy it the same as anyone else.