Always wanted a furry friend of your own, but your allergies keep getting in the way? Never fear, there are many ways in which you can get around your allergies and have animals in your life.
Living with allergies is never easy, especially if you have a soft spot for animals. There are many ways you can care for animals from a distance, and there are also other little critters that are in need of loving homes that are completely safe for those of us with allergies.
Happily, some breeds of dogs and cats are considered hypoallergenic. While these breeds are safe for people with mild allergies to animals, no furry friend is 100% allergen free.
There are also some other adorable creatures who you can bring home without triggering your allergies. Keep reading to find out more!
How to know if you are allergic to animals
Allergies to dogs and cats are extremely common, and allergy symptoms include sneezing, rashes, wheezing or shortness of breath, a runny nose and itchy or watery eyes.
If you are in the market for an animal companion and you experience some or all of these symptoms when in contact with animals, the first recommendation we have is to visit an allergist.
While fur allergies are common, people can also be allergic to animal saliva, urine and dander (tiny particles found on the skin of animals who shed), so it is important to know what it is you are sensitive to before visiting one of our shelters to find a new pet.
An allergist can do a simple skin pin-prick test to determine what it is about animals you are allergic to, which can help you out in the long run when picking a pet!
Hypoallergenic Dogs & Cats
If your allergies are not severe, there are many breeds of dogs you can cuddle without suffering an allergic reaction. These dogs hardly shed or drool, making them potentially perfect pups for those with milder allergies.
- Soft-coated wheaten terrier
- Bichon frise
If you are looking for a feline friend, there are also cat breeds that are considered hypoallergenic, including:
- Russian Blue
- Devon & Cornish Rex
While these breeds of dogs and cats are all brilliant, they can be harder to come across than some other breeds if you are looking to adopt, not shop. But they do come into our care from time to time! Keep an eye on our adoption page, as well as our social media channels, to stay up to date on the beautiful animals we’re caring for who are looking for forever homes.
Please do your research on the breeder and their breeding facility so that you buy your pet from someone who maintains high animal welfare standards.
What to do if you are allergic to your pet
Have you only found out that you (or someone else in your household) has an allergy after you welcomed a new furry friend into your home? This is also very common. There are some simple things you can do to help make your home a more comfortable place for those with allergies.
Unsurprisingly, it helps to keep your home as clean as you can. Regular dusting and vacuuming helps minimise the concentration of allergens and rid rooms of shed fur.
It is also a good idea to keep your pet out of bedrooms and rooms with carpet or upholstered furniture, as the allergens can linger in those fibers.
Lastly, keeping your pet well groomed is a must. Make a routine where your pet is regularly brushed, washed and trimmed, to reduce the chance of their fur shedding throughout your home. The bonus is that regular grooming is also good for your pet!
Think outside the box
If you know your allergies will make life a bit miserable if you’re sharing your home with regular four-legged furry friends like dogs and cats, as well as smaller animals like rabbits and guinea pigs, consider living life on the wild side. Depending on the space you live in and your lifestyle, you could look into turtles, frogs, fish, birds and reptiles as potential new family members.
You can see what unique animals we have available for adoption here. While they may not be cuddly like dogs and cats, they are fascinating creatures – and all of them need loving homes.
Before adopting one of these more exotic pets, make sure you research what they need and how to care for them. A great place to start is RSPCA’s knowledgebase, which has information on how to care for all kinds of animals. If you’re considering a native animal as a pet, you will probably need a permit. You can find more information about this here.
Care for animals in different ways
Want to help animals but not able to own any right now? Don’t worry, there are still plenty of ways animal lovers like you can help animals. For anyone with severe allergies, there are options that have no direct contact with animals at all.
The RSPCA is always looking for volunteers, and there are opportunities to help in our op-shops, at events, in our offices to help with administration, media and photography, or perhaps you could volunteer your gardening or landscaping expertise to help improve our animal shelter environment. It is entirely possible for you to contribute to our work for animals without compromising your health!
Are you an animal lover with a little spare time and a lot of love to give? Make a difference and apply to volunteer at one of our shelters, offices or op shops. Who knows, you might find yourself bonding with a special animal who ends up coming home with you ☺