Hamsters are among the sweetest little pets to keep at home. And many people claim that they aren’t problematic for allergic folks.
If you’re thinking about getting a hamster, you might be wondering, are hamsters hypoallergenic? The answer is no. Hamsters could be hypoallergenic.
They don’t shed as much as Maine Coons or Malamutes, but they might still trigger an allergic reaction.
Can Hamsters Cause Allergies?
Any animal with hair, fur, or feathers can trigger an allergic reaction, and hamsters are no exception. Interestingly, even pets with no hair, like Sphinx cats, can be problematic to some people.
Several biological and chemical substances can cause allergies. Pollen, dead cells, dander, saliva, or urine.
Pets, like cats and dogs, shed allergenic materials on any surface they use or touch. They usually run around the house, sleep everywhere, and their friends play with them at all times.
That’s why furry animals often trigger rashes, teary eyes, sneezing, or lung irritation.
Hamsters, unlike dogs or cats, typically stay in their cages. It also helps that their enclosures are in a specific room.
Dander coming off the hamsters isn’t all over the place as a result of this limited mobility. At the same time, very few people are irritated by the hamsters’ bedding or excrement.
This is why many people believe that hamsters are hypoallergenic animals, even though it’s not a fact.
Are Hairless Hamsters Hypoallergenic?
It’s hard to imagine hamsters without their trademark thick fur! Hairless hamsters, or Syrian Hamsters, were first seen in the late 1980s.
They were spotted in China first but soon spread to various parts of the world. The absence of hair and shedding makes them good options as hypoallergenic pets.
It’s worth noting here that hairless hamsters aren’t completely devoid of allergens. They still give off dander and various potentially irritating agents.
Some people may be allergic to hamster saliva, particularly if they are allergic to other animals. Hamsters’ bedding poses similar dangers for allergic folks.
Getting an unfavorable reaction after coming into contact with a hamster is rather rare. The odds are even lower with a Syrian Hamster.
How to Tell if Your Hamster Is Making You Allergic?
Allergy is a tricky condition. It’s hard to diagnose this immune response, and even harder to find out what’s causing it.
Running tests can show that a person is hypersensitive to certain environmental factors. But careful observation is often key to pinpointing the triggers.
Seven main symptoms reveal an allergic reaction.
- Watery or irritated eyes
- A sudden itch or skin rash
- A series of unstoppable sneezes
- Dry coughing that could last for a day or more
- Runny nose, with some itching in the nostrils
- Getting queasy and even vomiting
- Chest heaviness and asthma
Even the slightest allergy symptom warrants a visit to the doctor.
Some cases get better by taking a pill when needed, and some need consistent therapy. Others have life-threatening allergic conditions.
Most allergies appear in young children, but more and more adults are showing similar autoimmune issues later in life.
The good news is that various childhood allergies clear up as they become older.
What Exactly Is Causing an Allergy?
Hamsters are cute little pets, and people can hardly believe they could be problematic. Unfortunately, many pets carry allergens that can give our immune systems a hard time.
Four causes of allergy are associated with pets in general and hamsters in particular.
It’s the most common cause and driver of a person’s allergy.
Humans often wash away their dead skin cells, change their clothes, and routinely air their bed sheets. That’s why there aren’t too many human dead cells lying about, and they don’t give others any allergies.
Animals, on the other hand, don’t have the same hygiene or grooming habits. Their dead skin cells cling to their hair.
The clinging dead skin pieces turn into minute particles, or dander, after a while. When the animal scratches, moves, touches an object, or plays with its friends, some dander falls off.
Dander is so tiny that it’s carried in the air along with pollen and dust. An allergic person who inhales this cocktail will frequently experience a slew of allergic symptoms.
Most people think that it’s only the pet’s hair that’s making them cough or sneeze. But there are other important causes, like the animal’s saliva.
Getting a hello kiss or a gratitude lick from your pet is always full of love. But also a few allergens.
That’s why it’s best to keep a distance from the pet, keep its head away from yours, and wash your hands frequently.
The smell of urine is the culprit here. Some people’s immune systems are triggered by the strong odor.
Dogs and cats could be a bigger cause of that since they spread their bodily fluids in various places. Territoriality and having potty accidents are basic traits in these animals.
Hamsters aren’t as problematic as bigger pets, as they typically stay in their little cages, and do their business there.
The hamster’s bedding has discarded hair, urine, decaying food, and fecal matter. All these substances could give anyone a flare-up.
Cleaning the cage is often difficult, even while wearing a mask and gloves. That’s why it’s often recommended to ask someone else to do this task.
How to Decrease the Allergic Effects of Hamsters?
If you can’t avoid being around a hamster, there are some effective ways to minimize its irritating effect.
This is provided that the hamster only causes a mild reaction. If being near a hamster worsens your asthma, gives you a rash, or makes you sneeze incessantly, then, you shouldn’t come into contact with this pet at all.
Otherwise, you can use the following tips to make your surroundings more comfortable, even with a hamster in the house.
- Place an air purifier in the house, if you can.
- Clean your hamster’s cage regularly. Wear a mask and gloves while doing so.
- Groom your hamster by combing its hair, every other day or so.
- It’s better to ask a family member or a friend to help you with cleaning and grooming.
- Minimize handling your hamster and carrying him around.
- Wash your hands whenever you play with your hamster.
- Try to keep your hamster in one room in the house.
- Clean the hamster’s room thoroughly, including carpets, curtains, and furniture.
- Choose a type of bedding that doesn’t complicate your symptoms.
- Replace the bedding before it becomes completely soiled.
In addition to all of the above, we can’t stress more the importance of checking in with your doctor for advice on your allergy.
Some people have a mild case of allergy to hamsters, while others might be in danger. Only a specialized physician can determine the seriousness of a person’s condition.
Effective medications can decrease and alleviate allergy symptoms. Thus, you can spend a bit more time around your pet without suffering from annoying rashes or sneezing.
Alternatively, you might opt for another pet. A docile reptile in a terrarium or an aquarium full of colored little fish could be good options.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.