Maryland Pet

Alternative Pet Options for Those Allergic to Dogs & Cats

Young male and female 4 weeks old ferrets of various colors laying and posing on background

It’s no surprise that two of the most common household pets are cats and dogs. It’s almost impossible to venture onto any social media platform like Facebook or Reddit without seeing people sharing cute pictures and videos of their family pet. There are even large YouTube channels with millions of fans that follow the lives of particular pet dogs and cats.  But, they aren’t always the two best options for everyone. A few potential reasons such as allergies, space requirements, the daily care that they need, or rental restrictions may steer many people away. If you can’t have a cat or dog for a pet, or if you already do and are looking for something different for your home, here a six alternative pet options to consider. 


If you are looking for a pet with fur other than a cat or a dog, a ferret may be the perfect choice. Ferrets have some traits that are very similar dogs and cats that are attractive to many prospective pet owners.  For example, if given plenty of attention and affection a ferret will form a close bond with its owner, especially if your work with them while they are young. They are also both very inquisitive and intelligent, so pet ferrets have no problem finding ways to make you laugh with their shenanigans. Make sure to have your camera ready! They are also great pets to keep in pairs too, so if you are looking to bring more than one animal into your house they make a great choice. Ferrets generally love having other ferrets to around to play with. 


If you want something with some fur that’s cute and cuddly but not as ornery as a ferret you can look into getting a pet rabbit. However, like ferrets they are great to keep in pairs. There are some interesting facts that you might not know about rabbits which make them great pets. For example, rabbits can be housebroken and trained to use a litter box just like cats. You can also let them freely roam around your house like a cat or dog as long as you ensure it’s safe for them.  One important fact with keeping rabbits as pets to keep in mind is that they are fairly frail and aren’t suitable pets for young children. They are great for teens and adults though. 


Often seen as an unwanted nuisance, rats make excellent pets. You of course want to purchase your pet rat from a reliable and ethical shop and not just try and trap a wild one. Wild rats are not safe to keep for a variety reasons, especially the fact they can carry many different diseases that are harmful to humans.  Pet rats are very sociable creatures and unlike many other small animals, they actually want to be around you. They are much more similar to dogs than cats in this regard. They are actually quite smart too. Rats can learn many of the same basic tricks you can teach a dog like giving you a paw and spinning around in a circle. This is why they are often used in psychological research.  Last but not least, one of their major selling points is that they are extremely low maintenance for all the joy they will bring. 


Moving away from pets with fur, geckos are becoming a much more commonplace household pet. That is because they are one of the lower cost reptile pets that are also on the smaller side. Most geckos that are OK to keep as a pet are also fine with light handling, which makes them a bit more fun than owning a pet that you can only look at through a tank.  The most popular choice currently is the very adorable leopard gecko. But, you don’t have to limit yourself to one particular species. These geckos are all beginner friendly options and you’re sure to enjoy having one in your home.  Just remember that like rabbit, they are best for teens and adults as they aren’t the most stout creatures. 


Another reptile that makes this list is often misrepresented. Snakes are extremely popular alternative pets.  While it’s true that there are very dangerous snakes that don’t make good pets like most venomous species as well certain constrictor species that grow so large they become a threat, many species are not dangerous to humans.  Some of the popular snake species that are safe to keep as pets are ball pythons, corn snakes and milk snakes. But, there are many more amazingly beautiful creatures to choose from, so don’t feel limited to only these three. 

Many Types of Fish

While not nearly as hands on as mammalian or many reptile pets, fish don’t have to be boring. There are many more types of fish you can keep as pets aside from your run of the mill goldfish. For example, Indian glass fish are an almost translucent species that is sure to garner a second look from your friends. And, on the opposite side of the spectrum are the extravagantly colored checkerboard discus fish that have amazing designs not often seen on freshwater fish.  If you want something that is a little more complex to take care of you can always opt for setting up and maintaining a saltwater tank, opening up a whole different world of fish pets to explore. 


There are so many wonderful animals aside from just cats and dogs that make fantastic pets. No matter if you want one that will come sit on your lap or something more exotic to admire from outside of their tank, you are sure to find something that perfectly fits your desires.  Regardless of what alternative pet you choose, always keep in mind that they rely on your for their care. Before you buy one make sure to do plenty of research and make sure you have the means to care for them properly. When you do so you will be rewarded with many years of joy. 

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