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Which are the best pets for pet allergies?

At first glance, it can be quite disheartening if you or a family member have pet allergies and you really want a pet. But just because you’re allergic to some critters doesn’t mean you can’t have one. For one thing, certain breeds of cats or dogs are less likely to trigger a reaction. Here’s a look at some of the best pet choices for those with pet allergies

Cats and dogs

First things first: Contrary to popular wisdom, animal fur isn’t the main cause of allergies. The problem is that fur can collect dust, mold, pollen and other allergens, which, in turn, can cause allergic reactions. In addition, proteins in dander—dead skin flakes—saliva and urine also can trigger symptoms. Generally, cats tend to be more problematic, because they lick their coats with greater frequency than dogs.

Best in show

One dog breed that causes fewer reactions is the Xoloitzcuintli, because these pooches generally have hair only on their head, back and tail. Poodles are another good choice. They have hair, rather than fur, and thus have less dander.

Some curious cats

As for cats, although the Balinese are longer-haired, they produce less of the protein that causes allergic reactions than many other felines. There’s also the Sphinx, which has no fur, though their skin requires regular moisturizing.

Leave it to the little guys

Gerbils, guinea pigs and mice have hair and produce dander and urine. Still, they’re less likely to trigger allergies because they’re (hopefully) contained in their cages and, as a result, aren’t running all over the house. As for birds, they also produce dander, but parakeets and cockatiels make less than other feathered companions.

Tipping the scales

Fish and reptiles may not be the cuddliest critters, but they also lack hair or dander, making them very allergy-friendly. Of your fish choices, goldfish are probably the easiest pets to take care of, though you have to make sure tanks are cleaned regularly to prevent mold, which can trigger other allergies. If you want a snake, larger ones require live sustenance, something that may not be up your alley. Corn snakes, king snakes and milk snakes are popular choices.

No matter what type of pet you choose, it’s a good idea to dust and vacuum regularly. Those with pet allergies can also be helped by a smart air purifier, like Coway Airmega to reduce the amount of allergens in the air.