How Do You Know When Your Dog Needs a Detox?

How Do You Know When Your Dog Needs a Detox?

Think about the daily routine of your dogs. They go for walks, roll in the grass, chew on toys, and eat practically everything—whether it’s edible or not. Such activities are part of a typical day for dogs, and pet owners don’t give it much thought.

However, almost everything that dogs interact with contains toxins. Grass at the dog park might have been treated with pesticides. Your dog might gnaw off a hunk of plastic and mistake it for a tasty treat. Both you and your dog breathe polluted air while going for a walk.

Living in an environment filled with toxins doesn’t make you a bad pet owner. Toxins are everywhere and impossible to avoid. That’s why dogs and humans alike have organs that get rid of them! But your furry friends can’t do it on their own. A detox might help your pup rid their body of toxins for a healthier life.

Why does your dog need a detox?

It’s important to integrate detox efforts into your dog’s health regimen. Detox methods tend to fly under pet owners’ radars for a couple reasons. First, toxins are invisible to the eye. Also, pet owners have little knowledge about how toxins affect their dogs. But if owners remain unaware of toxins, it can result in health consequences.

Dogs heavily afflicted by toxins might experience thyroid problems. A hypoactive thyroid develops when toxins block the thyroid hormones in the body. This slows down the metabolism and causes dogs to become overweight. If you’re struggling to keep your dog’s weight under control, it might be time to see a vet.

Dogs are also exposed to many more toxins than humans, and they metabolize them slower, too. This is particularly the case with medications. While it’s important for dogs to receive vaccines, pet owners must be aware of what’s in them. Two common toxins found in vaccines are aluminum and mercury. Thus, every pet owner should think about detoxing their four-legged friends.

Because dogs interact with toxins on a daily basis, you shouldn’t wait to notice symptoms of health problems before you implement detox measures. Instead, detoxing should be a regular occurrence that is implemented through a healthy diet and supplementation. If you begin to notice health problems occurring in your pet, a detox might be a good way to help cleanse the support the body’s systems.

A sick brown dog with a hot water bottle

What does a detox entail?

Before you jump into detoxing your dog, you’ll need to do a little research. That way, they’ll get the most out of the detox regimen. Your dog has four main organs that remove toxins from their body. Their functions are different, which means each organ requires special care.

  • Liver: The liver breaks down fat-soluble toxins. These include prescription drugs, food additives, chemicals found in household items and agricultural products like herbicides. The toxins become water-soluble and exit the body through urine and the bowels. Your dog’s liver uses nutrients to process these toxins, so a healthy diet is crucial.
  • Kidney: Kidneys are like a filtration system. They absorb the good stuff dogs need and let toxins pass through the body. The kidney is where dogs take in the amino acids, minerals and water from their food. If the kidneys are not functioning properly, they retain toxins but expel water. This can make your dog dehydrated and warrants a check-in with the vet.
  • Gastrointestinal tract: The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is the final step in expelling toxins from the body. Much like the kidneys, it absorbs nutrients and vitamins. It also provides hormones and bile that help digest food. Within your dog’s GI tract is the microbiome, which breaks down toxins released by bacteria. If your dog experiences abnormal bowel movements, there might be complications within their GI tract.
  • Skin: A dog’s skin is their largest detox organ. It’s the first to make contact with toxins, and it experiences those most frequently. Just like with humans, their skin sheds dead cells, dirt, bacteria and, you guessed it, toxins. While dogs don’t use their pores to sweat, they allow toxins to exit the body.

How to perform a doggy detox

There’s a different detox method for each of the four organs. These methods are designed to bolster the organs’ functionality and maintain proper toxin removal.

  • Liver: To take care of the liver, your dog needs a diet rich in vitamins A, B, C and E. Trace minerals such as selenium, copper, zinc and manganese also help. You can use milk thistle, but only in small amounts as directed by your vet. Your vet might recommend supplementing this diet with a liver formula, as well. You should administer formulas for one month, then hold off for a month. If your dog becomes sick, stop giving them the formula altogether.
  • Kidneys: There’s not much you need to do for your dog’s kidney aside from making sure they’re drinking enough water, especially during dry seasons, and watching out for signs of kidney disease.
  • Gastrointestinal tract: To promote a healthy GI tract, add probiotics to your dog’s food. Recommended families of probiotics include Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and a yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii.
  • Skin: How often you give your dog a bath to take care of their skin depends on how much time they spend outdoors. If you frequent dog parks or live on a farm, bathing them once a month is ideal.

These simple detox methods will give you a happier and healthier furry companion. Toxins are a part of life, but your dog is counting on you to minimize the effects on their health.