Does your kid tend to feel a little under the weather after being around other friends’ pets? If so, they likely have allergies caused by reactions to proteins found in the pet’s saliva, skin, or urine. Most of the time, allergies will come from the dander from cats and dogs, but that doesn’t mean your family can’t add a new four-legged member. In this article, we’ll provide a list of the best pets for kids with allergies.
What Causes Kids to Have Allergies to Pets?
It seems like every time you pick up your child from their friend’s house, they come home with sniffles. Kids, like adults, get allergies from their immune systems reacting to a foreign substance aka pet dander.
Their little bodies are trying their hardest to fight these unwanted invaders, causing them to feel a little sick.
If you’re unsure if your child has an allergy to pets, there are some signs to look out for. If you notice any of the symptoms, you should take them to a doctor to get an allergy test.
Symptoms of Allergies to Pets
Allergies to pets can be similar to those of a cold. When choosing a pet, it can be beneficial to see if your kid exhibits any of the following signs to determine if they trigger an allergic reaction or not.
Pet Allergy Symptoms Include:
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Itchy nose
- Postnasal drip
- Facial pressure
- Trouble sleeping
- Dark circles under eyes
Your child may also rub their eyes and nose repeatedly.
How to Minimize Dander and Reduce Allergen Risk
While some pets have less dander than others, just about every pet will have some. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid having a furry friend altogether. There are many ways you can minimize dander to reduce allergic reactions.
Vacuum it Up
If you have a pet that’s often running around on the carpet, vacuuming will help keep dander from floating around the house. Additonally, you’ll want to keep hardwood floors swept up regularly.
For an extra boost, giving your carpet a shampoo once a month will clean more deeply and further remove any allergens.
Find the Right Food
Foods can play a massive role in how much a pet sheds and produces dander. Bond Vet Animal Clinic recommends choosing a food that’s nutritionally based on the breed and age of the pet.
Some dog breeds or cat breeds have a specific food that allows them to have the healthiest coat possible. Do research on whichever pet you choose, and find out the precise nutrients they need to have healthy skin.
Get a HEPA Air Filter
When it comes to removing fur and dander from pets, an air purifier with a HEPA filter works best. You can clean the floors, pets, and enclosures, but there really is no way for you to clean the air on your own.
Because dander floats through the air and is then breathed in by you and your kids, purifying the air is one of the best methods used for reducing allergens.
Best Pets For Kids with Allergies
Small Hypoallergenic Dogs
Even though pet allergies are usually associated with cats and dogs, there are a variety of small hypoallergenic pups that your child can still enjoy playing with.
Best Small Dogs For Kids with Allergies
- Poodles – Poodles are cuddly, energetic, and make one of the best pets for kids with allergies. They’re not only great with children but tend to release less dander than other pups, making them a great option.
- Basenji – These adorable dogs are a short-haired breed that tends to have less odor and shedding than many other dogs. While they make great family dogs overall, it’s important to note that they can be a little impatient with young children.
- Affenpinschers – The Affenpinscher looks like a little teddy bear that your children will immediately want to cuddle up to. Not to worry though, despite their fuzzy fur, their shedding is very minimal.
For more small hypoallergenic dogs, check out this article for the full list.
- Dogs are typically high-energy and can play with your children.
- Children can learn responsibility by caring for a pet dog.
- Kids can interact and have fun with dogs.
- All dogs will produce some dander.
- Dogs can require more care than many other pets.
Unlike dogs, there are no truly hypoallergenic cats. Cats have a specific type of protein that’s the cause of allergic reactions in kids. However, there are cats that produce less of the protein and are good pets for kids with allergies.
Best Cats For Kids with Allergies
- Siberian – Just because the Siberian has long, fluffy fur doesn’t mean your little one can’t snuggle up to them. These kitties produce less of the Fel d1 protein that causes the allergen, reducing the chance your kid will experience an allergic reaction.
- Russian Blue – Although Russian Blue cats have a dense coat, their shedding is minimal. These cats have sweet personalities making them great cats for a kid with allergies.
- Sphynx – When you think hypoallergenic cat, you probably think of the nearly hairless cat known as the Sphynx. These cats do require some extra bath time compared to other cats, but this will also help with removing excess dander that could trigger an allergic reaction.
For more of the best cats for kids with allergies, check out this article.
- Cats are low-maintenance pets that require minimal care.
- Children can enjoy playing with cats to increase exercise in both the child and pet.
- You can give your child easy chores to learn the responsibility to care for the cat.
- While there are breeds of cats with less of the Fel d1 protein, there are no cats that are 100% hypoallergenic.
Birds, like dogs and cats, are not completely hypoallergenic and will have some dander. However, as long as you keep their cage clean and tidy, they’re gorgeous pets that won’t give your little ones a stuffy nose.
Animal lovers all over enjoy having a pet bird in their home. They’re entertaining little creatures that your child will love to grow up with and watch.
There are some birds that produce less of the allergen than others. Below are the top hypoallergenic bird breeds:
- Eclectus Parrots
- Pionus Parrots
- Quaker Parrots
- Birds are kept within an enclosure, keeping their allergens in a contained space.
- They require less upkeep than a pet dog or cat.
- Having a bird gives a child a sense of having wildlife indoors and can be a great learning tool.
- Birds can be noisy.
Rabbits aren’t hypoallergenic, but since they’re kept within an enclosure, it limits the amount of dander that will be around the house. Like with birds, keeping their cages nice and clean will allow your kids to enjoy their bunny without having allergy symptoms.
Keep in mind, rabbits do best when they have a companion in their cage. Luckily, having more than one rabbit will not increase the upkeep by much.
- Rabbits can be the best of both worlds. They’re a furry companion that’s also kept in an enclosure.
- Kids can enjoy playing with their pet bunny to keep them busy.
- Feeding and providing water for a rabbit allows your kid to learn responsibility in a fun, easy way.
- Kids may still experience an allergic reaction to a rabbit.
Want to avoid shedding and fur all-together? Many kids love growing up with pet reptiles and can learn a lot about nature by having them.
One factor to keep in mind is the lifespan of reptiles. While some have a shorter lifespan, there are some reptiles that have the potential to live well into your kid’s adulthood.
Below are the best reptiles to consider for kids:
- Bearded Dragon Lizards
- Leopard Geckos
- Crested Geckos
- Corn Snakes
- Russian Tortoise
- Painted Turtles
For more information on getting a reptile pet for your kid, check out this article.
- Reptiles are completely hypoallergenic, so they make one of the best pets for kids with allergies.
- Reptile pets are relatively easy to care for.
- Kids can feel closer to nature, making them more interested in the outdoors.
- Though your kid can have fun interracting with reptiles, they cannot get the same interaction they would with a dog or a cat.
Adults and children alike can thoroughly enjoy setting up a gorgeous aquarium and watching fish swim around their tank. One of the best pets for kids with allergies is fish because they don’t have dander that will cause a reaction.
Not only are they fun to watch, but they can be educational for your children. Having a pet fish allows your children to be responsible for another living being with minimal upkeep required.
- Fish have no fur, therefore have no dander to produce an allergic reaction
- Pet fish are some of the easiest pets to care for
- Kids can be entertained watching their pet fish swim around and choosing fun decor for their tank.
- Kids cannot directly interact with fish, so they may still want a pet they can physically play with.
Pet allergies don’t have to mean you have to avoid pets altogether. For little animal lovers, there are plenty of pets to choose from even if they have allergies. The best pets for kids with allergies will be those that produce less dander or are kept in an enclosure.
Allergies are typically associated with cats and dogs, but you can still choose a furry friend that’s more hypoallergenic than others, such as a Sphynx. Reptiles and fish can be great choices for parents who want a low-maintenance and hypoallergenic pet.