Does your child want a pet but you’re worried it will aggravate their allergies or eczema condition?
There are some alternative pets for allergy sufferers that you might want to consider.
It’s hard to say no to your child having a pet, especially if they suffer from eczema or allergies. They go through so much pain and suffering and miss out on so much fun due to their condition that it’s hard to say no when they ask for a cat or a dog. What else can they have that won’t affect their allergy or eczema?
We have the answer! They may not all be cute and cuddly but they will still be able to form a friendship with their pet and learn to care for them without the risk of them flaring up their condition.
Below are some quick examples of people that are suitable for allergy suffers.
- Reptiles, snakes & Lizards
- Some Cats like Sphynx Cat
- Some dogs like Bichon Frise
Some of the animals above still have fur but are limited to their living environment so the fur and dander is limited to a small space rather than the whole house.
Why do animals cause allergies?
Non-shedders or Hypoallergenic pets don’t really exist. These are terms given to pets that don’t shed as much fur and skin as other animals.
All pets shed either fur or skin, so finding a pet that will not affect your eczema or allergies is hard to come by. There are however lots of aminals that shed far less fur and skin than other animals. These make great alternative pets for allergy sufferers.
People who suffer from allergies and eczema, pet dander can be a real issue. The pet dander contains a protein that can cause allergic reactions and eczema flare-ups. There is also a protein that is found in the urine and saliva of these animals as well. Every time your animal empties its bladder the protein from the urine can stick to their skin.
Even if your pet lives outside or you take it for walks, you are going to bring some of that allergen back inside in the form of tiny droplets of urine that touch the skin.
Your pet will then lick and clean itself and the dander will become embedded in their skin and when the skin dries and flakes these very small and light skin particles travel all around your home.
When you inhale these tiny particles of dander ( dead skin ) your immune system thinks it is under attack by germs. For people who suffer from allergies, the immune system misidentifies these harmless proteins as bad germs. It creates a specific antibody for the protein. Next time it sees the same protein, it reacts by telling the antibodies to stimulate mast cells. A large-scale and often debilitating reaction occurs and the result is one or more of these symptoms:
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Eczema flare-up
- Sneezing & Wheezing
- A runny nose
- Flu-like symptoms
How to stop pet dander
The best way to get rid of pet dander is to vacuum with a HEPA FILTER VACUUM and regularly groom your pet outside the house.
You can also limit the area your pet moves around your home freely.
There are also sprays that can reduce the amount of pet dander your animal produces. ADMS Anti-allergy spray sells a great spray that is highly recommended by many pet societies and users and is available from Amazon.
Ensure you have clean allergen-free air in the rooms you or your child spend the most time in. Since the average person spends 8-9 hours in their bedroom this seems the obvious choice to have an ALLERGY FREE zone. Buy an Air Purifiers or Fan with a built-in HEPA filter to ensure a clean fresh air supply in the bedroom.
We use one ourselves, we use the GermGuardian Air Purifiers with a true HEPA filter. We purchased ours from Amazon which was delivered free of charge direct to our home.
Washing your pet is not always a good idea. The more you bath your cat or dog the drier their skin will become and the more dead skin ( dander ) they will produce.
The best method is to groom your animal with a dander grooming spray and glove. This is like a dry bath that you give your pet and groom all the loose hair and skin off with the glove provided. Your animal will love the soft, comforting attention and it will also be helping to reduce your risk of allergy reactions. Try ALLERPET DANDER REMOVER from Amazon. It can be used on all types of animals that have fur.
Best alternative pets for allergy sufferers
If you just can’t talk your son or daughter out of having a cat or dog, at least buy one that gives off the least amount of dander. Some breeds of cats and dogs have less fur and shed less skin. They are known as hypoallergenic breeds.
Here’s a list of all the best Hypoallergenic Dog breeds
Here’s a list of all the best Hypoallergenic cat breeds
Now here’s the hard part, trying to convince them to have an alternative pet. One that’s not as cute and cuddly as a cat or dog and one you can’t teach to sit or beg. However, some of these animals are a much safer option for allergy and eczema sufferers.
The ultimate safe option for an allergy sufferer. They shed no skin that can be breathed in and they offer no risk at all. Unfortunately, they don’t do tricks and they can’t be taken out for walkies, but they do have some great advantages.
You can set up a lovely fish tank in their bedroom and fill it will brightly colored fish. Beautiful lighting can have a calming effect and the sound of running water will help them sleep. Once they get used to the sound, they will find it relaxing.
We have a large fish tank in our living room once and I loved just sitting and watching them swim and feed. Very peaceful!
Starter fish tanks are also cheap to buy, they take a little setting up but once it’s done they are very inexpensive to feed and take care of. We found this setup on Amazon, Aqueon Fish Aquarium Starter Kits LED NeoGlow.
Lizards, frog, and other reptiles
Reptiles don’t have fur and don’t have pet dander. They are quiet, peaceful creatures that your child can safely hold and talk too. Okay, they can’t be taken for walks, well not without some funny looks from other people.
They are low maintenance and easy to care for. The only downside is the heating and lighting in their vivarium, they need a warm environment to live in so the heating and running cost is slightly higher than an aquarium.
If you have children under 5 years then salmonella is a concern with very young children who might not wash their hands after playing with their pet reptile. Or they might lick their hands or itch their eczema. This could lead to infections.
After handling any reptile you should wash your hands and use anti-bacterial gel.
A simple Terrarium is easy to buy and setup. We found this one on Amazon with some great reviews and a star rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars, with over 451 reviews. The EXO Terra glass terrarium is one of the best we could find, perfect size for a child’s bedroom and a great starter kit to keep a small reptile.
Reptiles in our book are a winner for Children with eczema or allergies. They are easy to care for, cheap to set up, have little to no vet bills, never need taking for a walk and they are the COOL PET with children right now. They will be an easy sell instead of a cat or dog.
Plus when you go away on vacation they are easy to give to someone to care for.
Hamsters, Mice, and Gerbils
Unless you have a severe allergy or an open wound from scratching your eczema then Hamsters and Mice could be a good pet to have.
They are small pets and don’t give off too much pet dander. They are normally kept within their cage most of the day and confined to one room so you limit your exposure to the little dander they give off.
They don’t take too much looking after, they just need food, water, and exercise. You need to clean them out weekly and it might be best to do this outside.
Hamsters and mice are also easy to give to a friend or neighbor to take care of when you’re going on vacation.
Setup cost and feeding cost are also very low. No heating, or lighting to pay for. Just a simple cage with toys and an exercise wheel for them to play with is fine. Here is a cheap and simple set perfect for your first pet hamster, IRIS 2-Tier cage.
Guinea pigs need more room and would live in a hutch or much larger cage than the one above. This is perfect for a small hamster or mice.
Rabbits fit the bill as the perfect pet for kids. They don’t need taking for walks, they don’t take up too much space. Sounds perfect right?
Well, yes and no. Rabbits are full of soft, shedding fur. The good news is that the fur isn’t the main concern with allergies. As explained earlier it’s the shedding of dead skin that’s the biggest risk to allergy and eczema sufferers.
Rabbits don’t shed too much skin, they are also kept outdoors so the risk of coming into contact with pet dander is very small. You can still have a pet that your son or daughter will love and can cuddle from time to time but you can have a pet free home.
With rabbits, it’s also the bedding, sawdust, and hay that most people are allergic or sensitive too. So taking the rabbit out of the hutch and letting your child play with it without having a bad reaction is low risk in our minds.
Rabbits are cheap to keep, the main cost is the hutch where they will live. We found this one on Amazon which was a good size, quality and at a reasonable price – Trixie Rabbit hutch.
This hutch offers a safe and warm insize space whilst also letting the rabbit or guinea pig graze on the grassed area you place the hutch on.
Rabbit hutches come in all shapes and sizes, the rule of thumb is to buy the best htuch you can afford. If it’s going to live ourside, it needs to be strong and waterproof.
I know, don’t freak out!
Snakes actually make great pets believe it or not. They give off zero pet dander so you should have no reaction to them at all.
I know they shed their skin but they don’t lick their skin so they have no dangerous dead particles of skin flying around the room.
Snakes and other reptiles very rarely are the source of allergic reactions. People who are sensitive to allergens or have skin conditions that react badly to animal dander are recommended to consider a snake as a pet, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
There’s a misconception that snakes smell and are not nice to keep in a bedroom. This is not true!
Snakes don’t feed very often so they don’t produce many faeces. The only smell comes from any uneaten food or the very little faeces they produce. If you remove this daily from their tank you won’t get any nasty smells.
One question that is often asked is: Are snakes dangerous. No, not the sort of snakes that are kept and sold for pets. Some of the more common snakes kept as pets are listed below.
- Corn Snake
- California Kingsnake
- Rosy Boa
- Gopher Snake
- Ball Python
Snakes are quiet and take up very little room so they make the ideal pet for a Child’s bedroom. The initial setup cost can be high and the feeding of live crickets and for bigger snakes, dead mice can put some people off.
But don’t let it, they only feed once a week!
How do you know when a snake needs feeding? They become restless as they go in search of food. We found this amazing starter kit that has everything you’ll need to home your new pet snake. Hagen Exo Terra snake tank.
The size of tank you buy for your snake will depend on the size that the snake will grow into. Most animals kept in captivity will grow to the size of the space they live in. There are many snake varieties to choose from and most pet snakes don’t grow bigger than 2 foot in length.
Most people think pet allergies are caused by fur but feathers and bird skin can still cause issues especially if you suffer from asthma. They can also have dust mites living within their feathers and skin.
Read our article on Allergy and asthma friendly soft toys for babies
However, some birds are classed as hypoallergenic birds. These are birds that shed fewer feathers and less dander. Birds like Parakeets (or Budgies) make perfect pets for children with asthma, allergies, and eczema.
Birds are easy to care for and are inexpensive to feed and buy. The initial cost of the cage is the only major outlay. After that, it’s just bird seed and treats for them.
Children love talking to birds and some will even learn to talk back to you, however, not all birds learn to talk.
Please make sure you buy a cage that’s the right size for your bird. The more room they have the more enjoyment you’ll get out of your pet and the healthier the bird will be. We hate to see big birds like parrots and parakeets in small cages.
This cage is a good size for budgies and small parakeets Top Parrot Large Birdcage from Amazon.
We highly recommend getting allergy tested for pets before you make any purchase just to make sure it’s actually pets you or your child is allergic to and find out how bad the allergy is.
You can get dog dander allergy tested online CLICK HERE.
If you have a mild allergy to pets and pet dander then any of the pets covered above will be fine. However, if you have a severe allergy to pets then we would suggest FISH ONLY and even much to the disappointment of the children NO PETS!
We hope you find the right per that doesn’t cause you allergies or cause you eczema to flare-up. In our home, we decided to have fish. We took the safe option and we love them!