Dog Liver Home Remedies: there are several home remedies for liver problems in dogs, but they mostly aim to manage liver disease rather than totally cure it. However, when caught early and nourished with natural remedies, sometimes it shows the remarkable ability to regenerate its damaged cells restoring dogs to better health.
The liver is the dog’s largest organ and it carries out a vast array of tasks, which makes it very important for a dog’s overall health. It stores nutrients, processes food, manufactures hormones and filters toxic substances as found in medications and unhealthy diets. To put it simply, it’s the most effective detoxification system out there and it’s built to withstand a lifetime of waste.
However, this organ also has its limits. Expose it to a toxic overload or harmful bacteria and viruses and it will eventually start shutting down which predisposes it to failure. Common causes of liver problems include the administration of steroids, anesthetics, exposure to pesticides, heavy metals, cigarette smoke and food additives. Bacteria and viruses may also play a role in liver problems.
The liver is an organ that lives in silence for most of the dog’s life until it starts giving problems. Unfortunately, dogs start showing signs of liver problems when liver disease is already advanced. Since the body’s ability to detox is reduced, toxins accumulate in the blood leading to a variety of symptoms.
Symptoms suggesting liver problems in dogs include loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting repeatedly, diarrhea that is recurrent, lethargy, behavior changes, swollen abdomen (ascites) and ears, gums and eyes that appear to be slightly yellow due to the accumulation of biliburin.
Home Remedies for Liver Problems
Whether suffering from acute liver problems or chronic ones, all dogs with liver disease should be under veterinary care. Dietary changes can help a great deal and there are several natural herbs that can help this organ.
Feed a Better Diet
A compromised liver will have a hard time coping with all the additives, artificial flavors and preservatives found in today’s commercial diets. A homemade diet or a high-quality commercial diet free of harmful ingredients can lower the burden on the liver. While protein was once thought to be harmful to dogs with liver problems, nowadays protein appears beneficial if it comes from a high-quality, easy to digest protein source.
According to Merck Veterinary Manual protein requirements are actually as high or even higher in dogs with liver disease. It should be restricted only in dogs with protein intolerance as seen in dogs with portosystemic shunts or hepatic encephalopathy, explains David Twedt, a board-certified veterinarian specializing in internal medicine. The addition of antioxidants such as vitamin E and C is helpful. Consult with a nutrition professional for the best diet for your dog’s liver condition.
Feed More Often
Ever felt the effect of eating a big meal? A dog with a compromised liver will feel it even more. For dogs with liver problems it’s best to feed small amounts often as large meals put more of a workload on the liver. Three to four small meals a day can significantly lighten up the burden. The smaller meals also help maintain good glucose concentrations throughout the day, further adds Dr Twedt.
Liver Cleansing Homemade Diet
This diet is recommended by Dr Jean Dodds and should be given after testing your dog for food intolerance using Nutriscan. Use 25 percent pollack, cod or low fat white fish to 75 percent vegetables and potatoes. If your dog doesn’t like fish or is intolerant to it, you can substitute with chicken, turkey or pork. The Phase 1 recipe for a 15 to 18 pound dog would require 1 and 1/2 cup of white boiled potatoes, 1 and 1/2 cup boiled sweet potatoes, 2 cups pollack poached in frying pan with water. In phase 2 you would then add vegetables as tolerated. For example, to the 1 and 1/2 cup of white potatoes, 1 and 1/2 cup sweet potatoes and 2 cups pollack you would add 1 and 1/2 cup zucchini, 1 and 1/2 cup green beans. Feed 3 to 4 times a day and you can add to it liver supplements.
Good Drinking Water
Water helps flush harmful toxins, so it’s good to encourage your dog to drink often. The water your dog drinks though can make a big difference. If you give tap water, that’s laden with chemicals and heavy metals. Best to offer filtered water to your dog.
This herbal supplement has been known to help liver issues for more than 2,000 years. Also known as St Mary’s thistle, this herb is a powerful antioxidant and liver cleanser. It helps detoxify and aids in the liver repairing process. In particular, milk thistle, (Silymarin) has shown the ability to protect the liver from damage derived from exposure to toxins and administration of corticosteroids, explains Susan Eddlestone, a board-certified veterinarian specializing in internal medicine. Milk thistle is now available for owners of dogs with liver problems in a veterinary formulation called “Marin”. Marin comes in tasty chicken flavored and contains Silybin, which is derived from milk thistle along with helpful vitamin E and zinc.
This product is a molecule that is synthesized by the cells of the dog’s body and increases the levels of gluthanione in dogs suffering from liver problems. Gluthanione is a powerful antioxidant known for protecting the liver from harmful toxins. Its lowered levels were found in dogs suffering from decreased liver function according to a study. Denosyl is a nutritional supplement crafted for dogs containing S-adenosylmethionin and it is available over the counter without the need of a prescription. Dr. Eddlestone mentions this product as well to help protect the liver from damage from toxins and maintain function.
Last, but not least, try your best in using natural, eco-friendly household products. This will benefit you and your family too! Instead of cleaning floors with chemicals, use just vinegar and water. Stop using pesticides in the yard. Walk your dog on country roads far away from car exhaust. Avoid smoking inside the home.
*Disclaimer: All remedies suggested are not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your pet is sick please refer to your veterinarian for a hands on examination. If your pet is exhibiting behavior problems please refer to a professional pet behaviorist.