Health

Pets for those with allergies

People with allergies must learn to make certain concessions. This typically includes avoiding those things, including animals, that can trigger an allergic reaction. Individuals who tear up or start to sneeze around animals may wonder if there are any  animals that won't trigger such reactions.

Despite information to the contrary, there really are no such things as hypoallergenic dogs and other pets. Certain breeders may advertise hypoallergenic pets, but it is impossible to produce an animal that is safe for all. That's because many animal allergies result from pet dander, which are the skin flakes from an animal's fur or hair, and not the fur of the pet. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, people with pet allergies have supersensitive immune systems that react to harmless proteins in the pet's dander. Some people are allergic to saliva from dogs and cats, or may have allergies to the sebum, or oils, in their skin.

Although there are no guarantees that pets won't trigger allergic reactions, certain animals could be a bit more friendly to those who are generally intolerant to animals.

Dogs

* Portuguese water dog: This breed is active and has a coat that requires frequent grooming. The grooming process helps to wash away dander and oils that may contribute to allergies.

* Kerry blue terrier: This fun-loving, active dog is thought to be low-allergy because it sheds less dander than some other breeds. It has a soft, wavy coat that fades from black to a blue-gray color as the dog ages.

* Standard poodle: This intelligent breed has a long hair growth cycle, which minimizes shedding. The dog lacks an undercoat, which also can alleviate extra shedding of dander-laden fur. Furthermore, poodles require professional grooming and frequent maintenance, which can keep allergen levels low.

* Bichon frise: Much like the poodle, the Bichon Frise is less likely to trigger allergies because its short, curled coat makes it difficult for dander to escape.

* Lhasa apso: This small breed does not shed its coat and requires frequent bathing to remain clean. The combination of these factors can reduce allergen potential.

* Poodle mixes: Many breeds are being bred with poodles to create a coat that is more conducive to allergy sufferers. Poodles mixed with cocker spaniels or labradors may shed less fur and dander.

Cats

* Sphynx cat: This animal is furless and could be better for allergy sufferers because it will not shed allergen-laden throughout the house. Still, it's important to note that many cat allergies are the result of the Fel D 1 glycoprotein, which is present in skin secretions and cat saliva. There's no certainty that the hairless Sphynx still won't trigger a reaction.

* Devon rex cat: This breed of cat has a short, downy fur coat. Because it has less fur than other felines, the Devon rex cat does not need to lick itself as frequently to groom its fur. This cuts down on saliva-based allergens being deposited onto the cat's fur.

* Balinese: Although this cat has long fur, it may be good for allergy sufferers because it produces less of the Fel D 1 protein than other cats.

* Siberian: Perhaps due to lower enzyme levels in their saliva, Siberian cats may produce minimal reactions among allergy suffers.