Pollen - once source of a dogs allergic reaction photo copyright massdistraction
A dog allergic to a cat? Yes, just as humans can be allergic to cats, dogs can be allergic to cats too. I am slightly allergic to a stray boy cat that pops in for food. It is the first time that I have sensed this. It is quite uncomfortable. I've only got to look at him, almost, and I start to feel itchy. I always wash after touching him.
Dogs allergic to cats cannot rationalize the problem like humans and as far as I can see there is not much one can do about it that is really effective. First though, if your dog is scratching it may be due to a wide range of sources. A dog may even be allergic to us as we produce allergens in the form of skin particles. Cat allergens are skin particles and/or dried saliva left on the after grooming.
It may be difficult to track down the source of irritation. There is the question as to whether you tackle the problem from the dog end or the source end (i.e. pro-action or reaction). I would have thought that prevention is better than cure so tracking down the source is important.
Potential sources other than your cat could be for example, the food he eats. It may be due to the type of protein in the food. You could try different types of dog food. Apparently the type of grain in the food can (rarely) be a source of allergic reaction. Food allergy generally, seems to be relatively rare, however. Mold spores is another possible source. I guess you'd know if you have a mold problem as it is very visible. If your dog is itching and you have mold somewhere in or around the home the two could be associated.
Cat allergens have a long life and can be present in the home for long periods attached to furniture etc. My research indicates that the best way to deal with cat allergens is to wash them off the cat, but most cats will find this unpleasant (some cats like water however - Bengal being one example). If this is done regularly (once monthly) it may assist. I'd certainly try and see. It could be a good way of testing the source. Wash you cat and see if your dog does less scratching.
There are products on the market that seal the cat dander to the body, preventing contact with it. I don't know how effective these are but I would have thought not very effective. There is quite a big market in hypoallergenics including breeding hypoallergenic cats (Allerca pets). One product is Danderseal®. It doesn't seem to be widely available and is limited it seems to the North American market (USA and Canada).
Another product is Allersearch X-Mite®, which neutralizes allergens in or on the carpet. You sprinkle it on and hoover it up - no idea how effective it might be. This also seems to be exclusively a US product.
As cat allergens are airborne a free standing air filtration unit may help. BlueAir are good quality but more expensive than some. There are lots on the market. If you can hire them (probably) it may be wise to hire for a week and "suck and see". If your dog improves you would have found at least one potential source. I'd have thought the testing process could be carried out for each potential source to gauge the reaction.
The cause could be pollen (a seasonal allergy). If your dog scratches seasonally then I guess it could be pollen. Your vet can carry out a test if this source is indicated. If it is not pollen it could be due to the vastly increased number of insects flying/walking around during the warmer seasons. An insect bite can cause an allergic reaction from the insects saliva deposited in the skin.
If you can't track down the source you'll have to treat the symptoms with drugs such as antihistamines such as Benadryl®. Once again I am nor sure how effective they are for pets and I'd be extremely careful (get vet advice). Another symptom reducer would be steroids (possible long term side effects - I'd personally avoid these).
The best route is obviously prevention, which will take more time to resolve and requires running tests. Dog allergic to cat might be dog allergic to something else.
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