Natural Remedies for Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Hypothyroidism in dogs is a common ailment that can affect your pet's health and temperament. The most common treatment is medication, but there are natural remedies that can help restore your dog's thyroid function.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland is responsible for monitoring many functions in your dog's body, most noticeably metabolism. Hypothyroidism is a disease in which the thyroid doesn't produce enough hormone to properly regulate all its functions.

Though this is a serious disease, which can result in seizures, cardiac irregularities, loss of smell or taste, chronic hepatitis or corneal ulceration, symptoms are generally mild at first and difficult to detect. Though hypothyroidism often isn't diagnosed until ages 4 through 10, research shows that 90 percent of cases are caused by a genetic disease that begins to develop as early as puberty.

Symptoms include:

  • Weight gain
  • Lethargy
  • Hair loss
  • Dry coat
  • Excessive shedding
  • Cold intolerance
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Low heart rate
  • High cholesterol
  • Sudden behavioral changes, such as increased aggression
  • Anemia

 Not all dogs will experience all symptoms, and some symptoms may be mild.

Traditional Treatment of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can only be definitively diagnosed through a blood test called a T3/T4 panel, which measures the levels of T3 and T4, hormones produced by the thyroid in the bloodstream. If these levels are below the normal range, your dog will begin thyroid treatment.

Traditional thyroid treatment involves medication, such as soloxine, that regulates the production of thyroid hormones. These pills are taken twice a day, and your dog will take this medication for the remainder of his life.

Natural Remedies for Hypothyroidism

Natural remedies have increased in popularity because pet owners are concerned about the side effects of long-term medical treatment on their dogs, such as liver and kidney damage. In addition, medication can sometimes lead to hyperthyroidism, where too much hormone is produced, if not regulated properly.

Bladderwack, also known as kelp, is a sea vegetable gaining recognition for its ability to control an overactive thyroid. It's also a primary source of iodine, which the thyroid requires to produce adequate amounts of T3 and T4 hormones. However, if you plan to use bladderwack for your dog, find out where the kelp was harvested from. Kelp located near popular beaches can often become contaminated.

Astragalas is a Chinese herb best known for restoring blood pressure and blood sugar levels. However, it is also used as a revitalizer for the endocrine system, of which the thyroid is a part.

The herb Urtica urens regulates metabolism, thyroid and adrenal gland functioning, and adds vitamins A, B and C to your dog's system.

Holistic concoctions such as Thyro-Pet combine these herbs with others that help pets maintain healthy functioning, by treating some of the side effects. For example, Thyro-Pet also utilizes ginseng, which improves one of the main symptoms of hypothyroidism - energy loss.

Though hypothyroidism in dogs has no cure, it can be successfully managed with medication or herbal treatment. To decide which option is best for you, discuss your dog's symptoms with a traditional and holistic veterinarian.