Raining Cats and Dogs: Plenty of Pets for Allergy Sufferers

A pet can do wonders for family wellness, but not so much if you’re allergic to animals. Your allergies may put you off even risking your wellbeing in the first place, or else walking that endless tightrope of medications and hand-washing just so you can pet your furry little friend now and again. Unfortunately, veterinarians assert that no dog or cat is 100% hypoallergenic, but there are still breeds that incite less of a reaction. We have a list of some animals that are a little friendlier to your allergy wellness:


1. Portuguese water dog: While you may have a misconception that your allergies are caused by fur, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America is quick to point out, ‘People with pet allergies have supersensitive immune systems that react to harmless proteins in the pet’s dander (dead skin that is shed), saliva or urine.’ No fur mentioned there, and, in fact, some animals are better tolerated because of their fur as they either don’t shed a lot or they require so much grooming that their dander is washed away more frequently. As the Portuguese water dog – as owned by Barack Obama – is in this latter category of requiring regular maintenance, it may be able to accommodate your allergies.


2. Sphinx cat: If you’re allergic to cats, the chances are this is due to the Fel d 1 glycoprotein present in cat saliva and skin excretions. Southern California-based company Allerca claims to have bred a hypoallergenic cat with modified versions of the Fel d 1 glycoprotein. However, The Scientist has since reported, ‘Allerca published no scientific proof that their pets are in fact hypoallergenic, and subsequent investigations conducted by The Scientist found several disappointed customers who were essentially told that they were too allergic to receive Allerca cats.’ That said, Sphinx cats are recommended by certain breeders are they don’t have any allergen-laden hair to shed.


3. Kerry blue terrier: Originating from County Kerry in Ireland, the Kerry blue terrier is considered a low-allergy dog because it sheds less dander than some other breeds. If you’re looking for an energetic and fun-loving animal that fits easily into your family, this may be the dog for you. However, if you have a cat be warned; the Kerry blue terrier is known for its hunting instinct.


4. Poodle: As the hair-growth cycle of the standard poodle is long, it will shed less than other dog. This pooch is usually advised if you have an allergy because their ‘coats tend to be both tightly curled, and usually lacking in undercoat. This combination tends to keep dead hair from detaching and floating in the air, and it tends to retain the dander, which is the most common source of allergens.’


5. Devon rex cat: Many experts assert, ‘While no cat can be truly hypoallergenic, many people with allergies to cats discover they can live comfortably with a Devon rex.’ This is because the Devon rex has less fur than some other breeds, which means they don’t need to lick themselves so frequently.


6. Bichon frise: In the same way as poodles, the Bichon frise is a lower-allergen dog because it has a curled coat, making it harder for their dander to escape. These pups require frequent grooming, but this does mean they shed less dander into a home environment.


7. American Labradoodle: This is probably the most popular low-allergen dog on this list and, as you may have guessed, is a cross between a Labrador retriever and a poodle. However, be careful because an Australian labradoodle is not the same thing, and may be worse for your allergies.

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