Can You Be Allergic to Dogs But Not Cats?

If you are allergic to dogs you may be wondering if you are also allergic to cats. The allergen that causes the allergy to dogs is different from the allergen that makes you allergic to cats. Consequently, you may be allergic to dogs but not to cats.

The Allergen in Dogs

People think that hair is the allergen that causes sneezing and runny nose or watery eyes. However, the actual allergen in dogs causing negative reactions in humans is a protein that is secreted in dander, saliva and urine.

The protein is specific for each breed. However, typically, allergic humans will manifest allergic reactions to all dog breeds. There may be breeds that will produce substances that will cause fewer allergic reactions than others.

The largest quantity of proteins is secreted in the dog’s dander and this is typically difficult to control, as it will be airborne and may land on various areas in the house. Saliva also contains a high concentration of proteins that cause allergies, but not as high as dander. Saliva may be present on all areas where the dog stays, especially if the dog drools a lot.

Urine contains the least amount of allergen, but this may also cause allergies in sensitive people.

Dog hair doesn’t cause allergies. The only case in which the dog hair can cause allergic reactions is if the hair contains dander or proteins from the dander.

The Allergen in Cats

The allergen in cats is also present in dander, saliva and urine and it is also a glycoprotein. However, the composition of this protein is different from the composition of the allergen in dogs.

If you are allergic to cats, you are allergic to this glycoprotein. The allergic reactions occur due to the fact that the immune system will not accept the foreign substances (the protein) in the body and will secret the histamines, which will result in the sneezing, swelling, runny nose and watery eyes.

The allergens may be inhaled or may penetrate your skin, if you get in contact with dander or surfaces with cat saliva.

Can You Be Allergic to Dogs but not Cats?

Given the fact that the allergen causing the negative reactions in dogs is different in composition than the allergen in cats, you may be allergic to one but not the other.

However, chances are that you may be sensitive and have multiple allergies, including allergies to other substances in your environment.

You can determine if you are allergic to cats and/or dogs by getting exposed to cats and dogs and environments with cats and dogs. If you experience allergic reactions in environments with dogs but won’t have any symptoms in cat environments, you may not be allergic to felines.

However, the most precise way to establish if you are allergic to cats and/or dogs is to perform an intradermal testing or a blood test.

There are treatment options available to control pet allergies, including antihistamines and allergy shots.