Are Ferrets Hypoallergenic Pets?
As you strive to become a proud pet parent, you may come across expensive hypoallergenic pets. However, despite your great love for pets, you need to understand that almost all hairy animals cause different types of allergies.
In reality, the only approved, hypoallergenic pets are those with scaly skin like lizards and iguanas. While most people perceive animal fur as the main cause of allergies, the real culprit is a protein found in urine and saliva.
When it gets into contact with dander or the dry flakes on your pet’s skin, it easily spread into the air or different parts of your house during shedding.
Therefore, when you hear a vendor talking about hypoallergenic pets, probably the animal sheds less hair and has fewer chances of spreading allergens. This makes it a better alternative to those who cannot live without pets.
Are Ferrets Hypoallergenic?
Compared to dogs and cats, ferrets can make a better alternative to those who suffer from allergies. There is no proven evidence to the claim, but ferret owners prone to allergies report less reaction.
The main reason behind this is that ferrets produce less saliva and shed minimal dander than other animals. So, a kiss or a hug from your fuzzy friend would not expose you much to allergens. While other animals shed a huge amount of hair throughout the year, ferrets only manage to lose minimal fur.
It is important to note that ferrets have two different layers of fur. The first one is the undercoat fur which normally comes in white or cream. This layer keeps the ferret warm during the winter season.
Then, there is the topcoat fur, also referred to as the guard hairs. This covering gives a ferret its distinctive color and helps to ward off dirt and water. During spring and fall, every year, ferrets shed the topcoat fur.
Pet owners susceptible to allergies, they may notice more reactions now. However, the exposure is much better compared to other animals that shed hair all the time.
Based on Macfarlane and Nancy Harvey’s analysis, ferrets shedding depends on the amount of light exposed to their skin. On short days, the specimen shed an extensive amount of hair to allow growth to new fur. During longer days, the scientists noticed less shedding and coarse coat with a greasy secretion.
It is important to note that if you keep several ferrets, you may struggle more with allergies. This is because each of them has to undergo the shedding process at a different rate. Sometimes, it takes a multitude of weeks for everything to come to an end.
Surprisingly, some people only develop allergies when in contact with ferret’s saliva or dander, but suffer terribly after feces and urine exposure. Still, no theory explains the reasons behind this.
Nevertheless, if you are a victim, try to keep off from the litter box. If possible, get someone to clean and empty it for you. Also, avoid staying for longer periods in a room with a ferret’s litter pan and cage.
What to do If You Are Allergic to Ferret?
Some people would rather tolerate the allergies but still keep their much-loved ferrets. These are simple guidelines to help you manage your allergies better.
– Regularly Clean the Cage and Litter Box
Most ferrets will not touch their food if it comes close to a filthy litter box. Therefore, ensure that you empty it at least once a day.
Then, every week give it an entire makeover by washing the beds, blankets, hammocks, feeding pans, and everything else. This helps in reducing the smell of fecal matter and keeping your house free from allergens.
– Keep Ferrets in the Cages Most of the Time
As much as you enjoy bonding with your ferret pet, letting them out of the cage may expose you more to allergies. This is worse during the shedding season, as they may end up dropping dander and hair all over the house.
Note that ferrets have a musky natural smell which may trigger allergies to some people. While bathing them minimizes the smell, overdoing it may flake their skin, resulting in more dander and allergic issues. Additionally, please keep them in a different room or space to reduce exposure.
– Adopt not More than Two
For a ferret lover, it can get tempting to keep a multitude of them. No matter how amusing these animals can get, it is not practical to keep several of them, especially if they struggle with allergies.
Bear in mind that the more you adopt, you increase the level of dander and fur in your house.
How to Minimize Allergies by Cleaning Your Home?
Your little friend may not shed as much hair, but they urinate and pass stool several times a day. For that reason, you have to maintain a strict cleaning regime to keep your house fresh smelling.
Since dander and fur scatter on almost all surfaces, you have to regularly dust, sweep and scrub the cages and entire house. Do not forget to clean your curtains and other furnishings.
Sometimes, dander may stick onto the walls where your ferret touches. So, ensure that you scrub your walls up to the knees level every month.
Besides, always wash your hands after you empty the litter box, feed the ferrets, or play with them.
If you immediately start sneezing or coughing after touching them, wash thoroughly with soap and water. After cuddling, change into a new set of clothes and wash the dirty ones immediately.
Another effective measure is to buy an air purifier for your home. This helps eliminate hair, pollen, dander, and any other irritants that may hinder inhalation of uncontaminated air.
Ferrets are some of the few fluffy animals that produce fewer allergen in the air. Thus, they make an ideal choice for individuals who struggle with exposure to animal fur, dander, urine, and feces.
Even if allergic exposure with ferrets is manageable, one must maintain a high level of cleanliness to minimize it.
If you happen to develop intense reactions, book an appointment with an allergist soonest. Sometimes, all you need is an allergy shot or over-the-counter medications to soothe your symptoms.