Herbal Treatment for Liver Disease in Dogs

There are two different pathways in the treatment for liver disease in dogs: removal of the toxins causing the liver disease combined with either dietary adjustments or herbal supplements. The liver is the second largest organ of the body with the main function of cleaning toxins (fungi, allergens, microbes, etc.) out of the body by removing them from the bloodstream.

The liver plays an important role in the immune system by eliminating “foreign” substances. It also metabolizes proteins, fats and carbohydrates into easily digestible components for cellular use. If the liver cannot provide the body with the proper nutrients for functioning, then the body will begin to break down its own tissues for use.

The liver produces bile, which is essential in the breaking down of ingested fats. It also stores Vitamins A, D, E and K, which are essential for a healthy well-being.

Symptoms of Liver Disease

There are a number of symptoms of liver disease, including the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Pale gray feces
  • Jaundice
  • Accumulation of fluids in the abdominal area, causing pain
  • Blood clotting problems
  • Orange urine
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss

Part of the treatment for liver disease is to reduce the workload of the liver. This can be done by introducing foods and herbs that make digestion easy and a produce a decrease in the production of waste.

Herbs Detoxify

Since some herbs naturally possess antioxidant and detoxifying properties, they can be used to help cure liver disease. The liver is one of the few organs of the body that can regenerate.

Milk thistle is one such herb that can help detoxify the liver. It improves liver function by destroying toxins at the cellular level and preventing toxins from entering the liver in the first place. Administering herbs to a dog can be tricky since most herbs are bitter tasting. Mixing herbs into the dog’s food may or may not work since the dog can still taste the herb’s bitterness. Most high-quality dog foods contain adequate detoxifying elements so that they do not need to be supplemented. Careful reading of the dog food label will determine whether or not the dog food needs to be supplemented.

Other herbs that will help restore liver function are:

  • Natrium sulphate, a tissue salt, which helps detoxify the liver.
  • Vitamins B6 and B12 help in the absorption and the chemical break down of food.
  • Burdock, a blood purifier.
  • Choline citrate (being a naturally occurring liver chemical) moves fats through cells.
  • Zinc helps in the detoxification process.
  • Amino acids, methionine, dimethglycine and N-acetyl-L-cysteine, contribute to healthy liver function as well as help regenerate liver cells.
  • Natrium phosphate, a tissue salt that assimilates difficult-to-digest fats and also promotes the bile flow from the gall bladder.
  • Liver oil, probiotics, soluble fiber, flax seed oil and herbal preparations (containing licorice and chamomile) will fulfill most nutritional deficiencies.

The new diet should be continued for approximately 6 weeks. The diet can also include turkey, lamb, chicken, high-quality kibble and raw or home-cooked meals since these foods are easily digestible and do not overwork the liver. Meat by-products do not break down easily and therefore should not be used.