Can Dogs be Allergic to Cats?

Most of us have heard about cat allergies in people. But did you know that dogs can also be allergic to cats? Learn more about why your dog’s eyes may be red and other symptoms of a cat dander allergy in dogs.


Dogs can be allergic to a wide variety of environmental allergens including pollen from trees, weeds, and grasses. Other potential allergens include molds, dust and storage mites, insects, and dander from humans, birds, or other animals. This includes cat dander.

Symptoms of Cat Allergies in Dogs

Dogs that are allergic to cat dander may have symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. These symptoms include redness of the inner eyelids and whites of the eyes, squinting, rubbing the eyes, and ocular discharge. Ocular discharge may be clear or white but may also be yellow or green.

Other symptoms of a cat dander allergy in dogs include itchy skin, coughing, sneezing, and runny discharge from the nose. Dogs with itchy skin will incessantly scratch and lick at their paws, face, ears, tailbase, and the underside of their body.

Dogs with a cat dander allergy are often allergic to other things in their environment. Your veterinarian may recommend allergy testing to determine which allergens are the most troublesome for your dog.

Treating Dog Allergy Symptoms

One aspect of treating a cat dander allergy and other environmental allergies is relieving the symptoms of the allergy. This may include antihistamines, eye drops for allergic conjunctivitis, and shampoo or other topicals to alleviate itchy skin.

The other part of treatment is modulating the immune system’s response to specific allergens. This may include medications—such as steroids, cyclosporine, Apoquel, or Cytopoint. This may also include allergy hyposensitization therapy—also known as allergy injections.

Additional Considerations

There are many other illnesses that can cause the same symptoms as allergic conjunctivitis. Your veterinarian will conduct a complete eye exam with an ophthalmoscope. She may recommend testing your dog’s tear production with a Schirmer tear test, determining your dog’s ocular pressures with a tonometry device, and staining the surface of your dog’s eyes with fluorescein to look for corneal ulcers.

With apropriate treatment, allergic conjunctivitis due to a cat dander allergy can be managed, leaving your dog with more comfortable eyes.