Dogs can suffer from many of the same health issues that humans do. One health concern that’s common in dogs is allergies. What triggers the allergic reaction can vary from one dog to another. A dog can develop an allergy when the immune system recognizes certain substances as harmful. Most dogs, like humans, can be in an environment where specific allergens are present and not be affected. Dogs that have allergies to these substances can have an extreme reaction. So, it’s reasonable to wonder, “can dogs be allergic to cats?”
Allergic Reactions In Dogs
Allergens that affect a dog’s immune system can cause watery eyes, itching, sniffling, and sneezing like they do in humans. The most common causes of allergies in dogs are dust, food, and pollen. Dry, irritated skin, crusty spots, and redness can be the result of skin allergies. As strange as it may seem, some dogs can even be allergic to people.
Can Dogs Have Feline Allergies?
Most dog owners wouldn’t think it’s a possibility, but dogs can have feline allergies. Dogs often have feline allergies, but their owners aren’t aware that the allergy symptoms could be related to cats. The two culprits that commonly cause feline allergies in dogs are saliva and dander. Several symptoms can be caused by a feline allergy and include:
- Constantly licking, especially over a large area
- Discoloration of the coat or loss of hair
- Ear irritation
- Itchy, red skin
- Rubbing his or her face on carpeting or other rough surfaces
- Unusual odors coming from your dog could be a secondary infection
When You Should Contact Your Vet
If you suspect your dog may have a pet allergy, it best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Veterinary costs can vary a lot depending on where you live and what treatment is necessary. If you wait until the condition gets worse, you could have an emergency vet visit. Your veterinarian will have to confirm that the symptoms your dog is experiencing are consistent with a feline allergy, not fleas or ticks, respiratory infections, insect bites, or conditions that have similar symptoms.
Treating Allergies To Cat Dander In Dogs
Although some dogs may exhibit allergy symptoms, it’s not as common as it is in humans. When your veterinarian determines that the cause of your dog’s symptoms is due to allergies, they may treat them or refer you to a specialist. Some veterinarians specialize in dermatology and allergies. The veterinarian may do blood work or intradermal allergy tests.
The veterinarian uses a small needle and injects some of the most common allergens into the dog’s skin. If the vet suspects your dog is allergic to cats, a small amount of feline dander may be injected. A return trip to the vet will be necessary. The vet will examine the injection sites. If there’s any irritation at a particular area, a determination can be made. Although some veterinarians determine the cause of allergies from blood tests, they aren’t as accurate as intradermal tests.
Although finding out your dog has a feline allergy isn’t something you want to hear, it’s not too difficult to manage. There aren’t specific cures for dogs with feline allergies, but your veterinarian can help you to manage it. The goal of the pet owner and veterinarian is to manage the dog’s symptoms.
Some drug manufacturers produce drops similar to allergy injections for human use. Canine allergy drops are designed to desensitize the immune system over a period of months. The treatment can alleviate the symptoms. The process can take between 6 months to a year, depending on the severity of the symptoms. A veterinary specialist can customize allergy drops or vaccines to treat specific allergies. The treatment is known as allergen-specific immunotherapy and is generally effective. The veterinarian may treat secondary infections with antifungals or antibiotics.
At-Home Solutions For A Dog That’s Allergic To Your Cat
Besides treatments prescribed by your veterinarian, you can take additional steps at home to alleviate your dog’s symptoms.
- Clean your hardwood floors with a wet cleaner that picks up pet hair and dander. These substances can float in the air and land on your dog’s fur, triggering allergy symptoms.
- Give your dog and your cat, if you can manage it, regular baths to cut down on allergens.
- Buying an air purifier to cut down on the allergens floating in the air can alleviate the symptoms.
- Omega-3 fatty acids can keep the skin healthy and build up a defense against allergens. Omega-3 supplements for pets are available from your vet or pet product supplier.
- If it’s possible to keep your cat and dog separated and confined to different areas of your home, it may cut down on allergy symptoms.
- Wiping down your dog with a damp cloth after he or she has been exposed to cat dander can cut down on feline allergy symptoms.
1. How can I tell if my dog is allergic to cats?
The first indication that your dog is allergic to cats will be constant itching. While allergies manifest in humans in other ways, dogs that have allergies have a defect in the skin that causes it to itch. The abnormal barrier of the skin doesn’t provide dogs with the same protection as dogs without allergies. The abnormal skin defect triggers allergy symptoms. Due to the defect, the allergens penetrate into the deepest layers of the skin and affect the immune system. The skin’s response to the allergens is to release histamines that cause itching.
2. What are the symptoms of allergies in dogs?
Most allergies in dogs occur in dogs that are over six months old. The most common symptoms of dog allergies are itching, red, irritated skin, hair loss, and skin infections. When a dog is constantly exposed to a particular allergen, the immune system overreacts. Although the skin irritation may be all over the dog’s body, it’s sometimes localized. The dog may lick or scratch at the area that’s irritated. Your veterinarian can determine the cause of the allergy and prescribe the most effective treatment.
3. What is the most common allergy in dogs?
The most common of all allergies in dogs is environmental. Data indicates that as many as 25 percent of all visits to a veterinarian are due to allergies. Some of the most common types of environmental allergens are dust, dander, dust mites, weeds, grasses, and pollen. Environmental allergies fall into two categories:
- Indoor/outdoor allergies, including ragweed or materials inside the home.
- Seasonal/non-seasonal allergens may include pollen or dust, and dander.
4. How do you get rid of cat and dog allergies?
Steps you can take at home to alleviate your pet’s allergies include bathing your dog once a week. Plain water can rinse away a lot of dander. If you have a cat, use a damp washcloth to rinse your pet off. Brushing your pet frequently can alleviate allergy symptoms. Filter on heating and air-conditioning units can trap dust and danger and keep it from spreading through your home.
If your dog is exhibiting allergy symptoms, the only way to know for sure what’s triggering the allergens is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. The vet may do tests or refer you to a veterinary allergy specialist.