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Can a Dog Be Allergic to a Cat?

How to Have the Best of Both Worlds

By Maureen Ryan. January 12, 2014 | See Comments

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    PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian

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A Dog And Cat Sleeping Together

Humans can be allergic to cats or dogs, or both, but what about a dog being allergic to a cat? It's happened! Here's what you can do to manage the symptoms if your dog is allergic.

While stereotypes still exist, cats and dogs are often perfectly happy living together and can get along well as friends. The key to a harmonious, blended animal family seems to be all about having a good introduction. Unfortunately, even if you do manage to ensure your dog feels loved and your cat feels in control and everyone gets along, something could still sabotage the arrangement – allergies. Specifically, there’s a slight chance you could end up with a dog that’s allergic to a cat, and gets sneezy, red eyed, itchy, and physically miserable whenever a feline is around.

The Odds of Having a Dog Who’s Allergic to Your Cat

It’s definitely rare for allergens from cats to cause problems for canines. It can happen, though (and, in fact, a dog could be allergic to certain humans). The only way to tell whether your dog actually has a cat allergy is to run allergy tests, which a vet probably won’t run unless it’s necessary to diagnosis an existing problem.

You can look at the types of dog and cat you’re considering bringing together, then make an educated decision about whether there could be a problem. For instance, if you have dogs who are highly sensitive to environmental factors such as smoke, perfume, or mold, they may have atopic or inhaled allergies. Dogs that are allergic to one environmental allergen may also have a reaction to other allergens. Their symptoms may also become worse when multiple allergens are present at once. If you have one of these sensitive canines, you may want to ask your vet whether bringing a kitty into the house could further irritate your dog.

Another factor to consider is the type of cat you might bring into a doggie home. While all cats shed and scatter dander, some breeds are considered hypoallergenic, which means they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

How to Manage a Pet-to-Pet Allergy

While no pet parent wants to consider getting rid of a beloved dog or cat, it may be something you should consider if your dog is having severe allergy symptoms. However, if you are vigilant about battling cat dander, your pets may still be able to coexist, allergies and all.

Cats may need to be washed at least once a week to manage dander. You’ll also need to use a HEPA vacuum daily to clean hair and dander off of furniture, carpets and floors, draperies, and any other surfaces. Air purifiers may also help. Talk to your vet about treatment options that can reduce your dog’s symptoms as well.

More on Dog Allergies

Flea Allergy Dermatitis: Protect Your Dog's Skin
The Most Common Food Allergies in Cats and Dogs
What Are Hypoallergenic Dog Foods?

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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