Can Dogs Be Allergic to Cats?

Humans and pets sneeze for various reasons. If you have a seasonal allergy, you may have heard your dog sneeze and wondered if he was allergic to pollen or other triggers in the environment just like you are. It is possible for cats to experience allergic reactions to having a dog in the house. And it is actually possible for dogs to be allergic to cats, too.

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Signs of allergies in dogs

The American Kennel Club points out that the signs of allergies in dogs are different than they are in humans. For us, signs of allergies usually appear in itchy, water, red eyes or a runny nose or scratchy throat. For dogs though, the main sign of allergies is itching. This is because their skin more readily absorbs environmental allergens such as molds, pollen, dust, and dander.

Dander is the fancy word for microscopic pieces of fur and skin cells that are shed as part of the normal skin renewal process. Your dog may be sensitive to dander from cats, according to the AKC. If this is the case, your dog may show signs of being inflamed and itchy.

Common allergies in dogs

The Canna-Pet website says that it is not very common for dogs to be allergic to cats, but it does happen, and dogs can even be allergic to other dogs. Dogs are more commonly allergic to ingredients in their food, something in the environment, or to fleas. If your cat has pollen on its fur or something else that your dog is allergic to, your cat can transmit that allergen to your dog or to other surfaces in your home. Canna-Pet says that the only way to be sure that your dog is allergic to your cat is to get allergen testing done.

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Cat allergy testing for dogs

National Geographic reports that some veterinary care facilities routinely test dogs for allergies to cats. Allergy testing for dogs who are allergic to cats is very much like the way that allergy testing is done on humans. A small amount of the allergen, in this case cat dander, is placed under the skin to test for reactions.

Treatments for allergic dogs

Treatments for dogs that are allergic to cats can include immunotherapy, says the AKC. Immunotherapy is a system of reducing reactions to allergens through controlled daily exposure. Vacuuming more often can reduce your dog's exposure to allergens that may lessen the severity of her symptoms. An air purifier that can remove particles from the air can also help to keep your home cleaner.

Pets Best Insurance suggests that other potential treatments for dog allergies could include antihistamines, which work by binding to the cells in your body which react to allergens, so the allergens themselves can't cause a reaction. Just like in humans, serious allergic reactions can be controlled by using steroids. Certain drugs can be prescribed as immunosuppressants. These are said to work successfully in about 60% of patients and are safe for long-term use.

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Shampoo and sprays can help by protecting your pet's skin and also removing allergens that may be triggering them. Changing your pet's diet can make them overall more healthy which may allow them to fight off allergic reactions a little better.