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Detoxifying my dog? Is it necessary? Some dog parents may wonder. And the answer is a big YES!
Have you noticed that these days, more and more dogs are suffering from an array of chronic diseases, ranging from such common conditions as bad body odor, bad breath, oily fur, to something more serious such as yeast infections, allergies, digestive problems, or even tumors?
These ailments are actually signs indicating that the dogs' bodies are working hard to push out all the toxins that have found their ways into their bodies. In other words, the bodies' are undergoing the process of detoxification.
One of the reasons why more dogs are showing such signs these days is simply because there are more toxins in our environments now than in the past.
If you take a look at your environment, it is not difficult to identify toxins. For example:
The list goes on. These toxins can get into our dogs through inhalation, absorption through their skin, or accidental ingestion.
Moreover, unknowingly, we may even be feeding our dogs toxins in the form of:
For dogs who are young and healthy, the body's complex and sophisticated detoxification system can eliminate toxins and wastes efficiently through its waste removal organs (e.g. the kidneys, liver, skin, as well as the lymphatic and immune systems).
But if a dog has weakened or compromised waste removal systems due to, say, an injury, disease, or simply old age, or if there are just too many toxins to be removed, the body may have to use other ways to get rid of the waste and toxins.
For example, if the body tries to eliminate the excess toxins through the skin, this may result in various skin conditions such as dry skin, dandruff, itch, etc.
If the body tries to eliminate the toxins through mucous membranes, the dog may have teary eyes, runny nose, or mucus discharge at the rectum or urethra.
When even the above elimination efforts fail and the body is overwhelmed with too many toxins, it has no other choice but to store the waste and toxins until "later" when there is less burden on the systems.
The problem is, it is possible that "later" never comes, and toxins remain in the body indefinitely. These harmful substances eventually can cause numerous serious health problems, such as arthritis, chronic allergy and inflammation, yeast infections, to even cancer.
Fortunately, we can help our dog build up stronger body systems so that they are able to remove most toxins, thus allowing the dog to stay healthier longer.
There are a good number of herbs that you can use to help your dog detox. In particular, herbs that support and strengthen toxin-removal organs (the liver, kidneys, lymphatic and immune systems) are beneficial.
Herbs that strengthen the liver include burdock root, dandelion root, turmeric, milk thistle, licorice, Oregon grape, and yellow dock. They not only strengthen the liver but may also help improve digestion.
As well, these herbs act as "blood-cleansers". They improve the body's abilities to remove toxins from the blood.
Herbs that support kidney functions include marshmallow, corn silk, and cranberry. The diuretic and antibacterial properties of these herbs greatly help the kidneys to remove toxins from the body.
Herbs beneficial to the lymphatic system include red clover and cleavers. They help support the lymphatic system clear toxins from the tissues.
Toxins also accumulate in intestines. To help with the removal of intestinal mucus and the toxins it collects, ground flaxseed is effective.
Immune-support herbs such as garlic, echinacea, or astragalus are also essential as one component of the dog detox herbal remedy.
This herbal product contains herb extracts of burdock, red clover, slippery elm, and more. It is a great and effective remedy for dog detox.
Supplements are also essential to detoxify the dog's body. You may have heard about all the good things that "greens" do to our bodies. In fact, greens are good for our dogs as well!
If you feed your dog a commercial diet, chances are it does not contain enough "greens", such as kelp, spirulina, and other veggies such as kale and spinach.
Chlorophyll that makes the "greens" green is a natural cleanser. Research has shown that chlorophyll helps reverse a wide array of health disorders affecting many organs, such as the skin, intestines, and liver. That's why adding a "green supplement" to your dog's diet is essential for detoxification.
This formula contains "greens" such as chlorella, blue-green algae and spirulina; herbs such as alfalfa and turmeric, as well as various vitamins and minerals. Great for dogs who need detoxification and immune-system strengthening.
Besides using herbs and supplements for dog detox, we should also provide our dogs with good food, fresh water, and the opportunity to exercise daily.
Perhaps this is one of the most important yet simple things for us to do to help improve our dog's well-being.
If you are still giving your dog commercial pet food bought at suppermarkets, you are in essence feeding your dog a dose of chemical additives, artificial colors and flavors with every bite. These chemicals are toxic indigestible ingredients that will pile up in your dog's body, causing loads of health problem down the road.
Switch to a natural, organic diet and give your dog only all natural dog treats. You will soon notice a big change in your dog's overall health if you do so.
To help expedite elimination of waste, regular fasting may be necessary. To do that, it is advisable to work with a holistic vet. Based on your dog's age and health conditions, the holistic vet will advise you on the most appropriate way (e.g. how long, how frequent) to fast your dog.
Besides good food, clean, fresh drinking water is also important for detoxification.
Some dogs do not drink enough water on their own. Therefore, if necessary, you need to encourage your dog to drink lots of clean filtered water.
If you go hiking, bring some drinking water for your dog. Do not allow your dog to drink from streams or rivers as they may contain bacteria and/or parasites.
A daily workout has many benefits for your dog. Regular exercise promotes regular bowel movements so that wastes can be removed via the digestive tract in a timely manner.
Exercise also stimulates blood circulation as well as the movement of lymph fluid, so that toxins can be carried to organs of detoxification (e.g. liver, kidneys) efficiently.
Besides getting rid of toxins from inside our dogs' bodies, we should also try to eliminate toxins in our environments as much as possible.
As mentioned above, your dog can get in contact with a lot of chemicals and pollutants even in his living environment.
For example, lawn chemicals, household cleaners, secondhand cigarette smoke, and so on. It is therefore necessary to take a hard look at your environment. Remove, whenever possible, things that present the potential of causing toxic excess in the body. Use natural products as much as possible.
Also, try to use natural pet products whenever possible.
Conventional tick and flea control products contain tons of toxic compounds, so do many conventional medications, including vaccines. Of course, it doesn't mean that you should reject the use of all conventional meds.
The best approach is to better educate yourself so that you know when to say "no" to unnecessary drugs or prolonged use of certain strong medications (e.g. steroids). If there is a safer and milder natural alternative treatment, ask your vet about it.
(Access this page for some ways to control fleas naturally and this page for natural tick and flea products.)
As your dog's body is going through the process of detoxification, you may notice some physical changes in your dog. For example, he may develop symptoms like a runny nose or changes in bowel function or appetite.
Such symptoms are "healthy signs" and are temporary. They should subside in a few days.
If you use some remedies to help your dog detox, observe him closely. Stop any remedy if you notice any symptoms that concern you, and consult with a holistic veterinarian for appropriate guidance.