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Allergic to cats and dogs, but still want a pet? Consider getting a pig

For people who suffer from allergies to cats and dogs, there are alternative pets, such as pigs, that won't aggravate your symptoms.

Well, let's take a step backward, actually. People with pet dander allergies can coexist with their cats and dogs as long as they're using the proper products to treat their symptoms. But for those of you interested in a different kind of pet, a pig is a hypoallergenic companion you can consider bringing into your home – so long as your city permits it.

Coral Springs, Florida, resident Heather Ray purchased her 8-year-old son, Kason, a pig to help him cope with the emotional problems he has as a result of Down's syndrome, reports ABC News. Twinkie the pig, who the Rays refer to as a therapy pet, seemed like the perfect solution, since Kason's father and older brother are both allergic to cats and dogs.

But unlike several of the surrounding cities which allow people to keep pigs as pets, Coral Springs prohibits it without documentation proving that it's a medical necessity, claiming that pigs are considered livestock. Ray wrote to the city, asking for exemption based on her son's medical condition, but her request was initially denied.

Ray told the source about the significant impact Twinkie, who has been with the family for several weeks, has had on her son.

"You know, [Kason] does get mad. He throws fits. He doesn’t like things, and Twinkie has a very calming effect on him. It mellows him out, it calms him down," she said. "It’s so good for him. He loves her so much."

Fortunately for the family, the city of Coral Springs has asked Ray for more information, offering to re-consider her request if she can provide specific documentation prescribing the pig as an emotional support animal.

If you don't want to resort to getting a pig, there are other actions you can take to ensure that you're more comfortable around cats and dogs. By using allergy bedding, special vacuum cleaners, allergy-friendly cleaning products and a whole house air purifier, you can significantly reduce your symptoms. It's also a good idea to brush your animal outside to keep pet dander out of the house.

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