Who doesn’t love a little ball of fluff romping around their home? Pets can make wonderful additions to any family, but if furry ones tend to mess with your health, your options can be limited.
Luckily, for some people suffering from allergies, there are a few choices that won’t keep them sneezing all day.
The Allergen All-Star Pet Awards recognized the top 11 animals that produce lower allergen levels, often found in pet dander, saliva and urine. The winners were compiled by a team of independent researchers and scientists with Environmental Health & Engineering, and the list is sponsored by the makers of the new Honeywell Doctor's Choice True HEPA Air Purifier.
"According to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, 15% to 30% of the U.S. population is allergic to cats or dogs. Exposure to pet allergens typically occurs in the home when fur, dander or dried saliva become airborne and are inhaled. Activities like jumping on a couch or running around a room can stir up these allergens and exacerbate the issue for families," said Dr. Ted Myatt, a senior scientist at Environmental Health & Engineering. "It's important to note that no breed of dogs or cats has been proven to be truly hypo-allergenic, but studies suggest that some may be more allergen-friendly than others. If you're looking for a pet that doesn't produce any allergens, try one with scaly skin, like an iguana."
(Note: If you are severely allergic, you may not be able to tolerate any breed. Consult your physician before adopting a pet.)
The Allergen All-Star Pet Award winners are:
This breed, which does not shed, sports a curly, woolly coat. These dogs are named after the mining town of Bedlington in North East England.
These short-haired cats from England shed little hair and have short fur.
These spaniels feature a water-repellant curly coat and have less dander.
This breed has a thin coat, making it easier to keep clean with baths.
This cat has no undercoat, which means less fur to shed. But even cats with little fur do shed a bit.
This Labrador Retriever/Standard or Miniature Poodle mix showed the lowest allergen levels in floor dust compared with homes with other dogs in a 2012 study.
Studies have shown that Labradors have lower allergen levels than other breeds.
This breed, with a long and silky coat and no undercoat is listed on the American Kennel Club's list of breeds suggested for allergy sufferers. Small dogs generally generate less allergens due to their size.
Although this breed does shed — their topcoat is wiry, and their undercoat is soft — owners have found it to be a good choice for allergy sufferers.
This terrier sports glossy, fine, straight, silky hair, but does not shed much. They do, however require frequent grooming, so make sure you give the responsibility to someone without allergies.
Animals with scaly skin, like iguanas or other lizards, don't produce allergens and are a truly hypoallergenic choice.