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Can Dogs Be Allergic to Cats? When Woof Meet Meow!

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Author: Jeanette Hampton

Dogs face many allergic issues but one of the most intriguing ones is allergy to cats, so “Can Dogs Be Allergic to Cats?” Pet allergies are a common health issue that can affect both animals and humans.

While this is less common dogs can be allergic to cats. In this blog, we are going to explore this allergic area, so get your tissues and be ready, here we begin…

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Cats

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Cats?

Allergies are the reactions to an environment that the bodies don’t like. In allergies, their immune systems overreact to something harmless. Some humans can be allergic to cats too.

The proteins in cat dander, skin flakes, saliva, and urine can cause allergic reactions in some dogs. Imagine your dog’s immune system as a superhero, but sometimes it mistakes a friend (like cat proteins) for a foe[1].

These reactions are itchy skin, sneezing, breathing difficulties, skin infections, and other severe issues. The main factors that influence a dog that is allergic to cats are genes and environment.

Also, a dog that has never been around cats can be allergic to cats if exposed suddenly. Here are some common allergens for dogs:

  • Pollen: Tiny particles from plants.
  • Dust Mites: Microscopic bugs often found in homes.
  • Mould Spores: Tiny seeds of mould that float in the air.
  • Foods: Certain ingredients in their meals.
  • Insects: Fleas and their bites can cause allergies.

Signs of Allergies in Dogs to Cats

Let’s understand the symptoms and signs of allergies in detail:

Physical Signs

When a dog is allergic to cats, their skin may turn itchy and red. They might scratch overly or develop hives. Hives are small, grown bumps on the skin.

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Cats

This constant scratching can lead to discomfort and potential skin infections. Allergies can affect a dog’s respiratory system, causing coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge.

It’s similar to when we catch a cold. If you notice your dog having difficulty breathing or sounding blocked, this may be a sign of allergies.

Behavioural Signs

Dogs may try to reduce their discomfort by licking or scratching allergic areas. Pay attention to any changes in their grooming behaviour.

Extreme licking, especially in one spot, could signal an allergic reaction. Allergies can impact a dog’s well-being, causing changes in appetite or energy levels.

If your dog is normally active and suddenly becomes lazy or loses interest in their food, even those delicious treats and playing allergies may be a factor.

A Scientific Outlook on Cross-Species Allergies

Cross-species allergies arise when a dog’s immune system sees proteins from cats as a threat. The immune system then releases histamines to fight what it perceives as a threat. This causes allergy symptoms.

Specific proteins in cat saliva, skin flakes (dander), and urine are often the culprits. While the immune system normally recognizes harmless substances, sometimes it misidentifies cat proteins as harmful. 

This unnecessary reaction is the essence of interspecies allergies. Not all dogs have this response. Genetics and individual immune systems determine sensitivity. Some dogs are resilient, while others are more vulnerable to reacting to cat proteins.

dog and a cat in the garden

The severity of reactions varies too. Identifying the proteins that tend to trigger dog allergies aids treatment development. The complexity comes from the difficulty of immune functioning.

What causes a misfire where harmless cat proteins seem threatening? Scientists strive to understand this immune process glitch leading to cross-species allergies.

Essentially, the dog’s immune system overreacts to cats in a way it incorrectly perceives as protective. Finding ways to prevent or ease this confusion causing the allergy remains an ongoing quest.

Possible Triggers of a Dog Being Allergic to Cats

⁉️Genetic Bias: Some dogs are genetically more vulnerable to allergies, including those related to cats. If allergies run in the family, a dog is likely sensitive to cat proteins[2]

⁉️Health: A dog’s general health can influence their vulnerability to allergies. Dogs with weakened immune systems or pre-existing health conditions may be more prone to developing allergic reactions.

⁉️Exposure Levels: The more a dog is exposed to cat allergens, the higher the likelihood of developing an allergy. Living together in proximity with cats or frequent interactions can increase the risk.

Diagnosis of Allergies in Dogs

Vets diagnose dog allergies like detectives. First, they ask questions to understand changes in behaviour or habits. This builds a history to guide the investigation.

dog and a cat under the blanket

Next, vets examine from head to tail, looking for skin irritation, respiratory signs, or other allergy hints. They may ask about diet and environment to identify potential triggers.

Allergy testing is also useful. Applying an allergen to the skin reveals specific reactions. Injecting allergens under the skin can also detect sensitivities. Blood tests check for allergy antibodies spreading internally.

Skin tests directly show localized reactions. Blood tests analyze the full picture without invasive skin contact. Both help identify culprit allergens.

Once checking for allergies is done vets suggest treatment plans. This relieves symptoms and supports the dog’s health and happiness.

Pet parents help in the allergy investigation at every step. Giving the right information helps diagnose and treat dog allergies quickly.

Treatment Options

Let’s look at the various treatment options we have with us:

Environmental Management

Give each pet their own dedicated sleeping and eating zones to reduce contact. Use separate pet beds and bedding so they don’t share allergens.

Vacuum frequently, focusing on carpets, furniture, and pet areas. This removes hair and dander. Bathe dogs and cats regularly using vet-recommended shampoos.

Bathing decreases allergens in fur and skin. Following these simple steps of keeping pets and their items separate, cleaning often, and bathing pets can effectively limit allergens. This helps create a more allergy-friendly environment so dogs and cats can comfortably coexist together.

dog and a cat in the garden

Medications for Allergy Relief

Here are some medicines for relief but please consult with your vet before giving your dog any of these:

1. Antihistamines

These block histamines, substances released during allergic reactions. This relieves itchiness, sneezing, redness and more.

Some antihistamines are sold over the counter, but a vet should recommend the type/dosage for your dog’s safety.

2. Corticosteroids

These rapidly reduce inflammation and suppress immune system reactions to allergens. Corticosteroids provide relief for serious symptoms but are prescribed short-term because of possible side effects.

The vet’s advice is essential, they will monitor your dog closely and indicate the proper dosage/duration to avoid complications.

3. Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy means exposing your dog to tiny amounts of an allergen regularly over time. This trains their immune system to tolerate the allergen rather than overreacting.

It helps decrease allergy symptoms long-term. Customize the allergens and dosages specifically for your dog. Give small initial doses. Slowly adjust amounts based on your dog’s response.

Monitor progress closely through appointments. Over time, the immune system stays calm instead of sounding the allergy alarm.

Home Remedies

Fish Oil Supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties. Fish oil supplements may ease allergy symptoms safely when added to your dog’s diet.

Local Honey: Some think small pollen amounts in local honey can desensitize dogs to pollen over time. This may help certain seasonal allergies.

Oatmeal Baths: Bathing with colloidal oatmeal can soothe irritated skin that accompanies allergies. Oatmeal shampoos reduce redness and itchiness. Consult your vet first.

dog and a cat playing

Prevention Tips

Let’s understand some prevention tips to help you further in this matter:

  • Choose hypoallergenic dog breeds like Poodles and Schnauzers. Their hair minimizes shedding allergens. Slowly introduce new pets first by scent, then supervised interactions. Monitor for any allergy signs.
  • Get regular vet check-ups to catch allergies early and create prevention plans. These may involve diet, grooming, or environmental changes.
  • Keep vaccinations current to support immune health. Control parasites like fleas/ticks to prevent skin bites and irritation.
  • Consistently vacuum, dust, and wash bedding to reduce environmental allergens at home. Brush and bathe dogs regularly to decrease dander shedding. Ask groomers and vets for advice on effective grooming.
  • Feed a balanced, allergen-free diet. Vets can provide diet suggestions. Addressing multiple factors keeps dogs happy and symptom-free.

FAQs

How Can I Tell if My Dog Is Allergic to Cats?

Some of these symptoms include “lots of scratching and licking, leading to skin changes, such as redness, excoriations (repetitive scratching) and the development of pustules and/or crusts.” Some dogs may also exhibit respiratory signs, such as coughing, sneezing or watery eyes and nose

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Cats?

The answer to this question is yes, dogs and cats can be allergic to each other. In fact, not only is it possible for dogs to be allergic to cats and vice versa, but it’s also possible for dogs to be allergic to other dogs and for cats to be allergic to other cats.

How Do You Treat a Dog With a Cat Allergy?

“Once your dog has been tested, he can be treated with individual immunotherapy,” says Trimble. “Immunotherapy involves daily exposure to the specific allergens the dog is sensitive to, either by daily injection or by a daily oral spray/oral drops.

Why Am I Allergic to Cats but Not Dogs?

Because cats spend close to 30% of their time grooming, they are dedicated to spreading the protein from their saliva over as much of their body as possible. That’s why cats appear to be more allergy-causing than dogs. They just produce more of the problem protein and they spend lots of time spreading it.

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Other Dogs?

In fact, not only is it possible for dogs to be allergic to cats and vice versa, but it’s also possible for dogs to be allergic to other dogs and for cats to be allergic to other cats. Pet-to-pet allergies aren’t diagnosed nearly as often as allergies to the substances mentioned above, but they do exist.

Conclusion

In conclusion “Can Dogs Be Allergic to Cats?” While less common than human allergies to pets, dogs can be allergic to cats. Due cat’s protein in their saliva and other parts can trigger allergy in dogs.

Signs range from mild to serious. It is important to consult with the vet in this matter and take their advice. They will guide you and provide you with a correct treatment plan. Being a responsible pet parent you must give them a healthy life.

Reference:

  1. Pet allergy – Symptoms & causes – Mayo Clinic. (2021, August 4). Mayo Clinic.
  2. Does exposure to cats and dogs decrease the risk of developing allergic sensitization and disease? NIH
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About
Jeanette Hampton
Jeanette Hampton is a content writer at WWD and an expert on all things pets. She’s been writing pet blogs for over 5 years and knows everything there is to know about dogs. Jeanette enjoys writing about pet-related topics because she enjoys helping people learn more about their furry friends.

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