We’ve all heard about the allergies that cats can stir up in humans.
Some instantly experience sniffles and watery eyes when a cat is present, and have to refrain from having these furry friends in their lives.
Since dogs can experience allergies themselves, is it possible for a dog to be allergic to cats?
In this article, we’ll discuss the possibility of a cat allergy in our canine friends, signs of an allergy to cats, and how to make the allergy easier to handle in your home.
Is It Possible For Dogs To Be Allergic To Cats?
Yes, it really is possible for your beloved pup to be allergic to cats. Just like in humans, cat dander can stir up a number of irritating symptoms for our dogs.
Though it is much more uncommon for a dog to be allergic to cats as it is in humans, it is something to be aware of if you have a multi-pet household.
Dogs can be allergic to virtually any dust, dander, or product that they come in contact with. Since allergies are an immune response to any type of allergen-specific to your dog, your pup can display symptoms of allergies when they come in contact with any type of material that reacts with their immune system.
Unfortunately, allergies themselves are extremely common in dogs.
While some allergies can be present the first time they come in contact with the dander or material, other allergies develop over time after being exposed for months on end.
Allergies in dogs can be tricky, so it’s important to know the signs to look for!
How Do Allergies In Dogs Work?
The allergic response in dogs can be quite complex. Allergies are thought of as an unnecessary response to any kind of foreign substance.
It all starts with exposure to the allergen, usually on multiple occasions spanning weeks to years, sensitizing the immune system.
This will cause a subsequent exposure to the same or related allergen to result in an overreaction from the immune system.
Normally the immune system protects your pup against harmful diseases and threats to their health, but the bodies’ response to allergies can actually be harmful depending on the severity of the allergy.
When the allergen reacts with the “immune cells” in your dog’s body, harmful chemicals such as histamines are released.
Histamines can be extremely potent when released into the body, and cause the symptoms we typically see in dogs with allergies.
So what are the signs of a cat allergy in dogs?
How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Allergic To Cats?
A dog that is allergic to cats will have a similar reaction as being allergic to any other allergen that affects dogs.
it impacts their immune response in the same way as any other environmental allergen, you should expect to see the common signs of allergies in dogs.
Some symptoms of allergies to cats in dogs include:
- Swelling of the face, muzzle, ears, lips, etc
- Red skin
- Inflammation of the skin
- Hot spots on the skin as a result of itching
- Itchy ears
- Chronic ear infections
- Yeasty smell of the skin
- Discharge from the eyes
- Constant licking of their skin or paws
- Appearing agitated and uncomfortable, often due to itching
While these are the most common in dogs with food allergies, you can also see vomiting and diarrhea in dogs that experience an immediate immune response to cat dander.
Dogs with immediate and severe reactions to cat dander can also experience weakness, pale gums, and even collapse.
Though this is rare, this is considered an anaphylactic reaction that requires immediate medical assistance.
How To Treat Your Dog’s Allergy To Cats
While there is no cure for allergies in dogs, there are a few ways to help decrease your dog’s symptoms to the allergy they suffer from.
While there are some dogs that benefit from at-home care, some dogs require a visit to their local veterinarian to help bring them relief.
Some at-home treatment options for cat allergies in dogs include:
- Bathing them in a shampoo that helps to decrease itching and skin irritation. This can include shampoos that have soothing ingredients such as oatmeal, aloe, honey, and more. These soothing baths can be given once a week since they are often filled with moisturizing agents as well.
- Giving them daily Benadryl to help combat minor allergies to the cat in their home. The standard dose for Benadryl in dogs is 1mg per pound of body weight (For example, 25mg for a 25-pound dog). This can help to relieve minor symptoms such as itchy skin, skin redness, and other signs of allergies.
- Giving them daily omega fatty acids in supplement form can help to strengthen their skin and improve their immune system.
- If your dog is displaying signs of allergy to a cat they were just exposed to, some veterinarians state that wiping your dog with a wet washcloth can help to relieve skin irritation.
Medical treatments from a veterinarian that help to reduce allergies to cats include:
- A medication called Apoquel can be given to your dog daily in an effort to reduce itching and other signs of allergies in dogs. This medication can help dogs that experience itching that is not resolved with at-home care.
- There are options in the form of monthly injections to help treat allergies in dogs. These monthly injections (Cytopoint and other forms of the injection) help to prevent itching, skin redness, sneezing, runny eyes, and other symptoms of allergies in dogs.
- Your veterinarian can also prescribe you oral antihistamines that are similar to Benadryl but even more effective.
Ways To Decrease Your Dog’s Cat Allergy In Your Home
While you can simply avoid exposing your dog to cats if you fear they have a cat allergy, this can be more challenging when you have both dogs and cats in your home.
Since a cat allergy can cause your canine companion discomfort, it’s important to try your best to lessen the severity of their allergy.
Some ways to decrease the impact of your dog’s allergy to cats include:
1. Minimize Contact
If your dog is suffering from an allergy to your feline friend, try your best to reduce their contact with each other.
While this isn’t always possible in smaller areas or if your dog and cat are fond of each other, it’s an option to consider.
2. Clean Often
Clean as often as you can. If a dog is allergic to cat dander, then the less amount of cat dander lying around in your home is better to help manage their symptoms.
This means dusting, sweeping and mopping, vacuuming carpet and furniture, and focusing on areas that your cat frequents.
3. Brush Your Cat Often
Try your best to brush your cat a few times a week, as this will decrease the amount of shedding in your home.
When there is less cat fur laying around, there will be a decrease in your dog’s allergy symptoms.
4. Keep Pet Areas Separated
Though this can be easier said than done, you can try to have certain sleeping areas for your dog and cat.
This means a cat tree or bed for your feline friend and a separate dog bed for your pup. This can help decrease your dog’s contact with your cat’s dander.
Any effort to reduce the amount of cat dander in your home can result in a drastic decrease in your dog’s allergy symptoms.
Just like humans with allergies to cats, it does not mean that they are unable to live together if they have an allergy present. It just requires a bit more thought and effort on your part!
While it’s rare for your dog to be allergic to cats, it can certainly happen.
If you plan on having both cat and dog furry family members, it’s important to understand the signs of a possible cat allergy in your pup!