It’s undeniable – we live in a toxic world. And it’s getting harder and harder to find a way around the toxins. They’re in our food, our water and the air we breathe.
And the picture is even sadder for dogs. They’re over-vaccinated. They eat toxic kibble. They’re soaked in flea and tick pesticides. And they’re dosed with antibiotics for any complaint, however minor. The list is never-ending.
Depressed yet? Well, there’s light at the end of the toxic tunnel, so don’t get too down. There are things you can do to help your dog’s body do the amazing work it’s 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 use antibiotics frivolously. More on this here.
Next, you can start boosting your dog’s detoxification process. Here are 5 easy tips.
#1 Fast Your Dog
Take one day each week to fast your dog. In the wild, your dog wouldn’t get to eat every day. So fasting mimics what happens in nature. It gives your dog’s digestive system a break and allows his body to detox.
Fasting can include:
- Pure water – filtered or spring water.
- Broth made from whatever you have on hand … bones, veggies, scraps of meat. But feed the liquid only.
- Some huge raw bones – sized for your dog’s mouth to present a slow, all-day sucker to occupy your dog.
Break the fast with a light meal of raw poultry, including bones. Maybe a raw cornish game hen, or for giant dogs, a whole chicken with bones, meat and all.
RELATED: Why fasting is good for your dog …
#2 Cleanse The Liver
The liver is one of the body’s major detoxification organs. The liver’s main job is to help get toxins out of your dog’s body. So it’s really important to keep the liver running efficiently to avoid liver disease in your dog.
And that means your liver might need some help detoxing itself. Here are some things that help cleanse your dog’s liver.
Detox The Liver With Sulforaphane
Sulforaphane has some powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. It activates the Nrf2 pathway that helps lower chronic inflammation in your dog. It’s important because chronic inflammation is responsible for most disease … including cancer.
And sulforaphane helps detoxify the liver.
Many toxins are fat soluble. So they can accumulate in your dog’s fat cells. If they’re not eliminated, your dog gets constant exposure. And that leads to inflammation and disease.
To move toxins out of the body, the liver goes through two Phases. In Phase I, enzymes convert fat-soluble toxins into water soluble ones. Then, in Phase II, the water-soluble toxins travel to the gall bladder and kidneys to be eliminated.
Sulforaphane triggers Phase II detox. It also activates enzymes that protect your dog’s cells from DNA damage from carcinogens and other toxins. Research shows it protects the liver from many different chemicals, including pharmaceutical drugs.
And it’s easy to give your dog sulforaphane. Broccoli sprouts are a potent source. The sprouts have almost 100 times more sulforaphane than full-grown broccoli. Most research into sulforaphane’s benefits has been done using broccoli sprouts. So all you need to do is add some to your dog’s meals.
How Much Sulforaphane To Give Your Dog
Here’s the amount of sulforaphane your dog should get by weight:
5 – 25 pounds: 1 – 5 mg
25 – 50 pounds: 5 – 10 mg
50 – 100 pounds: 10 – 20 mg
But you don’t need to buy a sulforaphane supplement. An ounce of broccoli sprouts contains about 73mg or ½ cup of sulforaphane. So, depending on your dog’s size, you can give him a pinch to a half cup for a good amount of sulforaphane. It’s just food, so you can’t really overdo it.
Or you can give a broccoli sprout powder. Buy one that’s freeze-dried, because heat kills sulforaphane’s nutrients. Give your dog ….
5 – 25 pounds: 250 mg
25 – 50 pounds: 500 mg
50 – 100 pounds: 1,000 mg
Detox isn’t the only reason to give your dog sulforaphane. Read more at the link below.
RELATED: Why your dog needs sulforaphane …
Use Milk Thistle To Boost The Liver
Milk thistle is also called silymarin. It’s a herb that can help the liver process toxins and avoid liver damage. It stimulates the renewal of liver cells. And it helps cleanse the liver of harmful toxins.
Use milk thistle if your dog’s been exposed to extra toxins. And it can also help if your dog already has liver disease.
But don’t give milk thistle all the time. Most herbalists say you should use it to support the liver when it’s under extra stress. Give it for periods of 3 to 6 weeks and then take a break.
Always buy organic milk thistle if you can. Most health food stores carry it in powder or tincture form.
How Much Milk Thistle To Give
If you buy a product made for dogs, follow the instructions on the label. If you’re using a human product, here’s how to dose:
Milk Thistle Powder Dose For Dogs:
100mg per 10 pounds of body weight, 1 to 4 times daily. Divide the dose equally if you give it more than once a day
Milk Thistle Tincture Dose For Dogs:
1 to 2 drop per 10 pounds of body weight, 1 to 4 times daily. Divide the dose equally if you give it more than once a day
Caution: Don’t give milk thistle to pregnant or lactating dogs. If your dog is on any medications, check with your holistic vet before giving milk thistle.
Feed Liver To Support Your Dog’s Liver
Feeding liver can boost your dog’s liver function. It’s a well-known principle of herbal medicine. Feeding an organ meat helps support that same organ in your dog.
You can give your dog any kind of liver … cow, lamb, pork, goat, chicken, turkey, or duck. It’s all good for him and should make up about 10% of your dog’s diet.
#3 Support The Kidneys
The kidneys are also vital detox organs. Their most important job is to filter out waste and excess fluid from your dog’s body. And when they can’t keep up, your dog can suffer from kidney failure. And if that progresses, it can be life-threatening.
There are some simple things you can do to protect your dog’s kidneys from harm.
Parsley is easy to get … whether you grown your own or buy it at any grocery store. It has gentle diuretic properties that help keep the kidneys operating smoothly. As a bonus, it can also help prevent urinary tract infections and may help ease arthritis.
It’s a very safe herb that’s easy to give your dog. You can sprinkle fresh or dried parsley on his food. Or make a parsley tea that you can give your dog straight or pour over his food.
Mince a heaping tablespoon of fresh parsley, stems and all. Boil 8 oz of purified water. Pour over the parsley in a glass or ceramic bowl. Let it steep for 20 minutes.
Strain and offer warm to your dog.
There’s no limit on how much your dog can have. You can offer it 3 times a day. Make a fresh batch daily.
Parsley tea can help with urinary tract infection, kidney stones and liver, bladder and prostate problems.
Dandelion leaves are another herb that’s naturally diuretic and will keep the kidneys flowing. If you don’t spray your yard with chemicals, you probably have a supply right outside your back door! Otherwise most grocery stores sell dandelion leaves.
You can give your dog dandelion leaves in his food. They should be gently steamed or even sauteed in some butter or olive oil. Or make a tea.
Use 5g to 30g dried herb infused for 5-10 minutes in 8oz water. Cool and strain before serving. Add the tea to food or let your dog drink it straight.
You can use 1/3 of a cup per 20 pounds of your dog’s body weight, up to 3 times a day.
Dandelion root also helps to remove toxins from the body. In fact it’s a great liver tonic as well as supporting the kidneys.
Provide Fresh Water
Giving your dog ample fresh water is always important. But it’s especially helpful to the kidneys. Give your dog fresh spring or filtered water. Never use unfiltered tap water. Clean and refresh your dog’s water bowl daily so the slime doesn’t build up!
With all these kidney cleansing remedies, make sure your dog has plenty of opportunity to go outside. He might need to pee a bit more than usual.
#4 Support The Gut
Good gut health is also important to your dog’s detox process. One of the main ways for toxins to leave the body is in your dog’s poop!
And that means your dog’s gut is part of the process. It doesn’t just process food. The gut also produces hormones and bile for digestion. It absorbs nutrients from food. And it’s an important part of your dog’s ability to fight disease. Because more than 80% of the immune system lives In the gut.
Your dog’s gut is populated with trillions of bacteria that make up his microbiome. And the microbiome helps metabolize toxins from unhealthy gut bacteria.
That means giving your dog pre- and probiotics is important to keep his gut working smoothly. Add a healthy mix of probiotics and their food (called prebiotics) to keep a good balance of friendly gut bacteria.
#5 Help The Skin Detox
The skin is the biggest organ of elimination. So it’s another important organ to keep in good working order.
Give your dog a regular, deep brushing with a natural bristle brush 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. Overdoing bathing can strip important oils out of the skin and coat.
RELATED: Keep bathtime safe for your dog …
Once or twice a year, you can do a special detox bath for your dog. Follow Dr Dee Blanco’s detox bath recipe here.
Yes, we are surrounded by toxins. But now you have a way to help your dog’s body get rid of them. Take care of your dog’s detox organs. They’re working hard to keep his body clean and they could use your help.
[Article]. Ihor Basko DVM CVA. Supporting liver function and detoxification in canibe patients. Innovative Veterinary Care, June 12 2020.
Rajendran, P., Dashwood, WM., Li, L. et al. Nrf2 status affects tumor growth, HDAC3 gene promoter associations, and the response to sulforaphane in the colon. Clin Epigenet 7, 102 (2015).
Yoshida K, Ushida Y, Ishijima T, et al. Broccoli sprout extract induces detoxification-related gene expression and attenuates acute liver injury. World J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(35):10091-10103.
Curran, KM et al. Sulforaphane absorption and histone deacetylase activity following single dosing of broccoli sprout supplement in normal dogs. Veterinary Medicine and ScienceVolume 4, Issue 4, November 2018, Pages 357-363.