Have allergies? How to find the right pet

Story highlights

  • About 12 percent of Americans are allergic to cats and another 12 percent to dogs
  • There are no hypoallergenic dogs or cats
  • Some breeds that shed less may be less likely to trigger reactions

About 12% of Americans are allergic to cats and another 12% to dogs, according to the most recent data in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Yet 100 percent of folks in the U.S. are obsessed with cute, fluffy animals (based on our highly unscientific estimates), which puts allergic animal lovers in a terrible predicament. If you've got allergies, though, you don't necessarily have to shun (wo)man's best friend. Brush up on this info before you head to the pound or pet store.

Sorry, there are no hypoallergenic dogs or cats

    When the First Family got Bo, a Portuguese water dog, because President Obama's daughter Malia has allergies, reports claimed that it was the perfect "hypoallergenic dog" (meaning it wouldn't cause an allergic reaction). "But there is no such thing," says Jessica Vogelsang, DVM, a veterinarian in San Diego. "The allergic reaction is triggered by the proteins in their saliva and skin, which of course all dogs and cats have." A study in the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy confirmed this, finding no evidence th