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Hypoallergenic Pets

Catherine Forman

When my brother and I were little, we developed some pretty severe allergies, including allergies to animal dander. Forced to give up the family dog, we asked our allergist if we could ever have another pet.

"Sure," he'd answer. "Get a hermit crab. Get a snake!"

It wasn't quite the answer we wanted to hear. But if your allergies are that bad, something without fur may just be the way to go.

If your allergies are mild, you may be able to get away with a pet that is less likely to cause a reaction. A single-coated dog will be less likely to cause an allergic reaction than a double-coated dog. Some single-coated dogs are:

  • Chinese Crested
  • Poodles (Standard or Miniature)
  • Schnauzers
  • Bichon Frise
  • Terriers (Soft-Coated Wheaten, Kerry Blue, West Highland White, etc.)

Want even less chance of a reaction? Hairless dogs will be even less likely to cause problems than the single-coated dogs! They may not look quite like the dog you imagine, but their lack of hair lowers the chances of causing a reaction.

  • Chinese Crested Hairless
  • Mexican Hairless

Cats are (unfortunately) more often the culprit when it comes to allergies. But you may find your symptoms are less severe with a short-haired cat than a long-haired cat. There are even hairless breeds of cats like Rexes and Sphinxes.

Did you know that it's not actually the pet's hair that you are allergic to? Dogs and cats secrete certain proteins from their skin. The proteins can dry on the hair, but more often they soak into dead skin cells (dander) that flake off into the air.

Here are some other tips for coping with allergies and keeping your pets!

  1. Be a cleaning maniac. Vacuum frequently, wash the slip covers, wash the pillows, wash the drapes... you get the idea.

  2. Get rid of heavy cloth drapes and carpets that can trap dust and dander and other allergens.

  3. Run HEPA air filters to try and filter out some of the allergens in the air.

  4. Make a pet-free space, your bedroom is a good choice. Don't let the pets in. Run a special air filter to keep the air clean. You can even cover your mattress and pillows with plastic covers to protect yourself from dust mites.

  5. Bathe your pets frequently. Weekly. A thorough bathing can reduce the amount of allergens on a dog or cat more than eighty percent!

And by the way, hypoallergenic does NOT mean "free of allergens", it means less likely to cause allergic reactions.

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March 31, 20060 found this helpful

You didn't mention the Goldendoodle and Labradoodles. These dogs shed very little and are great dogs for people with allergies. I have a three month old female Goldendoodle named Sunny. Her daddy is a red Golden Retriever and her mommy is a white, standard Poodle.

These dogs are quick learners, easy to train, very commical, loving, great with children and other animals and because the doodles are half Poodle, they are protective of their homes and owners.

My 'baby' came all the way from Colorado to live with us here in Orlando, Florida and she is the cutest thing. I have terrible allergies but I can hug and love all over my Sunny and don't sniffle at all!

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April 1, 20060 found this helpful

Also the sugar glider is a good hypoallergenic pet all though they are an exotic . Thet run between $150 and up they are the most loving you could have there know to be a pocket pet . They eat fruits, no shots no vet bills they make great pets all around .

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April 1, 20060 found this helpful

Single coated dogs are a good idea. Also bath often. Daily brush and then wipe down with a damp cloth, it is often the dust trapped in the hair that is actual causing the allergic reaction.

The above tips are also a good idea.

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February 3, 20080 found this helpful

I'm allergic to many animals(I'm 12) and I have always wanted a small pet that is hypoallergenic.i I have asthma and my parents are really concerned when buying me a pet because most of the time we have to give it away because of my allergy. Can someone help me and give me a list of small hypoallergenic pets! THANK YOU!

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April 17, 20080 found this helpful

Dander may be part of the cause of reactions to cats, but the real culprit and cause of the major reactions is from the secretion of the sebaceous glands. All skin, human or animal, contains these glands which produce an oily lubricant that keep the skin supple and the hair shiny. It is from this secretion that Fel d1, the cat allergen, surfaces. (It also surfaces from the persistent self-cleaning of cats). The protein composition of dander can, and does cause reactions, but the majority of the serious reactions stem from the Fel d1 allergen.

Lots of hair, little hair or no hair. All cats produce oils from the sebaceous glands which cause problems. The amount of hair that a cat has or does not have plays no significant part in its allergenicity. Cats, by the way, are probably responsible for two-thirds of all pet related allergies. """"

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March 20, 20120 found this helpful

There is also another small dog the Havanese around 20 lbs and the President's dog the Portuguese Waterdog 50 lbs and up. Both are Hypoallergenic and very smart.

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September 27, 20120 found this helpful


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August 21, 20130 found this helpful

Pet urine, saliva and dandruff are the top allergen producing byproducts of pets. It's a misnomer to believe that hairless breeds are less allergenic.

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January 13, 20160 found this helpful

I notice that you didn't mention Maltese Dogs. These dogs only weight about 10 pounds. They have human hair, they do not shed hair, so you don't have to worry about allergies. They are a great pet. My first one I had lasted 15 years, and now I am on my second. They are very smart and entertaining dogs.

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January 13, 20160 found this helpful

If you're looking for a big dog that won't give you much of an allergic reaction check out the black Greyhounds. While they come in several colors the fur on the black ones is similar to human hair so there's little reaction to them. They barely have a fur coat anyway. You can adopt them from the many Greyhound Rescue groups in your area and you'll be saving a life at the same time.

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