Dr Tracy Douglas
Your guide to this review today is by veterinarian Dr Tracy Douglas Dr Tracy Douglas
Published 15:52 pm

Cats and dogs have since moved beyond the stereotype of their age-long feud and have been living happily together with families and also becoming ‘best buddies’ in the process. Despite this significant progress in their relationship, Mother Nature also plays an important part in this as there have been confirmed cases of dogs and cats being allergic to one another, probably depending on the breed. Contrary to popular belief, humans are not the only ones that exhibit allergic reactions to pets. There have been several confirmed cases by veterinarians over the years of dogs exhibiting an allergic reaction to cats and vice versa. Once this situation arises, how do pet owners who are not willing to give out any of their pets manage it? Read on for further information on if dogs can be allergic to cats.

Labrador puppy and cat love and friendship

What are Allergies?

From all indications, allergies can be experienced by both humans and animals. An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to a perceived threat which is known as an allergen.

For animals or dogs, in particular, their immune system can react to a foreign substance which it has encountered. For example, a dog owner once shared her experience about her dog’s cat allergies. According to the owner, “he sneezes backwards and has runny eyes” when cats are around. To manage the dog’s allergy, the owner shares that she dusts, vacuums, uses clean blankets, pillows and sheets. The dog also gets a bath and the symptoms clear up between 24- 72 hours after the encounter.

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Dog and Cat Allergy

Allergies in pets generally are difficult to diagnose. It is even more frustrating as there is no cure or ‘magic pill’ to make them automatically feel better. Moreover, symptoms for allergies generally can be quite similar, so it’s never a straightforward diagnosis for any veterinarian to ascertain what kind of allergic reaction an animal might be experiencing.

Kinds of allergies include environmental, skin, flea, and food and so on and the dog and cat allergy falls under the category of environmental allergies. This simply means that once a cat is within a few feet around a dog, the canine might start displaying symptoms that indicate they are uncomfortable.

Is my Dog Allergic to Cats?

Although the odds of having a dog that is allergic to cats in a severe way is pretty rare, it does happen. One major factor to consider when housing a cat and a dog is the breed. Some dogs are highly sensitive to environmental factors, including smoke, perfumes and can also have other allergies which can be triggered by a cat. So, the pressing question now is that can dogs be allergic to cats?

The answer is ‘Yes’ to find out if your dog is likely allergic to cats, one needs to run an allergy test. This test is not just randomly carried out unless it’s in a bid to diagnose an existing problem or allergic symptoms exhibited by the dog. Ultimately, to know if your dog is really allergic to cats, monitor it when a cat is around and see if there is any sign of discomfort or the symptoms listed below.

Symptoms to Watch Out for in Dog Allergies to Cats

Things that can trigger these allergies are mostly saliva and dander (the latter are tiny cells that are dropped from a cat’s fur). Some of the symptoms can include red or itchy skin, constant licking of a particularly large area, hair loss, ear discharge, coat discolouration, rubbing face on carpets or rough surfaces, unusual odors, amongst others.

However, to ascertain that these symptoms aren’t as a result of fleas, lice, ringworm, insect bites, ticks, respiratory infections or other sicknesses that can mimic allergies, a veterinary doctor would want to establish the particular cause of the allergy. Several samples of the common allergen (which can be pollen, dander and more) can be inserted into the dog’s skin while it is watched closely for any negative reaction.

Treatment  for Dogs with Allergies to Cats

After it has been confirmed that your dog has a cat allergy, there are several treatment options that can help minimize and manage the reactions. It’s pertinent to point out that there are no permanent cures or ways to prevent these allergies from occurring whenever contact is made with a cat, instead, the symptoms can be controlled to reduce the dog’s sufferings.

A dog can be treated with “individual immunotherapy” can be by daily oral drops or spray or by injection and involves daily exposure to specific allergens which it’s sensitive to it. The goal here is to decrease the severity of the itch, inflammation and also decrease the need for other itch preventing medications. While this isn’t a hundred percent solution, the itching and urge to itch is significantly reduced.

Additionally, allergy drops are available for dogs and they perform the same function allergy injections do on humans with any kind of reaction to things around them. This technology works on the immune system and depending on the diagnosis, your vet can make the drops or vaccines for your dog’s allergy to cats. The aim here is to give their body what it needs to endure the allergen whenever they are close to a cat.

Cat and dog

Safety Home Solutions to Curb Allergies and Manage Dogs with Cat Allergies

Another preventive measure to manage your dog’s allergic reaction is by cleaning and vacuuming more often to remove cat dander from the floor. Moreover, using air purifiers that are capable of removing the allergen particles and also reduce dander in the air can go a long way. If a pet owner is really vigilant in riding the household of cat dander as often as possible, it is possible for dogs and cats to happily coexist with allergies and all.

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According to the research of seasoned vets, another way to help your dog live comfortably with the reactions from allergies is to fortify the skin and this must be done both internally and externally. The latter can be achieved during grooming and bathing sessions. Truly, there are many shampoos out there that fortify a dog’s skin barrier and using such products can also get rid of allergens on your dog’s fur. On the other hand, you can strengthen your pet’s resistance to allergen with higher levels of fatty acids through the supplements or diets you give them. This strategy works from inside the body to strengthen the immune system.

Pet owners should also watch out and stop their itchy dogs from scratching for an extended period of time as this can lead to other bacteria, yeast or skin infections. Moreover, when you notice your dog is itchy after coming in contact with cat dander, you can use a wet cloth to wipe their skin to remove any foreign body and equally decrease the itching. This strategy comes in handy when you don’t have time to give your pet a complete bath with the right shampoos and all.

Also, with the help of pet gates, cats and dogs can be restricted to different portions of the house. Again, an unconfirmed theory suggests that if your dog grew up with other pets, they might not get any allergies to cats at all. In other words, it’s better to create an environment where different kinds of pets can cohabit.

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Dr Tracy Douglas
General Practice Veterinarian, currently working at the Glenwood Veterinary Clinic, Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Dr. Douglas began her veterinary career as a Veterinary Nurse in Highton Veterinary Clinic, Highton Victoria, and then as an Emergency Veterinarian in Uintah Pet Emergency, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Tracy is particularly interested in surgery, neurology and internal medicine, which gives her a well-rounded knowledge on animal health and well-being. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Melbourne, while her undergraduate bachelor of science is from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

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