Why Do So Many Dogs Have Allergies Lately?

Dog sitting near flowers

You’ve lived with your dog for years, but suddenly he starts to scratch incessantly, his eyes water, and his skin becomes inflamed. This is not the happy, playful pet you’re used to seeing. You get worried, take him to the vet, and get the unexpected news: your dog has developed allergies.

Why do so many dogs have allergies? It’s a question that has been nagging at the minds of countless pet lovers. It’s as if these allergies just came out of nowhere. One day our dogs are frolicking in the park, the next, they are sneezing, wheezing, and scratching. So, what’s going on? Is it something in the air or their food, or is it a case of us just becoming more aware?

The Rise of Canine Allergies

The first aspect we must consider is the apparent rise in canine allergies. Many vets and pet owners alike have noted an increase in dogs presenting with allergy symptoms over recent years. But why is this happening?

One reason could be that we are simply becoming more aware of the signs of allergies in dogs. This is largely thanks to the wealth of information available on the internet and the increase in communication between pet owners across various social platforms. As we become more educated about the health of our pets, we are better able to identify when something is amiss.

However, increased awareness alone does not fully explain the surge in canine allergies. There’s more to the story. Environmental changes, shifts in canine diets, and even selective breeding could all play a role in this allergy epidemic.

Environmental Factors

The world around us is changing rapidly, and this is impacting our dogs, too. The rise in pollution, exposure to various chemicals, and even climate change are all suspected to contribute to the surge in canine allergies.

Think about it. Our dogs are exposed to a plethora of potential allergens every day, from dust and pollen to cleaning products and even certain materials found in their toys. As pollution levels rise, so too does the concentration of these potential allergens in the environment. This can trigger an allergic response in our furry friends.

On top of this, climate change is altering the timing and intensity of pollen seasons, which can exacerbate seasonal allergies in dogs. So, while our dogs may not be directly contributing to global warming, they are certainly feeling its effects.

Canine Diets

Just as the environment has changed, so too have the diets of our dogs. Today, many dogs are fed commercial dog food, which can contain a variety of ingredients that a dog’s system may not be accustomed to processing. These can include grains like wheat or corn, certain proteins, artificial colors, and preservatives.

These ingredients can cause food allergies in dogs. Some dogs may also develop food intolerances, which, while not true allergies, can still cause symptoms like gastrointestinal upset and skin irritation. If you’ve noticed your dog scratching more after meal times or having frequent bouts of diarrhea, a food allergy could be the culprit.

That’s not to say that all commercial dog food is bad, of course. Many brands produce high-quality, hypoallergenic food that can be a good option for dogs with food allergies. But it’s always worth discussing your dog’s diet with your vet if you’re concerned about potential allergies.

Genetics and Breeding

Last but not least, we must consider the role of genetics and selective breeding in the rise of canine allergies. Some dog breeds are simply more prone to allergies than others. This could be due to genetic predispositions that have been passed down through generations.

Furthermore, selective breeding for certain traits can inadvertently increase the risk of allergies. For example, if a dog breed is selected for its soft, fluffy coat, those same genetic traits could make the breed more susceptible to skin allergies.

However, it’s important to note that any dog, regardless of breed, can develop allergies. It’s always important to keep a close eye on your pet’s health and consult your vet if you notice any signs of allergies.


So, why do so many dogs have allergies? The answer is complex. It’s a combination of increased awareness, changes in the environment, shifts in canine diets, and genetic factors.

It’s important to remember that our dogs rely on us to keep them healthy. They can’t tell us when something is wrong, but they show us through their behavior. It’s up to us to pay attention, recognize the signs, and seek veterinary care when needed.

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