Doggie Detox—Does Your 4-Legged Pal Need One?

Monday Dec 24 | BY |
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Doggie DetoxIs your pet suffering from itching, lethargy, or stomach problems? He or she may need a detox.

If you’re having strong cravings, suffering from exhaustion, finding it hard to focus, or experiencing mood swings, it may be time for a detox. You probably already know that over time, our daily exposure to toxins and chemicals can impair our natural ability to get rid of all these waste materials, leaving us with a heavy “body burden” that can lead to illness. A simple detox diet for a few days can help support natural liver function, improve energy, clean skin, and restore healthy digestion.

If you enjoy the benefits of a detox diet, you may wonder about your best friends—your pets. If humans are surrounded by chemicals every day, aren’t animals, as well?

Fans of holistic pet care believe that many of the health problems we’re seeing in our pets have to do with the overburdening of the liver and kidneys. After all, they are exposed to chemically enhanced pet foods, secondhand cigarette smoke, chlorinated water, pollution, and pesticides just like we are. Symptoms like lethargy, weight gain or loss, skin and respiratory disorders, parasites, infections, and digestive problems could all be related to this toxic overload.

In fact, some preliminary research has confirmed that our pets are even more contaminated with chemicals than we are.

Study Shows Pets Contaminated
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted a study in 2008 and found that American pets are polluted at even higher levels of many of the same synthetic industrial chemicals that researchers have recently found in people. These included food packaging chemicals, heavy metals, fire retardants, and stain-proofing chemicals. Worse, the average levels were substantially higher in pets than is typical in people, with 2.4 times higher levels of stain- and grease-proof coatings (perfluorochemicals) in dogs, and 23 times more fire retardants (PBDEs) in cats.

Researchers also found that dogs were contaminated with 11 carcinogens, 31 chemicals toxic to the reproductive system, and 24 neurotoxins. The EWG stated the carcinogens were particularly concerning, since dogs have much higher rates of many cancers than people do, including 35 times more skin cancer and 8 times more bone cancer.

Cats were contaminated with 9 carcinogens, 40 chemicals toxic to the reproductive system, 34 neurotoxins, and 15 chemicals toxic to the endocrine system. The EWG noted that the growing use of PBDEs in consumer products over the past 30 years has paralleled the rising incidence of hyperthyroidism in cats, with early studies showing PDBEs at higher levels in cats with this disease. Cats are believed to gain an increased exposure to PDBEs through grooming, licking off accumulated dust that can be contaminated with the chemicals.

If you want to help your pets flush out their systems and feel better, what’s the best approach?

Start With Prevention
First of all, you may want to make some changes in your pet’s daily life to reduce exposure to toxins.

  • Provide regular exercise.
  • Avoid chemically based cleaners and insecticides.
  • Use natural flea prevention treatments instead of commercial flea collars.
  • Provide a smoke-free environment; consider using an air purifier.
  • Avoid using chemical cleaners in the areas where your pet frequently lives. Use natural citrus cleaners and essential oils instead.
  • Feed natural, organic pet food and avoid by-products and chemical preservatives.

Some Options for Detox
Once you’ve decided a detox is in order, there are several ways to help your dog or cat feel better. Here are some options, but be sure to check with your veterinarian first to be sure your pet is up for the task.

  • Red Desert Clay for Pets: This edible calcium montmorillonite clay has been featured on Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel as a safe, effective, and gentle detoxifier. It binds to waste products and flushes them out through the colon, while delivering calcium and other nutrients to the system. Try mixing just ¼ teaspoon with your pet’s meal.
  • Probiotics: These can help fortify the health of a pet’s digestive system. A healthy digestive system is key for removing toxins, so try adding probiotics to your pet’s daily meal.
  • Milk thistle: Typically used to heal a damaged liver, this herb can also be useful in a doggie detox.
  • Homeopathy: Lymphomyosot, berberis, and nux vomica are homeopathic remedies recommended for gentle, whole-body detoxification.
  • Dandelion: This is a common detoxifier for humans, and may also help pets as well.
  • Other Herbs: Other herbs that help with detox include burdock root, licorice, and yellow dock, which are safe for both cats and dogs.
  • Chlorella: This single-cell green algae is naturally found in water and linked with health benefits like increased energy and detoxification. Chlorella supplements are safe for dogs and cats—just check with your vet for dosage recommendations.
  • Sam-e: This essential amino acid is recommended for dogs and cats to improve liver metabolic activity and restore proper liver function. You can find pet-friendly supplements online.

Do you have natural detox recommendations for pets? Please share!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Idelle says:

    Avoid plastic dishes. They may have BPA and will affect your pet as much as it would affect you. My blog on how we cured a BPA problem with our 12 lb. yorkie poo.

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