Can Dogs Be Allergic To Cats? How Can You tell?

Written by Shaunice Lewis
Published: November 4, 2022
© olgagorovenko/
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You might already be familiar with the fact that people can be allergic to cats, but did you know that dogs can also be allergic to cats? It’s true; dogs can be allergic to cats just like people can, and when near them, dogs may itch, sneeze, and cough. Read on to learn more about how dogs can be allergic to cats and what you can do if it’s the case for your dog! 

How Do I Know if My Dog Is Allergic to Cats?

A dog rears up for a sneeze
Dogs can and do get allergies just as humans do.


Now, while a dog can be allergic to cats, it is not very common. The chance of a dog being allergic to cats is about 1 in 20, so it’s uncommon but not impossible. If a dog is truly allergic to cats, you may notice some of the same symptoms happening in your dog that can be found in humans that are allergic to cats. Some of those include itchiness, changes to the skin (redness or a rash), coughing, or sneezing. You may also notice that your dog’s eyes and nose are watery, although these symptoms are less common in dogs with cat allergies.

Suppose you suspect your dog is allergic to cats and has exhibited any of the above symptoms. You should take your dog to the vet to be officially tested for the allergy. Your veterinarian can test your dog for cat allergies by using an intradermal allergy test for cat dander. They may also use a serum or blood test to see if your dog is allergic to cats.

What Causes Dogs to Be Allergic to Cats?

Genetics play a significant role in determining if your dog will be allergic to cats or not. While some may assume that having a dog near a cat could increase its odds of becoming allergic to it, this is not the case. In fact, the opposite seems to be true. Dogs that live in a household with cats tend to have fewer chances of developing allergies.

This is most likely because the immune system can recognize cat dander and not have an allergic response to it. For dogs that were not raised in households that had cats, the chances are higher that they could develop allergies once exposed to one.

Is There a Cure for Cat Allergies in Dogs?

Currently, there is no cure for dogs that have allergies to cats. However, there are ways that allergies can be managed so that your dog does not suffer from them. Let’s go over them below:

Medicated Shampoo

One thing you can do that can help a dog that is suffering from cat-related allergies is to keep it bathed regularly with a medicated shampoo.
Some shampoos are designed to help dogs with allergies.

©Jaromir Chalabala/

To help a dog suffering from cat-related allergies, bathe it regularly with a medicated shampoo. These shampoos are designed to help dogs that are dealing with allergies. Some shampoos can help strengthen the barrier on your dog’s skin and help remove allergens from their fur. This is crucial if you have a cat at home and no way for your dog to stay away from it.

The shampoo can help your dog’s skin become less affected by allergens. It will keep its fur and skin clean from cat dander. Just be sure to check with your dog’s veterinarian before using a medicated shampoo for your dog’s allergies.

Dietary Changes

You can also help improve your dog’s health from the inside out by changing its diet. Again, you’ll want to check with your vet before drastically changing your dog’s diet. However, adding certain nutritious foods may help lessen your dog’s allergy severity.

Foods high in fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) can help strengthen your dog’s skin barrier. This could potentially lessen the impact of its allergies. Salmon is a good source of fatty acids, including EPA, and it’s also safe for dogs to eat. The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon can help improve your dog’s immune system and reduce inflammation. An added bonus is that it can also help with the shine and health of your dog’s coat.

Keep Your Dog’s Fur Clean With a Damp Cloth

Aside from medicated shampoo, you can also clean your dog’s fur in between washes by wiping its fur with a damp cloth. You can do this whenever they’ve been exposed to a cat.

A damp cloth can help remove cat dander from your dog’s fur which causes allergy symptoms. Wiping the dander from your dog’s coat can help reduce the amount of itchiness it feels. It can also reduce its need to scratch (which can be harmful to your dog’s skin over time).

Using a cloth to wipe your dog’s fur is also an excellent solution for fussy dogs. It’s also helpful to do when you cannot give your dog a bath right away.


After your veterinarian has tested and confirmed that your dog is allergic to cats, they may recommend undergoing immunotherapy treatment to manage its symptoms.

Immunotherapy for allergies in dogs involves your dog being regularly exposed to the allergens that relate to cats (and any other allergens it may be sensitive to). This may include your dog receiving a daily injection or taking daily supplements, oral drops, or sprays. This treatment exposes your dog to small amounts of the allergens regularly to stimulate the immune system into action and be able to better handle them without severe reactions.

Regular exposure to these allergens may help reduce your dog’s allergy symptoms, like itching and sneezing, and reduce its need for allergy medications. This method of treatment is not a cure for your dog’s allergies. Still, it may help reduce the severity of your dog’s allergy symptoms and give it a welcome sense of relief from some irritating symptoms like itchiness.


Finally, you can help limit or improve your dog’s cat allergies by keeping your dog’s environment clean. Be sure to vacuum all rugs and carpets, as this will help to cut down on the amount of cat dander there is. The cat dander gets on your dog’s fur and can cause itchiness, sneezing, and other allergy symptoms.

Pets and humans can both greatly benefit from having cleaner indoor air. You can also purchase an air purifier to help remove any pet dander from the air that your dog would normally inhale. This could present respiratory issues like sneezing and coughing. Having a good quality air purifier will help keep cat dander out of the air and improve the overall air quality in your home for everyone.

Suppose you notice your dog constantly itching or scratching itself more than average. In that case, you should take it to see the vet and have it tested for allergies—especially if you’ve recently introduced a new cat into the household. Your veterinarian will be able to let you know whether or not your dog is allergic to cats and begin treatment.

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The Featured Image

A dog rears up for a sneeze
Dogs can and do get allergies just as humans do.
© olgagorovenko/

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About the Author

Freelance writer specializing in natural health and wellness.

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