Column: Prepping for pet allergies


Commentary by Dr. Michael Graves

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you are already likely dealing with the onset of hay fever, those allergy symptoms in late summer caused by ragweed. The lingering heat and humidity we are experiencing can make sneezing, runny noses and itchy eyes last even longer. But what about our pets?

Yes, dogs and cats can be allergic to grasses, trees, weeds, mold, dander, dust and dust mites, too. And they can show allergy symptoms similar to humans. The difference is they experience most of those symptoms through their skin. Here’s what to watch out for:

  • Reddened, irritated skin
  • Severe, body-wide itching
  • Scooting or sores on the skin
  • Excessive biting, licking and scratching
  • Inflamed ears and chronic ear infections

There are some things you can do at home to help keep your pet comfortable when it comes to allergies. When they come in from outside, take a damp towel to wipe their feet, which can decrease allergen loads. Adding essential vitamins like omega-3 and omega-6 to their diet also can help support skin health in your furry family member.

And, of course, if your pet is uncomfortable and finding no relief, make sure to contact your local veterinarian, who can prescribe a medication — like Apoquel, a daily oral medication, or Cytopoint, a long-acting injection — to help alleviate and manage the symptoms. For more about Pet Wellness Clinics, visit

Dr. Michael Graves, founder and chief executive officer of Pet Wellness Clinics, graduated from the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1982. He has been active in small animal medicine for more than 37 years and has owned and operated more than 20 small animal practices in his veterinary medical career in addition to managing and consulting with another 54 hospitals nationwide.