Love Your Liver

After a long, dark, and incredibly snowy winter, can you believe spring is finally here? Love this time of year. Birds are singing, flower and trees are starting to have blossoms, everything starts to look green, everyone seems more active but something we don’t think of when it comes to spring is supporting the liver.

Your dog and cat's liver is an amazing organ that needs to be loved in order to prevent liver disease or liver damage. It is the largest organ and has as many as 500 functions. It is an organ that filters out the bad stuff and keeps our canines and felines from overloading with toxins that can cause liver failure.

It helps the body detox from environmental toxins, eliminates prescription drugs, chemicals and other harmful elements from our blood. It removes metabolic waste produced from the metabolism of proteins, it regulates and stores glycogen, minerals and vitamins, it makes hormones and proteins and stores iron. It’s a heavy hitter. If, over time, the liver is exposed to too many viruses, bacteria and toxins the cells of the liver can start to get damaged and cause negative symptoms in the body, including fatty liver disease and and other long term problems that can lead to liver failure. Nausea, diarrhea, throwing up, lack of appetite, elevated liver enzymes may be a sign that the liver isn’t functioning properly. Toxins can add up and they come from chemicals in foods, prescription drugs, chemicals sprayed on lawns etc.

The good news is, liver cells can regenerate! Our part is to help support our canine and feline’s liver so it can do the job it’s meant to do. Supporting it with herbs that are designed in nature to protect and support the liver is one way, feeding dark leafy green veggies is another was to help keep liver diseases at bay.

Some of these herbs are milk thistle, dandelions, and burdock. There are more...these are just the top three commonly used and discussed.

Milk thistle is the most common herb talked about to support the liver. It can regenerate and strengthen liver cells. It has been proven to be a very effective herb for the health of the liver and can reverse damage. Milk thistle can be given with food and can be used over time. It comes in capsules or liquid. Cedar Bear Naturals Milk Thistle Seed tincture is a great supplement to support and protect liver function (as well as digestion and gall bladder!) 

Dandelion is an herb you see commonly combined with milk thistle to support the liver. It is considered a diuretic aid and a blood cleansing herb that supports the liver in removing toxins. Cedar Bear Naturals Dandelion Root helps to cleanse the liver from built up toxins so healthy cells can begin to regenerate. 

Burdock is a diuretic and is an effective detoxifying herb. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This herb is often found in combination with other herbs to support the liver. Animal Essentials Detox Blend contains extracts of burdock, milk thistle and dandelion to support healthy liver function and promote normal removal of waste and toxins. It is sweet-tasting and can be used long term.

Feeding dark leafy greens are a way to add food to support a healthy body and support the detoxification process. Don’t want to think about what greens to feed? Green JuJu has a product that would benefit the efforts to support the liver and help detoxify the body. They have two formulas Just Greens and Bailey. Rotate the formulas for max benefit. Most dogs love them this addition to their diet. 

Spring and Fall are good times to think about supporting your dog and cat’s liver. Start off slow and gradually bring supplements and or dark leafy greens to a maintenance dose. Do this for up to 2 months in the spring then again next fall before everyone hunkers down for the winter. You can actually support the liver at any time, but it's most important if there is an immediate need, such as before and after vaccines, after a surgery, or if your pet has gotten into something harmful.

I write this basic article as a store owner of The Dog’s Meow. I am not a licensed Veterinarian and give recommendations based on my experience. These suggestions are not a cure for any disease and are to be used as support material.