Many animal experts agree that the liver’s health largely determines the quality of life a dog lives.
In this post, you will learn the functions of a dog’s liver, some of the causes of liver damage, how you can keep it healthy, and much more.
Let us begin...
Functions of your dog’s liver
The liver is the largest gland and second-largest organ in a dog’s body (the skin is the largest organ). It performs up to 1500 requisite functions. Some of them include
- Stores vitamins like A, D, and B12
- Produces blood clotting factors and plasma proteins
- Stores nutrients and regulates their release to the body
- Stores minerals such as copper and irons, which it releases when there is a deficiency
- Filters and removes harmful substances from your dog’s body
- Utilizes enzymes to breakdown medications
From the above points, you can see that any damage to your dog’s liver will be detrimental to his wellbeing.
Causes of liver damage in dogs
Now that you understand the functions of the liver, we now look at the causes of liver damage.
- Some vaccines
- Processed foods
- Heavy metals
- Autoimmune diseases; IBD inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, and Addison’s disease.
- Food additives
- Environmental toxins
- Chemical cleaners
- Heartworm drugs
- Pesticides and herbicides
- Mycotoxins from peanut products
How to prevent liver damage in your dog
Prevention has always been better than seeking a cure. Therefore, here are steps to ensure your pup’s liver is in tip-top condition.
Remove toxic food
By toxic foods, we mean processed foods. Most of these foods have synthetic minerals and vitamins, adding unnecessary pressure to the liver and the kidneys.
Moreover, many grains in Kibble may have mycotoxins, cancer-causing substances. Excessive mycotoxins in a dog’s food could lead to vomiting, hyperthermia, seizures, tremors, and ataxia.
Even grain-free kibbles still contain toxins and pesticides.
Processed foods also have toxic byproducts, acrylamides, and heterocyclic amines, which stress your pup’s liver.
Instead of such foods, you can opt for a gently cooked raw, fresh diet with no synthetic vitamins.
Add liver-enhancing supplements to your pup’s diet
Supplements improve the livers efficiency; they include
Also known as Silymarin, milk thistle aids the regeneration of liver cells and protects cells from oxidation and other toxins.
In addition, if your dog has a preexisting liver condition, milk thistle can assist with acute support.
Note: even though milk thistle is considered a wonder herb due to its effectiveness, research has proven that you shouldn’t use it daily. You can only use it when your dog’s liver is under stress.
Instead, we recommend Safe Guard, a tested and proven pre+ probiotic that will enhance your dog’s liver functioning.
You can obtain milk thistle from food stores around you in powder or liquid form(tincture). Buy the organic type to avoid the chemical toxins which will stress the liver.
Follow all the instructions on the product to increase the chances of it working efficiently.
On average, you should administer 100mg of powder milk thistle for every 10 pounds of body weight 1 to 3 times daily.
For liquid milk thistle, 1 to 3 drops for every 10 pounds 1 to 3 times a day will suffice.
Note: Do not offer milk thistle to lactating or pregnant dogs; also, first consult with your vet if your dog is on other medications before giving the supplement.
Glutathione is a strong antioxidant that boosts your dog’s immunity and detoxifies the liver. It does so by wrapping around toxins inside the liver before they damage it.
As a result, most hospitals utilize glutathione in the treatment of Tylenol (acetaminophen)
Glutathione also has precursors like NAC (N- acetylcysteine) and SAMe (S- adenosyl-L-methionine), reducing inflammation and improving detoxification.
SAMe or NAC dosage for canines is
- Small whelps: 25 milligrams once a day
- Medium-sized dogs: 50 milligrams once a day
- Large dogs: 100 milligrams once a day
- Giant Dogs: 100 to 300 milligrams once a day
Carotenoids and Antioxidants
Free radicals are harmful to your dog; they build up over time and cause liver disease. Antioxidants prevent such damage from occurring.
Experts rank SOD (Superoxide Dismutase) as the highest antioxidant. This is because SOD works by a process known as dismutation to deactivate superoxide, a free radical.
Dismutation converts the radical into hydrogen peroxide, which further breaks into oxygen and water. Two substances that can’t harm the body.
Astaxanthin is an ideal SOD source and a carotenoid that has immense benefits. Its ability to affix itself on the interior and exterior cell lipid areas is top among them, thereby neutralizing free radicals.
You can offer astaxanthin in the following doses.
- ½ a tablespoon once a day for small dogs
- One tablespoon once a day for medium-sized dogs
- Two tablespoons once a day for large dogs
Use fresh fruits and vegetables
Dogs that regularly eat fresh fruits and vegetables tend to be stronger and happier. Here is why
Vegetables aid in the alkalization of your dogs’ organs
Maintaining a constant level of acidity and alkalinity in your dog’s diet is crucial since some organs perform effectively in a more alkaline setting. These organs include the kidneys, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.
Excessive acidity is harmful as it may cause inflammation, resulting in chronic ailments.
Vegetables help prevent inflammation by neutralizing acidity levels in the organs mentioned earlier.
- Offer hydration
- Enhance digestion
- Provide minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium
- Have plenty of antioxidants
- Have fiber which helps in the removal of toxins
- Have phytonutrients that kill cancer cells, and reduce inflammation
- Have vitamins, namely Vitamin C, A, Vitamin K, and E, which help your dog in numerous ways.
Use liver to support the liver
Studies have shown that the liver has more nutrients than muscle meat. Proteins, trace minerals, Vitamin B and Vitamin A are among the top benefits your dog will obtain after feasting on the liver.
Start slowly, about a tablespoon of the liver for small dogs occasionally, and adjust as you progress. Remember moderation is key, so your dog’s digestive system gets used to it.
Provide clean water
Water is life, literally. None of your dog’s organs can work properly without water. More importantly, water helps in the removal of toxins.
Hence your dogs should drink sufficient amounts of clean water to avoid dehydration.
Filtered water or fresh spring water works best. Avoid unfiltered tap water and regularly clean your pup’s water bowl to eliminate slime.
Spot early signs of liver disease
Sometimes you may take all the necessary measures, and still, your dog will develop liver disease. In such instances catching the symptoms early and providing medication can help restore your dog’s liver to a healthy state.
Below are some of the signs and symptoms of liver disease to look out for
- Weight loss
- Bloody urine
- Increased thirst
Regular vet visits
Taking your furry friend for regular checkups benefits you and the dog.
Firstly, your vet may identify any health issues and treat them before they advance. Secondly, you get plenty of professional advice, which minimizes the chances of you offering a harmful substance to your dog.
Exercise your dog
Exercise helps relieve stress and prevents your dog from being obese.
Obesity leads to inflammation and heightened fatty acid levels, which could lead to diabetes, and as you know, diabetes increases the chances of liver disease.
We can’t stress enough the importance of keeping your dog’s liver healthy. Some key points to remember:
- Avoid processed foods; they have toxins
- Clean water is key
- Schedule regular vet checkups
- Fruits and vegetables should be part of your mutt’s diet.
Please contact us if you need more information on the subject or have any questions.