ua en ru

Can cats be allergic to dogs: Veterinarians' answer

Can cats be allergic to dogs: Veterinarians' answer Can cats be allergic to dogs (photo: Freepik)

If your cat is scratching itself, it might have an allergy to something in its environment. Mold, pollen, and dust mites are common allergens.

RBC-Ukraine explains whether cats can be allergic to dogs and what to do about it.

Can cats be allergic to dogs

Although this phenomenon is not well-studied and is rare, cats can indeed have allergies to dogs.

Veterinary dermatologist Elizabeth Falk from Cornell University in Stamford explains that during intradermal allergy testing in cats, dog epithelium is one of the allergens tested, along with approximately 60 environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, and house dust mites.

Allergies in cats are poorly understood, so it's difficult to say which dog breeds are more allergenic.

Falk explains that in general, there is probably considerable breed-related variability in the allergenicity of dogs, whereas in most people allergic to cats, the allergy occurs to all cats regardless of breed. This likely reflects the fact that in people, allergies to different dog allergens (e.g., dog saliva, dog albumin, etc.) whereas the major cat allergen, Fel d1, is common to all breeds of cats.

While it's currently impossible to pinpoint exactly which breeds trigger allergic reactions in cats, dogs that shed more are theoretically capable of spreading more allergens, suggests veterinarian Susan Jeffrey from Truesdell Hospital.

How to determine if your cat is allergic to dogs

If your cat has an allergy, it will become noticeable. There are several main signs to watch for:

  • Your cat may scratch its skin excessively, leading to fur loss and skin injuries.
  • Scabs, scales, papules, or pustules may appear.
  • The skin may become pink or red.
  • Your cat may pull out its fur.
  • Watery eyes and sneezing may occur.

To accurately determine the cause of the allergic reaction and avoid misdiagnosis, blood tests or skin tests need to be conducted. These tests can be performed by a veterinarian.

If you suspect your cat has an allergy, it's important to consult a vet immediately, as scratches and wounds can lead to yeast and bacterial infections.

What to do if your cat is allergic to dogs

Preventing the onset of allergies is impossible, but they can be treated and controlled. There are two main approaches to treatment: managing symptoms with medication and increasing tolerance to allergens through immunotherapy (allergy vaccines).

The goal of the vaccine is to reduce or completely eliminate the need for medication, and it is effective in approximately 70 percent of cases.

Allergies often arise from a combination of environmental conditions and genetics. While it's impossible to change a cat's DNA, you can influence its surroundings:

  • Perform frequent cleaning to reduce the amount of fur.
  • Bathe the dog regularly to reduce the amount of allergens.

While preventing allergies is challenging, proper treatment and care will help your cat feel better and reduce the manifestations of allergic reactions.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, A1Savannahs, PetMD, and Wikipedia.