Veterinarian Reviewed on March 29, 2014 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
You’ve probably heard of the detoxification for humans, but what about dogs? Dogs are regularly exposed to chemicals that can be harmful to them, whether it be from pollution they get from the environment (smog, etc.), chemicals in the water, chemicals used around the home, Dog Lawn Chemicals and pesticides, contaminants in food — and the list goes on. Again, we humans often hear that we should detoxify when we’re exposed to these chemicals, but what about our beloved dogs? The simple fact is, they need detoxification as much as we do.
As with humans, dogs can experience a variety of health problems as a result of exposure to toxins, including problems like Dog Cancer. Fortunately, there are some relatively easy things you can do to help your dog detoxify. You should always consult with your veterinarian before you try a detoxification program, but it’s likely that a good vet will be able to point you in the right direction for herbal and other types of detoxification’s, if not assist you with an actual program you can use yourself at home.
What are some detoxifications you can use safely on a regular basis with your dog to keep him or her healthy?
Especially if your dog has shown high liver enzymes on blood tests, or may be taking medications that affect the liver like phenobarbital or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, detoxification is good idea. It’s also a good idea to help your dog with a detoxification if he or she has recently undergone general anesthesia, such as that used for spaying or neutering, or teeth cleaning. To much toxicity could lead to Dog Liver Disease.
Milk thistle is one of the best overall body detoxifying agents, and it’s gentle and effective. It supports the liver by reducing inflammation and stress, and in helping with liver cell regeneration.
“Whole body” support, including the liver:
Dog Antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin C also help to boost immune system function and help with liver detoxification. The mineral zinc is also an immune system strengthener.
Other herbs like burdock and garlic (used sparingly) can also help strengthen liver and help with detoxification. (It should be noted that although garlic can be used with dogs especially as an occasional tonic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal agent, and detoxifying agents, it should not be used on a regular basis because too much can lead to a dangerous disease called Dog Hemolytic Anemia.)
Consulting your veterinarian:
Especially if your dog is older or greatly debilitated, a detoxification may actually introduce stress to the system that your dog can’t handle. Make sure you consult with a holistic veterinarian versed in alternative therapies before you undertake a detoxification for your dog by yourself. Done right, though, detoxification can be every bit as beneficial to your dog as it is to you — and it can lead to a longer, healthier, and happier life for your dog.
The best “detoxification” comes in prevention
Although you may need to help your dog undergo a detoxifying process on a regular basis, one of the best ways to help your dog stay healthy is to minimize the amount of toxins he or she ingests. Don’t use chemical pesticides or cleaners in your home, minimize environmental exposure whenever possible, and provide your dog with pure water and high-quality food — all things you do to minimize your own exposure to toxins, as well. What’s good for your dog is good for you.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan