Liver Cleansing Diet for a Dog

by Susan Leisure, Demand Media
    Keep your dog's liver healthy with a few easy diet changes.

    Keep your dog's liver healthy with a few easy diet changes.

    The liver is a vital organ. Without a healthy liver, your dog will likely leave you sooner than expected. Unfortunately, many commercial diets add stress to the liver with byproducts, fillers and toxins. You can help cleanse your dog's liver with simple diet changes to biologically appropriate, natural food.

    Function of the Liver

    The liver performs over 500 important functions. One of the most important is to filter and clean the blood of digestion byproducts like ammonia, toxins and medications. The liver also regulates the iron level in the blood, which is critical to the blood's ability to carry oxygen throughout the body. Another critical function of the liver is to produce bile, which is necessary for the intestinal tract to process and digest food. When the liver is stressed, its cleaning and regulating capabilities often decrease, or even stop.

    Remove Grains

    One of the first steps in cleansing the liver is to remove grains from your dog's diet. Aflatoxin, a toxin from mold, is common in many grain crops, including corn, sorghum, millet and soybeans. Even the small amounts of aflatoxin allowed in dog food can stress a dog's liver, and larger amounts can cause severe liver damage. Removing grains from your dog's diet allows the liver to try to cleanse itself of existing aflatoxin and stop any additional buildup of the toxin in the liver.

    Replace Kibble with Raw or Canned Food

    Dogs need protein to be healthy. The liver produces the bile needed to digest food in the intestinal tract. Dry kibble is the most difficult form of food for dogs to digest. Some studies have shown that kibble takes an average of 12 to 14 hours to digest. Kibble with synthetic chemicals, additives or byproducts can take as long as 24 to 36 hours. Replacing kibble in your dog's diet with canned food or raw food will significantly reduce digestion time, which means less bile is needed. The liver will not have to work as hard if your dog is on a more natural diet of canned or raw food, allowing it to better cleanse itself and perform its other necessary functions in the body.

    Add Antioxidant Supplements

    The liver is the main filter in the body. Adding a good supplement of antioxidants to your dog's diet can ease the stress on the liver and help remove toxins and free radicals from your dog's body. Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, zinc, adenosylmethionine (SAMe), and phosphatidylcholine (PC) will all help the body filter toxins, allowing the liver to cleanse itself more efficiently. Avoid supplements that contain copper or potassium, as these place more stress on the liver and any excess will build up in the liver.

    About the Author

    Susan Leisure is the director of an animal welfare organization and owner of a holistic pet supply store in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a master's degree from Emory University, and is currently completing a degree in clinical pet nutrition.

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