If you’re an animal lover who suffers from allergies, adding a pet to your household can pose quite the dilemma. Of course, you want that special experience of loving and caring for a pet, but without the misery of constantly watery eyes and pockets full of Kleenex. Never fear! There are several breeds of animals that allergy sufferers can tolerate. Here are ten of the best pets for allergy sufferers:
Though poodles have longer hair than other breeds, it’s not the amount of hair that causes allergies. It’s the dander it brings. Poodles’ tightly-curled hair retains dander better than other breeds, and they don’t have an undercoat, which means less shedding. Poodles are also known for being one of the most intelligent dogs. Now that’s a smart choice!
Devon Rex Cats
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to opt for a completely hairless cat if you have mild to moderate allergies. The Devon rex has a short, naturally wavy coat that doesn’t require it to groom as often as other breeds (cats’ saliva is often an allergy trigger). While no cat is truly hypo-allergenic, many who are prone to sneezing and sniffling find they can live with a Devon rex.
Portuguese Water Dog
Best known for being the dog of choice for the Obama family, the Portuguese Water Dog has minimal shedding and must be groomed frequently, making it an excellent choice for people with allergies. This breed generally loves water and staying active by walking, running, or playing with its family.
This interesting reptile makes a great pet for kids who suffer from allergies. Turtles are fun to watch, safe to play with, and are relatively low-maintenance. Keep in mind that their tanks require regular cleaning to prevent algae and mold, which can trigger allergies themselves if left unchecked.
A classic feline breed for allergy sufferers, the sphinx has only a fine layer of hair and therefore, less dander. Many enjoy the Sphynx’s unique look and characteristic “dog-like” behavior, which is typically more social than that of other cats. Potential owners should keep in mind that the Sphynx requires a careful cleaning regimen and regular moisturizing of its sensitive skin.
If you’re up for a more exotic addition to the family, a pet hedgehog may be the perfect hypo-allergenic choice for you! They produce significantly less dander than traditional pets, and are generally cleaner than animals of similar size, like guinea pigs. Hedgehogs require some special attention, like weekly cage cleanings, and do best with owners who are patient and open-minded to their quirky hedgehog behaviors.
For those who prefer a small dog, the bichon frise is an excellent allergy-friendly option. Like the poodle, this breed’s curly coat produces less dander, and its need for regular grooming makes it less prone to dirt and excess hair. This breed has a generally happy temperament and prefers to be with its humans, great for those looking for a loyal companion.
While fish aren’t exactly a cuddly-cute animal, they can be a great first pet for kids, helping teach responsibility while being virtually allergen-free. Plus, with such an array of colors and species available, an aquarium can add a beautiful aesthetic to a home!
Though not for the squeamish, snakes make interesting and fascinating pets. Their scaly skin means they have no need to groom, which eliminates the allergens from dander and saliva. Just make sure you’re prepared for live feedings, which most snakes require.
Miniature schnauzers, to be exact! While there’s no scientific evidence that smaller dogs are more hypo-allergenic than larger dogs, experts surmise that a smaller body means fewer allergens to go around. Makes sense, right?
Talk with your doctor or allergist about your options, and don’t be afraid to take your time deciding which allergy-friendly pet is best for you.