Exotic Pets

Allergic to Dogs? Reptiles to Consider

Photo by Cadavra

Do you want an interactive pet but are allergic to dogs? You’re not alone. Lots of people who would love to have a dog suffer from pet allergies.

Fortunately, there are other options.

It turns out that several types of reptiles can have traits similar to canines, at least when it comes to the things people love about them. And bonus, it’s pretty rare to be allergic to a reptile. Here’s a list of reptiles to consider if you’re allergic to dogs but want an animal that acts like one…

Redfoot tortoise

Redfoot tortoise eating plants

Photos courtesy of Wickens Wicked Reptiles

Okay, you probably haven’t considered tortoises to be similar to dogs, but they do have a behavior that’s quite similar—they run for food. You know the way that when you put food in a dish, a dog will dash to the bowl and gobble it up immediately? Yup, tortoises can be kind of like that.

Redfoot tortoises love to eat, and watching them dash for the food bowl can be a lot of fun. You can even feed them a treat by hand. In addition to food behaviors, tortoises love to be petted and scratched on their backs.

Emerald tree skink

Two emerald tree skinks on a branch

You won’t find a lot of reptiles that enjoy socializing or interacting with you, but emerald tree skinks are one of the exceptions.

Some skink keepers report that these lizards will run toward them when opening their enclosure, and if the skinks have been socialized well, they may enjoy crawling on you and being handled.

Burmese python

Burmese python playing on floor

I know what you’re thinking…a snake? How is a snake like a dog? At least the tortoises have four legs. Hear me out.

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Similar to emerald tree skinks, Burmese pythons that have been socialized at a young age can be quite handleable. Many snake keepers of this species find that they are able to handle their Burmese python without causing stress to the snake.

One of the big perks of having a pet dog is that they can be interacted with. That is something you may be able to look forward to with one of these big snakes.

Black & white tegus

Black and white tegu basking

Tegus are one of the lizards that are most known for behaving like dogs. If you want a reptile that is doglike, tegus are one of the best bets, as long as you know what you are getting into with their particular quirks.

Many tegus have demonstrated that they can be trained to come when called, they interact with people and play with balls, and some even enjoy being petted like a dog. In fact, because tegus are about the size of a small dog, some owners also put a collar and leash on their tegus and take them for walks.

Of course, you’ll want to see if a collar and leash works with your particular tegu’s temperament.

Rock iguanas

Rock iguana in outdoor enclosure

Various types of iguanas, including rock iguanas, share many of the same dog-like features as tegus. Like tegus, rock iguanas are about the size of a small to medium dog.

Iguanas have been known to interact quite frequently and voluntarily with their keepers, they’ll play, and they also come when called.

If you’re considering one of the animals on this list, keep in mind that each individual animal will have its own particular behaviors. Two individuals of the same species may not act in the same ways.

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Check out The Tye-Dyed Iguana care sheets to learn more about care requirements for the reptiles you’re interested in.

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