Detoxing your dog

It’s undeniable – we live in a toxic world.

Whether it’s the food we’re eating, the water we’re drinking or just the plain air we’re breathing, it’s getting harder and harder to find a way around the toxins.

And the picture is even sadder for our pets, with the over-vaccination, the kibble, the flea and tick pesticides, the antibiotics … the list never seems to end.

Depressed yet? Well, there is a light at the end of the toxic tunnel, so don’t get too down. There are things we can do to help our pets’ bodies do the amazing work they’re designed to do.

Of course the first step is eliminating the toxins we can control. For instance:

Stop the vaccination madness! More on this, here.

Feed real, whole foods. More on this, here.

Use non-chemical pest repellents. More on this, here.

Don’t take jumping on the antibiotics bandwagon lightly. More on this, here.

Next, you can start boosting the detoxification process.

“If your dog has already had exposure to these things and has lived in the toxic world for some time, you can help ‘clean house’ for her internally,” says Dr Will Falconer DVM.

And it isn’t as complicated as it sounds. In fact, Falconer has five easy tips.

Fasting

Take one day each week to lightly fast your dog. “Mimicking what happens in the wolf, my clients who’ve done this over the years have invariably had the healthiest dogs in my practice,” he says.

Fasting can include:

Pure water

Broth made from whatever you have on hand – for instance, bones, veggies, scraps of meat – but fed as liquid only

Some huge raw bones – sized for your dog’s mouth to present a slow, all-day sucker of sorts

Breaking the fast with a light meal of raw poultry, including bones – maybe a raw cornish game hen, or for the giant dogs, a whole chicken with skeleton, meat and all

Clean Liver

Since the liver is one of the body’s major detoxification organs, it should be supported. Falconer suggests liver formulas that may include silymarin, alpha-lipoic acid, SAMe and B complex, and to consider companies like Standard Process and Thorne Research.

Specifically, Falconer recommends Standard Process Canine Hepatic Support, which is a glandular-based powder you can scoop onto your dog’s food. He also recommends Thorne Research Hepagen-C, which includes silymarin as milk thistle extract, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), alpha-lipoic acid, dimethylglycine (DMG) and curcumin (from turmeric), and are ingredients that aid both phases of liver detoxification and support healthy regeneration of liver cells.

“Silymarin’s most amazing property of protecting the liver has been demonstrated in mice, dogs and humans who ingested the highly toxic mushroom, Amanita phalloides, aka the death cap,” says Falconer. “When taken early, especially in the first 24 hours or less [of] mushroom poisoning, it’s shown 100 percent protection from death. Left untreated, Amanita poisoning mortality is often 30 percent.”

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Support Kidneys

As you look for quality liver supporting formulas, you’ll also want to find some for the kidneys, another important detox organ. You can also add some simple ingredients into your dog’s diet like parsley and cilantro.

To further support the kidneys, always give your dog purified water – so make sure to get a good water filter.

And, here’s a simple diuretic and urinary tract purifier that also helps with liver cleansing:

Parsley Tea – Mince a heaping tablespoon of fresh parsley, stems and all. Boil eight ounces of purified water and pour over the parsley in a glass or ceramic bowl. Allow to steep for 20 minutes. Strain and offer warm to your dog. The dose is simple: as much as is desired. You can offer it three times a day, but if you go beyond a day, make it fresh daily. Traditional uses of parsley tea include treating urinary tract infection, kidney stones and liver, bladder and prostate problems.

Learn more about the benefits of parsley, here.

Gut Support

Good probiotics are key to a healthy dog. And if you’re worried about having to feed dairy to your sensitive dog, there are some good dairy-free options, including water kefir and sauerkraut.

(RELATED – Three Non Dairy Probiotics For Your Dog)

If you think your dog is constipated, it’s a good idea to add a fiber source to meals like canned pumpkin or mashed cooked sweet potato.

(Does your dog suffer from imbalances such as skin disease, food allergies, digestive problems, ear infections, yeast, immune issues or other inflammatory disorders? It could be leaky gut. Click here for our Leaky Gut Guide.)

Skin Support

Since the skin is everyone’s biggest organ of elimination, it’s important to keep it in good working order. Make sure to perform regular, deep brushing with a natural bristle brush on your dog to get the old dead skin cells and hair out of the way. Let your dog swim in spring or fresh water if you have access. And give occasional cleansing baths, but no more than a few times a year.

Yes, we are surrounded by toxins, but there are things we have control of and actions we can take to keep our dogs healthy and capable of dealing with the environmental toxins we can’t control. Be mindful of those detox organs and systems in your dog that are working hard to keep her body clean and it’ll pay off in the long run.