Hypo-allergenic Pets: Fact or Fiction?

In case you don’t know the answer this is a myth and pure fiction.

But before I get into that let me go back in time.

Pets came and went from my childhood home because of my horrible childhood asthma. Even so, a parade of pets moved through the house in search of a pet that I could live with.

My first word was “fish” because that was one of the few animals that did not trigger allergies but this did not stop the variety of purebreds that passed through the home which included many different breeds including a poodle and a schipperke.

Forget cats—I got too sick.

For a while the only animals I was allowed were stuffed ones—and due to the dust they were also taken away.

Eventually, I had a bird and then was allowed to have outdoor pets including a kitten who adopted me. However it didn’t stop be from making animal friends around the neighborhood–a tradition that still continues for me today.

Although things changed as I grew older, my career choice of working with marine mammals was made because I had to take allergies into consideration.

Fortunatey I overcame many of those in adulthood but haven’t work too much with livestock due to hay mold and dust allergies. (I can detect a bad load of hay from about 50 feet!)

Since the mid-1980s my home has always contained an animal and I work with a variety of critters today without a problem.

I share my story because it is not an unusual one. It is estimated that one in five people have some sort of animal allergy and this has sparked an industry for “hypo-allergenic” pets.

Cat breeds such as the sphinx or Devon rex and dogs such as the Chinese crested, Bedlington terrier, the Maltese, and several other dog breeds are considered to be non-allergenic pets but there really is no such thing according to some allergists.

The term is misconstrued to mean non-allergenic when it really means less allergenic.

Allergies are caused by reaction to the proteins in an animal’s saliva or dander and not the fur. Some animals drop less dander than others.

On a side note, when I was training big cats I did fine with leopards and tigers but sneezed around the lions.

Today, I don’t spend too much time with rabbits either because being in close proximity usually triggers a reaction.

Every pet is different and so is each individual’s body chemistry. So, before getting a pet it is important to spend some time around it to make sure you are not allergic to the pet.

In addition to using care with breed selection, there are actions people can take to reduce allergies.

Some people choose to get allergy shots while others just take a pill to reduce the symptoms.

Other actions are to place air filtration systems throughout the home, vacuum daily, and to make sure pet bedding and toileting areas are clean.

In addition, bathe and groom the pet regularly. I’ve found many people respond well to a product designed to reduce dander called Allerpet. I encourage you to try Allerpet D for dog allergies or Allerpet C for cat allegies.

You can also wash pet bedding with theAllerpet De-Mite Laundry Additive to reduce further issues.

Finally, if you or a family member suffers from allergies consider getting a non furry pet for the household such as a fish, hermit crab, or reptile. Birds can also trigger allergies so use care before any adoption.

Do you or someone you know have allergies to your pets? If so, let me know how you cope by leaving a comment below.

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  1. is there such thing as a hypoallergenic bird

  2. No, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic bird.

  3. The only way I have found to cope with my allergies is to keep my dog out side at all times, and not pet him. (cant even get near him any more with out my asthma acting up) My husband pets Fluffy for me, but he has to be very careful to wash his hand & boil his clothes afterwords or I’ll have a reaction.(the bad kind that messing with my breathing) Our dog is a very big husky but my mother-in-law’s dash hound is just as bad when it comes to allergies. Gave the cats to my mom, & gave the hamsters to a good home. (the only way to cope with them was to give them away tried every thing but nothing worked) My allergist says is not a good idea to have a cat, dog, or hamster if your severally allergic to them. A few years ago I would have argued, but after having breathing problems & almost passing out just from hugging some one who has held a cat or dog, I agree with the allergist. I used to have many pets, never had a real problem with them when I was a kid. But now that I’m in my 20’s I cant be around them. I’m on allergy shots so maybe this will help. If you ever find a truly hypoallergenic pet let me know. I’ve thought about getting hermit crabs but wasn’t sure how they would do for some one with mold allergies? I would like to get a bird but I dont know if that would be a good idea since I have bad dust & dust mite allergies.

  4. @Dina: Thanks for sharing your story. Sorry to hear about your allergies. Usually there has to be heavy diligence by using filtration, isolating animals to a certain room, and the use of topic allergin products to have some kind of success to live with allergies.

    Birds give off a lot of dust and would not be a good idea. Fish or a hermit crab might be an option but since you seem to be so allergic I would get around the animal prior to bringing it into you home.

    Let me know how you get along and what you find works. Good luck on the allergy shots.


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