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  • Bear & Kind with Erin Follington

How to Detox Your Dog Naturally

Despite our best efforts there seem to be more chemical toxins than ever quietly lurking in our homes, our gardens, the foods we eat, the medicines we take and even the air we breathe. It’s quite scary to think about, especially if you have little ones at home. But have you considered how chemical toxins affect the health and wellbeing of your dog?

Highly processed pet foods, spot-on monthly parasite prevention, environmental and household toxins and medications are just a few sources of the chemicals your dog comes into contact with every day of his short life. Whether it’s by skin contact, ingestion or inhalation, your dog’s toxin load can build to life threatening levels over time as his body’s built-in detoxification system (the liver, digestive system, skin and kidneys) struggles to process and expel them.

Here are some common everyday sources of chemical toxins that your dog is exposed to:

Pesticides and Herbicides

Weed Killers and lawn Chemicals pose a significant health risk to your dog. How much time does your dog spend each day in the garden sniffing or chewing on plants and even your lawn?  


Dogs can be exposed to pesticides and herbicides used in agriculture, in your neighbour’s garden and even your local dog park. Chemicals like organophosphates, carbamates, and glyphosate can affect liver function if ingested or absorbed through the skin.


Household Cleaning Products

Some household cleaning products, such as bleach, ammonia, and some detergents contain chemicals that can be toxic to the liver if ingested by your dog. Something as simple as mopping your floors with these products poses a risk due to the chemicals absorbed through your dog’s paw pads and fur.



Certain medications, when ingested in toxic amounts, can cause liver damage in dogs. This includes medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen. If your dog has gotten into any of these drugs, contact your vet immediately.


Regular use of steroids, anti-seizure and anti-inflammatory medications can cause liver damage over time. Spot-on pesticide treatments are also a massive culprit in increasing your dog’s toxic load due to the affect they can have on your dog’s nervous system.


Plant Toxins

Some plants, including certain types of mushrooms, blue-green algae, and certain garden plants like sago palms, contain toxins that can affect liver function if ingested by your dog.


Air Pollution

Exposure to air pollution, including vehicle emissions, industrial emissions, and particulate matter, can have systemic effects on dogs, including liver damage due to the inhalation of toxic compounds.


Air fresheners in your home, burning candles, cigarette and vape smoke as well as fabric softener all create VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) or indoor air pollution. Your dog’s sense of smell is 1000 to 10 000 times more powerful than a human. What you perceive to be a mild pleasant smell can easily range from irritating to toxic for your dog.          


Plastic Packaging (Phthalates)

These chemicals are sometimes used in plastic packaging for dog products. While the direct effects on liver function in dogs are not well-documented, phthalates have been associated with liver toxicity in other animals as well as humans.


Processed Pet Foods

Some low-quality dog foods may contain higher levels of heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and cadmium, which can accumulate in your dog’s liver and lead to toxicity over time.


Some dog foods and treats contain artificial colorants and flavourings, which may include chemicals like FD&C Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5, and Blue No. 2. While not directly toxic to the liver, some dogs may have sensitivities or allergies to these additives, leading to adverse reactions that could indirectly affect liver function.


Chemical preservatives such as BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), and ethoxyquin are commonly used in dog food to prolong shelf life. High levels of these preservatives have been associated with liver damage in dogs.


Mycotoxins are produced by moulds and can contaminate food, particularly grains. Aflatoxins, produced by Aspergillus species, are particularly harmful to the liver.


Propylene Glycol is sometimes found in dog food as a humectant or to maintain moisture. However, excessive ingestion of propylene glycol can lead to liver damage in dogs.


Grooming Products

There are a number of harmful ingredients commonly found in your dog’s shampoo. These include:


·       Artificial colours and fragrances

·       Pthalates

·       Doazolidinyl urea

·       Isothiazolinone & Paraben preservatives

·       Cocamide-MEA

·       SD Alcohol 40

·       Polyethylene glycol (PEG) 

·       Propylene glycol 

·       Petrochemicals


Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are commonly found in many shampoos and can cause skin irritation. While direct liver toxicity from these chemicals is rare, severe skin reactions can lead to systemic effects that might indirectly affect liver function.


8 Steps to Detox Your Dog Naturally


It’s a lot to take in I know… but it’s easier than you might think to reduce your dog’s toxic load. A few simple changes is all it takes to dramatically improve your pet’s health and longevity. Here are 8 steps you can start taking today to reduce your dog’s toxin load.


1.     Limit Exposure

The first step is to be aware of your dog’s environment. Avoid using products of any kind in and around your home that can negatively impact your dog. If you smoke or vape, take it outside. Use chemical-free cleaning products, washing detergents and insecticides.


When you and your dog venture out into the world, be mindful of what you may be exposing him to. Have the neighbours or your local council used fertilisers or sprayed insecticides recently? Is your local river or dam muddied or discoloured? Avoiding these areas will reduce exposure to chemicals and other health risks.


2.     Feed a Healthy Balanced Diet

Diet is the most important part of your dog’s wellness, so feeding a fresh, species appropriate diet (raw if possible), will give his body the best chance of staying healthy. By steering clear of the harmful toxins in processed foods such as kibble, and feeding a nutrient-rich fresh diet, you will boost your dog’s immune system to protect him from disease and maintain healthy organ function to ensure that his body can manage any toxins that cross his path.


3.     Maintain a Healthy Immune System

A healthy immune system is essential to good health and protecting your dog’s body from disease. Toxins can impair the function of the immune system, making it less effective at fighting off infections and illnesses. This can increase the risk of getting sick more often and experiencing prolonged recovery times. To supercharge your dog’s immune system, we recommend Immune Support Herbal Tincture for Dogs and Cats by Natural Pet Supplements.


Over 70% of your dog’s immune system lives inside his gut so it’s essential that you feed to support a healthy balanced gut biome. Foods including banana, berries, pumpkin, sweet potato, kefir and natural yogurt will help, but it’s a good idea to include a daily supplement to make sure your dog is getting all of the nutritional support and the right balance of good and bad bacteria that he needs. We love Natural Pet Supplements Probiotic Gut Support for Dogs and Cats.


4.     Keep Him Hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential in maintaining your dog’s health and vitality. Every single bodily function requires water. It carries nutrients around the body and helps your dog’s cells to absorb them, it helps to flush toxins and waste from the body, helps to lubricate joints, organs and tissue and moderates body temperature.


Always make sure that your dog has free access to clean water at all times, preferably in a ceramic or stainless-steel bowl. Remember to clean the bowl daily with soapy water.


5.     Natural Remedies

If parasites are an issue try a natural method for treatment and prevention. There are a number of effective natural remedies available to purchase readymade or you can make your own at home with simple ingredients. Combine the ingredients below to make a flea

spray for your dogs. The contents will relieve itching and soothe irritated skin as well as repel fleas.



If a more intensive form of parasite control is necessary, try an oral solution over a topical one. The skin is not designed to absorb and process that many toxins on a regular basis. Taking an oral medication allows the liver and the gut to get straight to metabolising the toxins immediately to minimise any potential damage.


If you have to give your dog a pharmaceutical product, always ask your vet about possible side effects and do some research yourself. You need know which organ or system of the body is likely to be most affected by short or long-term treatment. Generally, it’s the kidneys or liver.


Talk to an Integrated Vet or Animal Naturopath about pairing the pharmaceutical with a protective herbal remedy to maintain the susceptible organ’s function. This may help prevent as much damage as possible. Just make sure the herbals are taken as recommended and that they are suitable for animal ingestion.


6.     Natural Household Products

Skip the chemical cleaning products and instead opt for natural enzyme-based cleaners and old-fashioned cleaning ingredients like white vinegar and bi-carb soda. They’re cheap as chips, safe and effective.


If you’re washing your dog’s bedding, jumpers or harness use a natural laundry powder or liquid. A traditional castile soap like Dr Bronner’s works well or you can make your own at home with our simple four ingredient recipe. Just pop the ingredients into a food processor to grind into a fine powder. Add your choice of essential oils. You can also use half a cup of white vinegar and a couple of drops of essential oil instead of a fabric softener.



Avoid toxic weed killers like Roundup and use natural weed killers instead. Common garden pests can be repelled with a simple mix of garlic, chili and mild washing up liquid.


7.     Natural Grooming Products

Use shampoos and grooming products that contain gentle yet powerful natural ingredients and no irritants or chemical toxins. Harsh ingredients commonly found in pet shampoos will often damage the skin’s microbiome and strip it of its natural oils. Always read the label before purchasing any product for your dog and research any ingredients you don’t recognise.


The friendly folks at 4-Legger have developed a very handy and informative database of ingredients commonly found in pet shampoos and conditioners. Simply go to the Pet Shampoo Ingredient Database and search the ingredient to get professional advice about its safety for your dog.


8.     Support Your Dog’s Liver

Supporting your dog’s liver function using herbs such as St Mary’s Thistle and Dandelion Root has been proven to protect liver cells from damage from a range of toxins.


In veterinary trials, Beagles were given Silymarin and Silibinin (a constituent of St Mary’s Thistle). This was done while they were also given a range of common pharmaceutical drugs such as antibiotics and steroids. All dogs that were administered the St Marys Thistle or Silibinin, maintained normal liver enzymes in while those not given St Marys Thistle had raised liver enzymes.

(Floersheim, 1978): Floersheim Gl, Eberhard M, Tschumi , Duckert F. Effect of penicillin and silymarin on liver enzymes and blood clotting factors in dogs given a boiled preparation of Amannita phalloides. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 1978;46:455-462


(Vogel, 1984): Vogel G, Tuchwebber B, Trost W, Mengs U. Protection by silibinin against Amanita phalloides intoxication in beagles. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 1984; 73:355-362


Natural Pet Supplement’s Liver Support Herbal Tincture for Dogs and Cats is a great choice for dogs and cats to support and increase liver function.



Erin Follington is a practising Small Animal Naturopath in WA and owner of Natural Pet Supplements. The Natural Pet Supplements range of products reflects Erin’s ongoing commitment to pet wellness, combining herbal medicine and nutrition to create exceptional quality supplements for Dogs and Cats. 

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