Pet allergies can be a crushing reality for animal lovers to accept.
The urge to care for an animal no matter what can lead to many searches for the perfect hypoallergenic breed.
So we asked PEOPLE Pet Vet Dr. Evan Antin, “Does a completely hypoallergenic dog or cat breed exist?”
The unfortunate answer is no.
“No cats or dogs are 100% hypoallergenic,” Dr. Antin says. “When you ‘hypo’ it means less, not necessarily none.”
But it’s not all bad luck. While there is no one dog or cat breed that won’t irritate any allergy sufferer, there are several breeds that might be a better fit for those who react to furry pets.
“However, certain breeds have very little shedding, or they grow hair instead of fur, and they’re hypoallergenic, meaning they are below the allergy threshold that other pets might be,” Dr. Antin adds.
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For allergy sufferers looking to find a friend to call their own without worries about aggravating their symptoms, Dr. Antin recommends exploring other domesticated animals, like rabbits and guinea pigs. These sweet, fluffy creatures have different proteins in their fur than dogs and cats, whose proteins (found in their fur, hair and skin cells) are what cause allergic reactions in those with cat and dog allergies.
If you are an allergy sufferer who thinks they can manage their symptoms with a cat or dog, Dr. Antin recommends fostering a pet first so you can understand your body’s tolerance to sharing your home with an animal.
To learn more tips on adopting a pet when you have allergies and how to manage your furry friend’s allergies, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE on stands Friday.