Why Is My Dog Sick? 6 Environmental Toxins to Consider

Mysterious symptoms and chronic illnesses often give rise to the question "Why is my dog sick?"

There are tens of thousands of chemicals produced in this country, and our dogs are regularly exposed to many of them. Many cases of canine illness can be traced to environmental exposure to these chemicals.

The most common environmental toxins in our air, water and food supply include PCBs, pesticides, mold and fungal toxins, VOCs and heavy metals. They can cause a wide range of dog symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, hormonal imbalances, allergies, neurological disorders and cancer.

1. PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls)

PCBs have been banned in the US since 1979, but this persistent pollutant still lingers. In the past, improper disposal practices released PCBs into the environment where persist and accumulate in the fat cells of animals. PCBs have been implicated in and increase in liver and kidney cancer. Paint, sealants, electrical equipment and other good manufactured before 1979 may contain PCBs. When walking or exercising your dog, be cautious of old industrial sites and potentially contaminated river waters.

2. Pesticides

The list of carcinogenic herbicides, fungicides and insecticides is long, and residues of these chemicals are found in a much of our food as well as in many brands of commercial dog food. To limit exposure to pesticides, choose organic foods when possible. In and around the home, opt for non-toxic home and garden sprays to control insects and plant diseases.

3. Mold and Fungal Toxins

Aflatoxin, the cause of a recent pet food recall, is a naturally occurring fungus that grows on grains such as corn. Aflatoxin severe and sometimes fatal liver damage. In your dog, symptoms include lethargy, confusion and seizures. To avoid the risk of aflatoxin poisoning, consider home-prepared meals or freeze-dried raw food diets. Alternatively, choose a high-quality commercial brand that contains a named meat as its main ingredient and contains no corn, wheat or soy. Store carefully, away from high humidity and heat.

4. Phthalates

Phthalates are used to soften plastics and they can cause endocrine system damage. Plastic food and water bowls and plastic food storage containers can leach phthalates into food. To avoid allergic reactions and other more serious dog disease, Choose ceramic or stainless steel bowls and shop for phthalates-free containers.

5. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)

VOCs are present in many household products including carpets, paints, cleaning fluids and air fresheners. VOCs are suspected in certain kinds of cancers as well as eye and respiratory tract irritation. Be sure your home is adequately ventilated. Do not use chemical air fresheners on or near your dog. When possible, choose low-VOC paints and non-toxic cleaners.

6. Heavy Metals

Heavy metal exposure causes cancer, neurological and blood disorders, vomiting and nausea. The major sources of exposure include vaccines, drinking water and exposure to pesticides and chemically preserved wood.

A clean, green environment will not guarantee that you will never have a sick dog, but a healthy environment is an important part of long-term canine health.