What ESA options do people with pet allergies have?


Having pet allergies especially when you love animals is a tough thing, it’s like a guilty pleasure but the guilt comes from an overactive immune system which ends in an agonizing experience. Pet allergies are not that uncommon and are majorly caused due to exposure to dead flakes, fur, and the saliva of pets. This makes living with a pet a really difficult and painful experience for people with pet allergies.

Symptoms that pet allergies cause is:

  • Nasal congestion 
  • Itchy nose 
  • Postnasal drip
  • Cough 
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Facial pain/ pressure
  • Frequent awakening
  • Swollen eyebags
  • Blue color skin under the eyes

In case you have asthma

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Tightness in the chest and pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing sound when exhaling

Skin symptoms


Coming in direct contact with an allergy-causing pet causes allergic dermatitis in some people. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Hives
  • Eczema
  • Itchy skin

The best course of action in such cases is usually to minimize contact with pets as much as you can.

Cause of pet allergy

The main culprit as mentioned above is your overactive immune system. Whenever our immune system comes into contact with allergens it releases histamines which cause reactions or symptoms that you notice during an allergic reaction.

This is also a reason why doctors prescribe an antihistamine to deal with most allergic reactions.

And since the immune system depends on genetics and other various factors, different people react differently to the same allergens.

Does that mean people with pet allergies cannot own an emotional support animal?


Everyone has the right to own an emotional support companion to go through their difficult days and cope with their emotional disabilities. Many doctors suggest getting an ESA in case any person shows symptoms of mental distress like depression, or anxiety or if they are going through a rough time. 

Since pet allergies are mainly associated with cats and dogs many people think it is impossible to have them as pets let alone as ESA. But there are still many other animals and even breeds of cats and dogs that you can adopt.

List of animals and breeds that cause minimal to no pet allergies 

Small mammals-

  • Rabbits
  • Hamsters
  • Guinea pigs
  • Rodents 

Although they are not entirely hypoallergenic they can be kept as a pet. This is because they are usually caged in one place which makes it easier to deal with their dander and fur. Even then people with pet allergies should be careful around these mammals.

Reptiles and amphibians-

  • Snakes
  • Frogs
  • Lizards
  • Turtles

All of these can be kept as pets because they are cold-blooded and do not cause dander like warm-blooded mammals. But you might need to wear gloves and masks while feeding them rodents and insects.


An aquarium gives an elegant look to your home and fish do not produce any allergens which mean they are a green flag. Also, fishes require much less maintenance than mammals which makes owning them a win-win situation.

In case you still want furry companions


Of course, all of the above-mentioned animals make good options as an ESA but they might not suit your taste and aesthetics. That’s why here are some of the options you can consider for cats and dogs.

Cat as an ESA

If you want a cat as your ESA then you’ll need to be very careful in handling them as they are the major contributors to pet allergies. This is because they have a protein called Fel d 1 which causes severe allergies in humans. But they are one of the most loved pet categories and many people even have ESA letter for cat to keep them by their side all the time.

Hence here are some breeds you can get as an ESA pet.

Hypoallergenic cats

  • Sphynx (no fur, no allergies)
  • Cornish Rex
  • Devon Rex
  • Oriental
  • Russian blue
  • Balinese
  • Siberian
  • Bengal
  • Javanese
  • Colorpoint shorthair

Dog as ESA

Just like cats, dogs are also one of the most popular pet companions in the world and are loved by almost everyone. Hence here are some of the alternatives that you can have to keep a dog as an ESA pet and get an emotional support dog letter.

Hypoallergenic dogs

  • Poodle
  • Maltese
  • Chinese crested
  • Bichon Frise
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Basenji
  • Afghan Hound
  • Havanese
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Tibetan Terrier
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Affenpinscher
  • Barbet
  • American Hairless Terrier
  • Xoloitzcuintli
  • Yorkshire Terrier

*Important notice*

Even breeds and animals labeled as hypoallergenic can cause allergies if not handled properly or if you have severe allergies. All of the above-mentioned breeds and animals are perfect as an ESA for people with mild to average allergies. And even then you must consult with an ESA doctor or your healthcare practitioner if you want to adopt a pet as an ESA.


You don’t need to fear getting an ESA pet just because of the pet allergies, because with proper handling and care everyone can enjoy the company of a pet. As for the ESA letter, in case you want to get an ESA letter online you can do so through platforms like My ESA Doctor.