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Unravelling the myth of allergies in dogs

Unravelling the myth of allergies in dogs

Why most treatments fail and how you can help your dog

Whenever I mention in one of my articles that 80 percent or more dogs diagnosed with allergies are misdiagnosed these are usually the replies that I get:

'What do you mean, my dog’s allergies are not allergies?! My vet told me so and I can see him having skin problems.'

'What do you mean my dog is not allergic to his diet? I see him react to different foods and all he can eat is a special diet!!'

These questions make me realize that I need to discuss this topic even more.  

Having first-hand experience with allergies as a child and teenager, life forced me to learn and understand what really lies under the surface of conditions that so often are labeled as allergies.

The label of allergies has been used in medicine for conditions that are usually related to skin and/or digestive problems. In medical terms being allergic means that the body produces antibodies against a specific type of protein - such as pollen, seafood, plant etc. The common and harmless protein would not trigger an immune system (allergic reaction) in a healthy individual. However, it does occur in a toxic body with an immune system that is overburdened and overwhelmed. True allergic reactions do happen.  

The first time around, the trigger protein, or allergen, does not cause a problem. The body registers it and erroneously creates antibodies against this harmless protein. The second contact between the protein and the body triggers an antigen-antibody reaction which leads to the release of histamine. Histamine release causes swelling, hives, digestive problems and sometimes even a severe reaction that is called anaphylaxis.

Two problems in the treatment of allergies
  1. While true allergic reactions happen, they are often suppressed by medication such as antihistamines, while the true cause of such reactions is often not addressed. 
  2. A large majority of skin and digestive problems are not caused by antibody-antigen (trigger protein) reactions. However, these conditions are often erroneously labelled as allergies and are still treated with suppressive drugs like antihistamines or steroids or with special diets.

What I would like to focus on today, is the definition of allergies and why conventional treatments usually do not work.

The true cause of allergies

If you think of the word allergies, it is simply a name for a type of overreaction in the body.


Conventional treatment comes in 3 common forms:

  1. Antihistamines and steroids, which suppress the body’s overreaction. I call this treatment “the sleeping pill for the immune system”.
  2. Eliminating the allergen - food, pollen etc.., but not addressing the body. 
  3. Desensitization process - injections or drops that are supposed to make the body get used to the allergen and react less.

While the symptoms may decrease for some time, it is my experience that the body’s tendency to react remains pretty high. Antihistamines and steroids cause serious side-effects. In many ways, they are the equivalent of taking a sleeping pill after noticing a flood in your house. 

Eliminating the allergens is a pretty difficult thing to do. Let's be honest, pollen is everywhere. Most people also know that keeping their dog on a rabbit and squash or a rice diet, or any similar diet, leads to deficiencies. A natural diet should be varied in order to be balanced.

When it  comes to desensitization, I underwent years of it and it didn’t work for me. Neither have I seen it work for dogs. The idea of making the body “numb out” and not react to an allergen sounds pretty good on the surface, but in reality, it could be compared to addressing air pollution by producing more smog in an attempt to make people and animals get used to it. 

The solution is simpler than it seems

As a teenager, I suffered from severe allergies, could not breathe through my nose for months on end, felt constantly exhausted and had endless recurrences of skin rashes and irritation. It was similar to many of my first-time clients who came to me with their allergic dogs. The best part of this is that most of them recover within a matter of weeks and never look back.

The questions you must ask are:

  1. What makes the immune system overreact?

  2. How to address the true core cause of allergies?

  3. How to drop any preconceived beliefs and ideas of allergy treatment? 

Let's step aside from immunology to a real-life situation. What happens to people who get assigned more work than they can handle? They get overwhelmed, exhausted and depressed and overreact to even the slightest thing, for example, a noise or a problem.

Allergies are very similar. The immune system appears to be overreactive and creates antibodies against a harmless pollen or food. Why? Because it is overwhelmed by all the tasks it needs to do and it makes a poor judgement call about what is dangerous and what is not.  

What causes the immune system to become overwhelmed?

It has a lot to do with having too much of some things and not enough of the necessary and beneficial resources.

The “too much part” includes toxins, chemicals, unnecessary vaccines and stress.

The missing resources are minerals, amino-acids, vitamins and other nutrients that the body and the immune system need to be able to function. 

The true solution 

For most dogs with allergies or any disease, the solution can be straightforward and consists of three simple steps:

  1. Detox. 
  2. Provide wholesome nutrients.
  3. Improve the body’s energy flow. 

Follow the steps below to start helping your dog with allergies:

First month

  • Start your dog on a liver cleanse and continue it for six weeks. Follow-up cleanses can be administered for four weeks every six months.
  • Add a canine-specific probiotic to support your dog's digestion and a healthy immune system. 
  • Start your dog on a raw or cooked diet. I suggest you start with less common proteins (beef, buffalo and bison are usually not recommended for dogs with allergies). The purpose of such a diet is not to reduce allergens, but to detox the body and finely tune the immune system.  
  • To understand better what toxicity your dog has and what is missing, ideally, perform a HairQ test.
  • Provide essential minerals, amino-acids and super greens that are in GreenMin.
  • Find an animal chiropractor or physical therapist to evaluate your dog's spinal alignment.
  • Study additional materials on allergies (this is important to understand other areas that need to be addressed).

Second month

  • Add a certified organic multivitamin - SoulFood.

  • When you receive them, evaluate your dog's HairQ test results. Please note that if the results are abnormal you will need to wait 4-6 months after making changes to do a recheck HairQ test as the results are a snapshot of your pup's mineral balance 4-6 months prior to the hair being cut. 

  • By the second month, you should see if the treatment is working.

  • My goal is to provide you as much info as possible here, however, if your dog has been on a lot of medications or their symptoms are more chronic, please join our community by registering for our newsletter, and/or follow us on Facebook for new information on how to keep your dog healthy, naturally. 

Additional recommended readings and information sources

Paw licking and allergies

Is it a food allergy?



© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

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