When most people think of pets, cats and dogs are likely the first to come to mind. But without a lifetime supply of antihistamines, they just aren’t an option for those with certain animal allergies. Thankfully, someone hoping to find a new hairless friend can look no further than their local pet store for an exciting new addition to the family. Here are five awesome allergy-friendly picks.
This is a particularly exciting choice for families with kids, as they’re fun to watch and easy to keep safe from little ones. Saltwater fish vary greatly in size, temperament, and space requirements, so it’s important to inquire at the pet store about specific maintenance. One relatively easier option is the Ocellaris Clownfish (think Nemo), which does well in pairs and requires little space. Want to upsize? Consider a larger tank and add a Pacific Blue Tang (Nemo’s buddy Dory). Kids would love showing off their real-life Finding Nemo aquarium right in their living room!
While not entirely hairless, these adorable little critters are more prickly than fuzzy. Human allergies to hedgehogs are possible, but they’re very rare. Owners who have the time and desire to socialize hedgehogs have the best experiences with them, as they tend to require lots of love and attention to become comfortable but certainly reciprocate with cuddles and interaction.
Another one that’s great for families, the leopard gecko is a docile breed that enjoys being handled. While the most common are yellowish with brown or black spots, some also sport fully black, albino, orange, or even purple skin, which despite its appearance, is actually quite soft. Children and adults alike love this hypoallergenic pet store mainstay.
Potentially one of the easiest pets on the market, hermit crabs are fascinating creatures that live up to 10 years! When properly cared for, they can grow up to six inches long. Sure, they’re slow moving and they don’t say much, but these land crustaceans can be gently handled and given colorful “homes” to live in; they change shells as they molt and grow, so giving them pretty, pearly, or even painted empty shells to move into makes it fun for owners, too.
If furry isn’t an option, why not try feathery? Exotic birds make some of the most beautiful pets, and while they all require research and practice, there are birds for all different levels of experience. Want a talker? Check out the chatty Eclectus parrot. Prefer a quieter bird that’s striking in color? Budgies are great for beginners and even apartment living. Talking to an exotic bird specialist at a pet store can help potential owners find the breed that’s best for them.
The most common allergies might prevent some people from owning cats or dogs, but there’s no need to go completely pet-free. Hairless options provide the satisfaction and entertainment of animal companionship without the suffering.