If you’ve ever sniffled your way through a visit to a pet owner’s house, know that you’re not alone: up to 30 percent of people have allergic reactions to cats, dogs and other household pets. But it’s not only the humans who suffer. Some dogs and cats can be just as allergic to humans and other allergens.
While it is more common to hear about people being allergic to pet dander, it is possible for pets to be allergic to dander produced by humans. (Dander is simply tiny cells that are shed from skin or fur.) But pets aren’t only allergic to human dander; allergies can also be attributed to dust, pollen and several other common allergens. Reactions range from itchy skin and runny noses for dogs to hair loss and a scab-like skin condition for cats, depending on the allergen.
There was a well-known case of a dog with a human allergy in 2014. Adam, a black Labrador, was rescued by Indianapolis’s Lucky Dog Retreat Rescue and was thought to have a flea allergy. When his condition only slightly improved with treatment, further blood work revealed his allergy to human dander. With a new regimen of allergy shots, Adam’s health continued to improve—what a lucky dog.