Each year, in our house, we do a deep clean when the seasons change. Call it spring cleaning if you will (only we do it 4 times a year). And by this I don’t mean the house. Yes, we do that too, but our big seasonal cleanses are more focused on our bodies. And we don’t mean just a human detox – we do a dog detox too! Everyone joins in the fun.
Well, every day, our adored beasts encounter numerous environmental and chemical toxins. These can come from inside the home, out in the yard, in the car, and just the big wide world in general.
And our dogs are just as susceptible to the damage these toxins do as we are…
Toxins in Your Dog’s World
When we talk about toxins, there are so many different things that can be an issue:
- pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate – which is literally everywhere: in food, in our drinking water, in bodies of water, in forests, in backyards, on walking trails…
- cleaning products
- food additives
- exhaust fumes
- flea and tick meds
- shampoos and grooming products
- household deodorizers
- chemical fire retardants
- and the list literally goes on and on…
Your pet’s body, like your own, is built to detox on the regular. Sweating, urinating, and defecating are all ways that our bodies get rid of the toxins we take in.
Much of our detoxification is done in 3 body systems: organs (liver and kidneys), the gut, and the skin. These systems help to filter out the nasty substances in the body, helping to clear the build-up.
The problem is, that build-up really builds up. And we really mean up and up. If your dog’s toxic load (the harmful chemicals that accumulate in the body) is too much to handle, these systems are not going to be able to perform at their optimal level.
This isn’t little league performance we’re talking about. We need Olympic-caliber performance.
When the burden on your pet’s organs gets too heavy, they can become sluggish. Eventually they won’t be able to keep up and that toxic build-up can lead to serious, long-term illness.
Signs it’s Time for a Dog Detox
Unfortunately our dogs can’t exactly “tell” us when they’re feeling sluggish. But if we pay attention, they are speaking volumes.
At first, these are signs the body may be struggling with an overload of toxins in the body:
- Runny eyes
- Dry, flaky skin
- Dull fur
- Bad breath
- Lumps and bumps on the skin
Over time, if left unchecked, you may notice:
- Stomach upset
- Behavioural issues
Then, as things get continuously overloaded, you’ll see:
- Lowered immune functioning
- Sluggish liver function
- Heart disease
- Overall decrease in organ function
- Auto-immune diseases
Being aware of these potential results of toxic build-up is why we do a gentle dog detox a few times a year. This helps to keep our pets’ organs (and overall health) in good shape!
So, here’s how we do it…
How to Help Your Dog Detox Naturally
Our founder Julie Anne Lee’s mantra is “above all, do no harm” and she’s not a big supporter of intense detoxification. What follows is a safe, gentle, effective way to detoxify the body.
These are things to help all year long, and at specific intervals throughout the year. Even small, simple changes can help your dog detox.
1. Clear Out the Chemicals
To help the body NOT feel overburdened by toxins, it’s always a good idea to clear them out whenever possible. To start your detoxing journey, go through your home and your daily routine and remove as many things as possible that are contributing to both yours and your dog’s toxic load.
- Reduce or eliminate those chemical-based cleaners, detergents, and deodorizers. We make and use our own as much as possible – here are a few recipes we love
- Look for more natural shampoos and grooming supplies
- Skip the lawn chemicals for pest control and go for natural options like diatomaceous earth or nematodes
***The same goes for our cats! They’re just as close to these chemicals as our dogs – they lay on the floor, on the counter, out in the grass, and their sense of smell is just as finely-tuned.
2. A Focus on Food
Far too many of the chemicals we take in come from food. And our dogs are no different. The additives and ingredients used in processed foods are a big problem. Think less is more here – the fewer additives and fillers in your dog’s food the better. Try to feed the highest quality diet you can afford.
- Add fresh, whole foods to your pet’s bowl on a regular basis
- Purchase organic whenever you can (lots of farmers’ markets now are offering spray-free vegetables, which are a great alternative to organic from a cost perspective)
- Look for limited ingredient treats or make your own
- Feed more antioxidants to help fight free radical damage caused by chemicals. Antioxidants also aid immune system function and give those cleansing systems a boost. Berries, cruciferous vegetables, and antioxidant powerhouse Phytoplankton are all great.
3. The Exercise Element
This is another one for the daily detox.
Fresh air works wonders for the body, and giving your pet’s lungs a good workout helps improve circulation and reduce stress. Perhaps even more important for detoxing though, exercise helps keep the intestines and colon moving well, allowing for the removal of waste from the body. Exercise also helps detox the lungs and blood!
And remember, that goes for all family members – not just the furry ones! Get walking.
4. What’s in the Water?
Water is crucial for the proper functioning of the body. It regulates body temperature, lubricates the joints, aids digestion and nutrient absorption, and detoxifies by transporting waste from the body. Staying properly hydrated is important for detoxification.
But did you know that most tap water contains numerous chemicals like fluoride and chlorine? It’s true. And these can negatively affect the good bacteria in your dog’s gut. Give your dog fresh spring or filtered water. Make sure that it’s NOT de-mineralized filtered water. Never use unfiltered tap water. And don’t forget to clean your dog’s water bowl regularly so the slime doesn’t build up!
5. Love to the Liver and Kidneys
The liver’s primary job is to get rid of toxins in the body. It also plays a role in bile production, metabolism, enzyme activation, and vitamin storage – all of which are essential for proper digestion. It’s really important to keep the liver running efficiently to avoid liver disease and other issues.
Also, don’t forget about that other set of critical detoxification organs – the kidneys. This pair filters toxins out of your pet’s body up to 70 times a day! It’s very important that this system is supported.
These are some of the best herbs for cleansing and detoxifying the liver and kidneys.
- Milk thistle works to stabilize liver cell membranes and acts as an antioxidant to protect liver cells from free radical damage.
- Powder: 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
- Tincture: 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
*Don’t use this all the time unless your animal has a chronic liver disease (speak to your vet) – a few times a year is good. Also, don’t give to pregnant or lactating animals
- Parsley isn’t only good for flavouring your favourite dishes. It can freshen your dog’s breath and help support the kidneys. Its diuretic properties help it filter toxins through the body and out through urine. Chop up and add a few pinches of fresh parsley to your dog’s meals on a regular basis.
- Dandelion root supports bile secretion and healthy digestion, as well as healthy liver and kidney function. It also supports the removal of toxins from the body. With dried dandelion root, work up to 1 tsp per 20 lbs of weight. With dandelion root, be careful with dogs on diuretics – speak with your vet first.
In our house, we use the Adored Beast Liver Tonic for our seasonal detoxes. It supports the health of the liver and kidneys by helping regenerate healthy liver cells and boosting the organs’ ability to filter toxins from the blood and waste from the body. It contains milk thistle and dandelion root, as well as barberry and greater celandine.
Both you and you furry family members can benefit greatly from a clean out – both of your environment and your body. A gentle dog detox can really help to give overtaxed systems a break, and keep them running in tip-top shape. This can help prevent chronic disease and illness for everyone.