Can dogs be allergic to cats? Absolutely. Dogs (and other animals, including cats) can be allergic to anything humans can be allergic to. For example, dogs can be allergic to certain foods and things in the environment. But what is it about cats? Cats and dogs are similar and yet vastly different from one another. So, let’s take a look at how dogs can be allergic to cats and what to do about it.
What are dogs actually allergic to?
A common misconception about animal allergies is that people are allergic to the animals’ fur. While this is true in some cases, most often than not people are allergic to the dander in the fur and the animals’ saliva. For example, people can adopt hypoallergenic dogs, but the fact of the matter is those dogs still shed a little bit, getting their dander in places, and dogs drool – some more than others.
When it comes to cats, they are consistently marking their territory, rubbing their faces and bodies on furniture, the floor, and even you. In addition, they’re constantly cleaning themselves, so their saliva is all over their body.
In other words, your dog can be allergic to your cat’s dander, saliva, or both.
Symptoms of your dog’s allergies to cats
Here are a few symptoms to watch in your dog if you suspect they may be allergic to your cat.
- Coat discoloration or hair loss
- Constant licking (especially over a large area)
- Ear discomfort
- Red, itchy skin
- Rubbing face over the furniture and floor
- Unusual odors
It’s worth it to note that allergies aren’t usually caused by one thing. So, even if your dog is allergic to your cat, your pooch might be allergic to something else as well. This is why, if your dog is experiencing any or all of these symptoms, you need to talk to your veterinarian immediately.
Narrowing down the allergens
Unfortunately, there is no cure for allergies. However, some treatments can lessen the symptoms. If you think your dog might be allergic to something, bring them to the vet. The first thing they’ll do is rule out other possibilities, such as fleas, ticks, lice, and other issues that may be causing these symptoms.
Then, if it turns out it is allergies, your vet will then try to find the cause of the allergies. This process is the same as it is for humans. First, they’ll add a small amount of the allergen into your dog’s skin with a small needle to wait for a reaction. For instance, if you suspect their allergy stems from the cat, your vet will inject a small amount of cat dander into your dog’s skin. Alternatively, they may perform a blood test, but the results won’t be as accurate.
What happens if your dog is allergic to cats?
Since there is no cure, you can make it so your pooch can tolerate the allergen. Or, you can lessen in. The vet will inject small amounts of the allergen into your dog’s skin as treatment. This will allow your dog to get used to the allergen and essentially reset its immune system. Eventually, their reaction to the allergen will lessen over time.
What can you do at home to help your dog?
There are plenty of other ways to help your dog curb their allergy to their feline sibling, with or without treatment from the vet.
For example, you can clean your house regularly. Vacuuming and washing the hardwood flooring regularly will eliminate dog fur, cat fur, dander, saliva, anything. Not only will it be clean for your pets, but it’ll be clean for you as well. You can also get a pet-focused air purifier. This will help get rid of any allergen particles that are floating in the air.
In addition, be sure to bathe your dog regularly with a pet-safe shampoo. This will get rid of any allergens that are on its skin already. You can also give them omega-3 supplements. This fatty acid promotes healthy skin and coat. So, it’ll reduce any inflammation your dog might have from their allergies safely and naturally.
You’ll also want to ensure that the dog and cat can’t get into each other’s food dishes. If your dog likes to eat the cat’s food, then chances are they’re lapping up the cat’s dander and saliva. Also, give them separate water bowls. Both of their salivae end up in the same bowl. Even if they don’t share, be sure to wash the food and water bowls regularly.
Helping your dog with feline allergies is easier than it seems
If your pets are allergic to each other, or one is allergic to the other, you don’t need to make any tough decisions. All you need to do is bring them to the vet and find a treatment that works best with your furry friend.