Welcome to the Dogster Book Chat, where we take a look at a new book — nonfiction or fiction — that we believe Dogster readers will want to read. We’d love to hear your own review of the book in the comment section below! This Dogster Book Chat takes a look at a new book on a hot topic: dog allergies.
Hot spots, itchy skin and ear infections are just a few of the issues our Dogster readers have told us their dogs have. No surprise, as I’ve had dogs with those issues too. The worst was when our dog Sprey developed food sensitivities. We finally got the symptoms – dog hot spots, dog itchy skin and dog yeast infections — under control after we removed all poultry from her diet. Flea allergies in dogs are also quite common with our readers, and our dog Sprey had that, too. Nothing is more frustrating than dog allergies. Needless to say, I was quite interested in taking a look at The Allergic Pet: Holistic Solutions to End the Allergy Epidemic in Our Dogs and Cats by Deva Khalsa, VMD and published by CompanionHouse Books.
This is a four-color paperback book with a holistic approach to dog allergies. It’s 224-pages long and split into three parts: Telling the Story, Solutions for Allergies and Intolerances, and Finding Food that Works. There are also three helpful Appendixes: Core and Noncore Dog and Cat Vaccines, A Guide to Administering Homeopathic Remedies and Allergy Elimination 4 Pets Procedure. The book is filled with photos plus helpful callouts on Did You Know facts. All of this makes for a much easier read. And for those looking for dog home remedies/dog homeopathic remedies for skin problems, there is a natural approach section to fixing the itch in Chapter 13, with about 25 different suggestions.
A veterinarian for more than 25 years, Dr. Deva Khalsa has been a holistic veterinarian, consultant and lecturer. Her consultant practice incorporates homeopathy, acupuncture and Chinese herbs. She also gives nutritional advice and has her own Allergy Elimination 4 Pets technique, which reprograms her pet patient’s system so he or she would “no longer experience allergic reactions to the identified foods and environmental triggers.”
She’s written a number of books and magazine articles, which is how I first heard of her. She had written about dog skin allergies and dog itchy skin for Dogster back in 2011 (when we were Dog Fancy) and our sister publication at the time, Dog World. She also wrote the book Dr. Khalsa’s Natural Dog, which is still in my library today.
I’m so happy that Dr. Khalsa takes the time in Chapter 3 to explain the differences between dog food allergies and dog food sensitivities (also called dog food intolerances). Even though everyone says dog food allergies, what most really mean are dog food sensitivities, which Dr. Khalsa says, “are 15 times more common than food allergies.”
She explains that pet owners and veterinarians tend to bunch them all into the category of dog allergies. This can cause problems if your dog is having an issue and you are trying to find the right solution — it’s different for a dog food allergy versus a dog food sensitivity. The whole first section of the book gives you an easy-to-read understanding of what you and your dog are dealing with if there is itchy skin on your dog, a skin infection on your dog, hot spots on your dog, dog ear infections, dog chronic diarrhea and more.
“I’ve found that food allergies form the important base of the pyramid with all of the environmental allergens piled on top,” Dr. Khalsa writes. “When a dog comes to my practice itching ferociously from fleas, I know that the flea is not the sole cause of the problem. The flea sits on the top of the pyramid and is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”
Section two is all about solutions for dog allergies and intolerances plus dog diarrhea, vomiting and constipation. She also discusses dog flea and tick protection, dog environmental toxins and dog allergy impersonators. She delves into drug dependence and influential organs and glands. Although this may be the section you want to jump right into, the first section is an easy read and helps you get a basic understanding of your dog’s situation.
The book wraps up with advice on best dog food for allergies, including how much to feed your dog and what not to feed your dog. There are even about 17 dog allergy food recipes, which all looked simple enough for even the most basic of cooks.
We’re so lucky to have been able to discuss the book directly with Dr. Khalsa to give the Dogster Book Chat readers even more insight to the book.
Q: Why do you believe this book needed to be written?
Dr. Khalsa: Allergies have become a true epidemic in our pets, both dogs and cats. These allergies can manifest as itching, chronic diarrhea or GI problems and asthma. The pet owner resolves that for the rest of their pet’s life, they have to be on a careful diet, and often these pets are now on medications like Apoquel for life. Additionally, allergies are starting at a much younger age. Dogs at 3 or 6 months will have allergies and begin treatment. Importantly, as an allergy means the immune system is misbehaving, these treatments target and attack their very immune systems. With one in two dogs getting cancer, the whole system is doomed to produce immune-compromised dogs and cats, and this will play onward into the future generations of our pets.
Q: What are a couple of surprising takeaways from this book?
Dr. Khalsa: Pet owners need to take their pet’s health into their own hands. To start this path is to educate themselves so that they can dialogue with their veterinarians. I am not the only highly qualified veterinarian who has observed that veterinary medicine has degraded into a corporate entity that puts patients through a production line. Most of the vaccinations that pets get are totally unnecessary. One puppy shot after 18 weeks of age provides immunity for life from Distemper and Parvo. Yet, these vaccinations are creating allergic animals. It’s high time that pet owners learn how to prevent disease and effectively eliminate allergies with dependable holistic alternatives.
Q: What would you say to those readers who are unfamiliar with holistic practices about the benefits to the holistic approach?
Dr. Khalsa: My first book, The Natural Dog, truly educates readers on the holistic perspective and the history of holistic treatments all over the world. It all starts to make sense to them. I recommend reading The Natural Dog first. The Allergic Pet goes over all the parameters involved in allergies, from prevention to curing the most intractable cases.
Q: What do you hope a reader will gain by reading the book?
Dr. Khalsa: Knowledge of how health really works in their pets and a determination, along with a new confidence, to be involved in the decisions affecting their pet’s heath care.
Q: Do you have any new projects or books that you’d like to share with our readers?
Dr. Khalsa: I have an idea to travel the world and interview people in preparation for a comprehensive book on cancer in our pets.
Q: How can our readers follow you on social media?
Dr. Khalsa: Honestly, I look at Facebook twice a year, if that. I have a website,which has 34 free videos and many more magazine articles in addition to a bevy of holistic health advice. I have another website on the Allergy Elimination 4 Pets program, which has lots of data on allergies, food sensitivities and intolerances and allergy look-alike diseases. Deserving Pets is a site where products that have been tested and qualified are for sale, with many effective and less commonly available allergy products.