Pets are exposed to more toxins than you might realize. In fact, those toxins are hiding in the products you use every day! Even substances that appear safe, like food and pet-friendly medications, contain chemicals that impact your pet’s health.
Environmental toxins aren’t going away anytime soon. However, pet parents can take steps to improve resiliency against toxins and prevent potentially fatal diseases. Learn about the toxins in your pet’s environment and healthy habits to mitigate their effects.
Common toxins around the home
Dogs and cats encounter toxic substances everywhere they go. Here are the most common toxins in your pet’s environment.
- Household cleaners: It comes as no surprise that ingesting detergent, sprays and scented plug-ins warrant a trip to the emergency vet clinic. However, these common household products can hurt your pet simply through close contact. Pets can inhale toxic chemicals in the air, and they lick trace amounts that get trapped in their fur.
- Medication: Most people carry over-the-counter medication for pain relief and reducing cold symptoms. Some are required to take prescribed drugs for chronic medical conditions. Pet parents must keep these products locked in a high cabinet. Medicine left out in the open can easily fall into the paws of your furry companion. However, even pet-safe medications can prove harmful in large amounts and have toxic effects through standard dosing over time.
- Food: Many pet parents offer table scraps without stopping to wonder if they’re safe for the pet. Some of the most common ingredients hiding in human food are extremely toxic to dogs and cats. If the pet parent doesn’t act fast, the food can quickly prove fatal. Foods to watch out for include chocolate, garlic, onions, grapes and an artificial sweetener called xylitol.
- Pest control products: Pets often walk through areas that have been treated with rodenticide, insecticide or herbicide. The chemicals from these products absorb into your pet’s paw pads while they enjoy a romp through the yard. They might also cross paths with poorly hidden rat bait and taste it out of curiosity.
The effect of toxins in your pet
Environmental toxins such as pesticides, medication and household cleaners contain dangerous molecules called carcinogens. They contribute to chronic low-grade inflammation, which increases your pet’s risk for cancer. Inflammation places stress on the immune system, making it more difficult to fight off abnormal cells. A weak immune system is often a precursor to cancerous growth.
Toxins can also have more immediate health consequences. Your pet can become poisoned if they eat a toxic substance, even if it was just a small amount. Ingesting environmental toxins can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, kidney failure and other symptoms, depending on what they ate. Pet parents must respond quickly as soon as they realize their pet has eaten a toxic substance. Waiting too long can lead to a poor prognosis.
Tips for reducing toxins in the body
Detox pathways in your pet are constantly working to eliminate toxins from the body. Pet parents need to support these pathways to limit the toxic load in their furry companions. Below are some natural ways to cleanse environmental toxins from your pet.
- Limited exposure: The most effective way to protect your pet from toxins is to stop them from entering the body in the first place. Switch to pet-friendly household products and clean up spills before your curious pet can reach them. Store medication, laundry detergent and cleaning spray in a locked cabinet when not in use. If you treated the lawn with fertilizer or herbicide, wipe off your pet’s paw pads with a damp cloth after they come inside.
- Liver detox: The liver is responsible for neutralizing toxins and directing them out of the body. Pets need the occasional detox to help the liver carry out this important job. Milk thistle is a great herb for detoxing the liver because it supports cellular regeneration. You can give your pet milk thistle via capsule or powder form, both of which easily mix into their regular food.
- Kidney support: The kidneys also play a vital role in detoxification. Protect your pet’s kidneys by feeding them nutritious herbs like parsley and dandelion leaves. Both of these plants are diuretics, which stimulates urine production. Urine is one of the main pathways for eliminating toxins from the body. You can sprinkle dried parsley or steamed dandelion leaves on top of your pet’s food. Don’t pick the dandelions in your neighborhood since they might have been sprayed with herbicide!
Despite your best efforts, pets will encounter toxins in their environment. You can’t get rid of toxins forever, but you can limit exposure and cleanse the organs responsible for detoxification. Be proactive with your pet’s health and save them from the negative effects of environmental toxins.