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Can Cats Be Allergic to Dogs? What Science Says

Although it is not a common occurrence, cats can be allergic to dogs. Dog dander is one of the allergens that vets test for in cats.

Although few studies have been conducted, it seems likely that cats are allergic to some breeds of dogs more than others. In most cases, though, it is likely to be something that your dog is carrying or transmitting that your cat is allergic to, not the dog itself.

It is impossible to prevent allergies, but there are ways to treat and manage the allergic reactions that your cat has, whether these are to dogs or any other allergens.

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Causes of Cat Allergies

Cats can be allergic to a range of allergens. In fact, allergens can be broken down into environmental, flea, food, and seasonal categories.

Although your cat can be allergic to one or more proteins from your dog, it is more likely that they are allergic to something that your dog has on their coat or paws. This can include pollen, plants, and other environmental elements.

It could indeed possible that your cat is allergic to one of several proteins given off by your dog, including their saliva, albumin, or can f1. Proteins like can f1 are present in a dog’s saliva, urine, and the dander of their coat. This means that the protein can affect your cat if they lick or groom your dog and if they breathe in any of the fur or other particles.

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Image Credit: Jupiter_79, Pixabay

Breeds and Characteristics

It is likely that cats are allergic to the proteins that are present in dog fur, in much the same way as people with dog allergies.

Therefore, heavy-shedding breeds are more likely to cause a reaction in allergic cats. This means that breeds like Retrievers can be bad for allergic cats, while low-shedding breeds like Poodles can be good.

Dogs that salivate and drool frequently may also be bad, especially because dogs do tend to loom over cats and may drip saliva on them. Breeds like the St. Bernard and the Bassett Hound are known to salivate heavily.


Allergic reactions are the body’s way of trying to expel allergens from the system. Some of these are the same as those we see in human allergy sufferers, but others are unique to cats. Look for:

  • Excessive licking
  • Infections
  • Itchy eyes
  • Heavy breathing and wheezing
  • Red and dry skin
  • Scratching
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

If you suspect that your cat is allergic to your dog, you can have the cat allergy-tested. Your vet will test for several dozen potential sources of an allergic reaction.

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Minimize Exposure

Preventing your cat from coming into contact with any allergens that cause a reaction is likely to be your first course of treatment. This doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your dog, but you should ensure that they are well-groomed. Regular bathing and brushing will remove dead and loose hairs and minimize dander and other proteins from your dog.

It could be that your dog is bringing in pollen from a specific plant, and this is causing the reaction. Stop your dog from brushing against that plant, and you could prevent your cat from suffering allergic reactions.

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Building Tolerance

Immunotherapy means giving your cat a vaccine that eliminates allergic reactions and negates the need for allergy and other medications. This type of treatment is effective in nearly three-quarters of recipients. Your vet should discuss this option with you following a successful allergy test.

Allergy Symptom Treatment

If immunology is ineffective, symptom management represents the most likely form of treatment. Ensure that your cat is getting plenty of omega-3 from fish oils. This helps maintain good skin and coat health. You can also get feline antihistamines and anti-inflammatory drugs. These will help fight off symptoms of colds, like runny noses, swollen eyes, and more.

Always ensure that your cat has access to plenty of fresh drinking water. Many allergy symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, and heavy breathing, will dehydrate your cat, so they will need to increase their water intake.

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Can Cats Be Allergic to Dogs?

Although it’s rare, cats can be allergic to dogs, specifically to the proteins found in a dog’s skin, coat, saliva, and urine. Look for common symptoms of allergies, have your cat tested to determine if they are allergic to dogs or something environmental, and take steps to minimize exposure to the allergens and reduce the allergic reactions that your cat suffers from.

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Featured Image Credit: rohitink, Pixabay