Very hairy pets pictured outside of a door, which extends inside of the home to feature eczema friendly pets including a lizard, snake, turtle, hamster, goldfish, and short haired dog

A Quick Guide to Pet Allergies and Eczema

We love pets, but we also have family members with allergies. That means we’ve had to make loving, and very hard, decisions about having a pet. In our case, we started out believing that we could never make it work. Along the way, we’ve had a lot of discussions about which pets are best for allergies with atopic dermatitis. Here is what worked, and what didn’t work for us.

Pet allergies and eczema

There are breeds of animals that some people report less of an allergic reaction to. There is a certain amount of science to it. In fact, the protein found in dander, saliva, and urine cause problems relating to allergies, asthma, and skin issues. The protein is in dead skin cells, also called dander.


In addition, as cats groom, the protein in saliva deposits on their hair and skin, which spreads the allergen into the house, and also onto hands that pet the cat.


Some claim that reptiles, such as snakes, lizards, and turtles are easier on allergies. Mostly, we’re still talking about secretions, so limit exposure to the animal’s body fluids.


Goldfish bowls and aquariums can also be great. Be sure to keep the water, and the surrounding area clean and mold free for your kiddo with allergies.


These little guys rarely leave their cage. We had some Siberian Miniature Hamsters for a few years, and the dander wasn’t too bad. However, they still require a lot of cleaning to keep allergens away.

Pets for eczema sufferers

There is not enough research to really prove that some breeds cause less of an allergic reaction. However, some people tend to do better around animals with short hair and tight curls because the dander doesn’t fly around as much. Also, size matters, and the smaller the dog or cat, the less chance for allergic reactions on your skin. For example, a very small dog in a large house will not create as much dander and problems for skin.

Living with cats

We even bought a Siberian Forest Cat and thought it might be safe, but our kiddo really sneezed and itched a lot when she held her...and who did the cat love the most? You guessed. Our sweet one with skin issues.

General guidelines

Outdoor pets

Having an outdoor pet can be an option for some families. Choose a breed that can live outdoors year round, and make sure that they get enough interaction from the rest of the family. Also, keep the animal bathed and the bedding area clean or it may exclude someone with skin allergies from enjoying the outdoor area.


Frequent bathing is necessary, even for outdoor pets. Otherwise, the dander will be all over the house, porch, or in the yard in general. Wiping down your pet with a clean cloth can also help.

General cleanliness

By reducing the time in contact with any pet that has dander, you can ensure that there will be less of an allergic reaction. So vacuum, dust, and clean frequently.

Coping with pet allergies

I loved pets, and enjoyed having a cat, especially on the farm. It was a lot of work for me, and I felt very guilty when my kiddo came to stay and had to take extra skin allergy meds. I gave her to a home where their child had slight allergies, and they report that she is happy and very loved by their child with asthma. It’s just not for a kiddo with atopic dermatitis. For my house, the question of which pets are better for allergies and atopic dermatitis is deer, squirrels, and rabbits – all in nature.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Do you have experience with TSW?