Having a pet when you are growing up is an important part of learning responsibility. Allowing our children to keep an animal companion can be a huge step in them learning unconditional love as well as learning about death and loss. Many children, however, are unable to keep more traditional pets because of their allergies. If your child has bad reactions to our furry friends, here are some things to consider when deciding on good pets for kids with allergies.
1. There is No Such Thing as a Hypoallergenic Dog or Cat
According to Health Magazine, all that talk about the wonders of cats and dogs who will not bother your kid’s allergies is just hype. They are quick to point out that because saliva and proteins can cause a reaction, not just hair, all felines and canines will, likely, elicit a reaction. However, they also note that some breeds, like Bichon Frise dogs and the Devon Rex cat, do not produce as frequent or strong reactions as others.
2. Most Hypoallergenic Pets are Scaled or Feathered
ThirdAge.com notes that reptilians are a great choice when looking for small pets for kids that will not send them into a fit of sneezing. Turtles, iguanas, and chameleons can all make interesting pets for a young child. Fish are also a great choice though their tanks require a lot of maintenance. ThirdAge recommends other less traditional pets. Even chickens can make great, allergy friendly pets. Apparently they are extremely affectionate and come in a wide range of colors. Both young birds and reptiles are known to be vectors for salmonella, however. Be sure to seek a specimen of the appropriate age from a reputable provider.
3. If You Can’t Decide on a Hypoallergenic Pet, Mitigate the Problem
The biggest problem with finding good pets for kids with allergies is that many of the best choices do not offer the same love and companionship as house cats and dogs. You cannot pick up your parrot fish and hug it. Well, you could but you would likely kill it. For those children who are willing to brave their allergies in order to have a dog or cat there are ways to mitigate the problem.
The Humane Society of the United States recommends keeping a space free from pets so children can get away when their allergies kick in. Their bedroom is a particularly good space to hold off limits to ensure they can have allergy free nights. The Humane Society further recommends bathing your pets weekly and using HEPA filters in air conditioning units and air filtration systems. These high efficiency particulate air filters do a great job snagging pet allergens out of the air to keep it fresh for your children.
Parents wondering about good pets for kids with allergies have a plethora of choices. Lizards, fish, and ferrets can all make good starter pets for kids with these issues. However, if your child has their heart set on a kitten, with a little care, you can make it happen for them in a healthy way.