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Canine Health - Liver and Kidneys

More than ever, dogs need to have a healthy liver and kidneys to break down the chemicals that have crept into their foods and environment.

The liver is the gateway to a dog's body and in this chemical age their detoxification systems can easily be overloaded. The kidneys are the filtration system that eliminates wastes and excess water, and just like the liver, they can also be easily overloaded.

How can you protect your dog’s detoxification systems? And if your dog already has a compromised liver and/or kidneys, is there anything you can do to improve the function of their detoxification system?

The good news is that there is a lot you can do to help your dog live a healthy and long life even though their liver and kidneys may currently be dysfunctional. Diet plays a vital role in supporting the health of their liver and kidneys. Most vets agree that the most important factor in holistic treatment of compromised liver and kidneys is a low protein diet. However, the following principles will help protect their detoxification system beyond just giving them a low protein diet.

A Healthy Digestive System Leads to Healthy Liver and Kidneys:

I have read many books on the topic of health and the one book that made more sense to me in terms of how to heal the body naturally was Henry Bieler's book Food Is Your Best Medicine. What stuck in my mind is the logic Dr. Bieler used to explain how degenerative diseases develop. He said: "The ...body, a chemical engine, accepts all the food it is fed. Some it discards violently by vomiting or diarrhea; some, from the large economy-size package fed to it, it stores in fat reservoirs, a cushion against leaner times; some it gratefully uses to fire its countless tiny cell furnaces, after painstaking and marvelously complex biochemical treatment." The food goes into the digestive system, "...a chemical refinery which manufactures its own fuels and delivers energy from the raw materials provided it: proteins, fats, carbohydrates...vitamins and minerals." (Bieler, pgs. 53-54). Therefore, the digestive system is the first line of the body’s defense against harmful foods and toxins.

If the digestive system becomes congested from harmful foods and toxins, then its able allies, the liver and kidneys take over the burden of breaking down the nutrients from foods and filtering out toxins that come in from the gut. Therefore, the liver and the kidneys are the body's second line of defense against disease (p.61).

It then makes sense that the liver and kidneys will become congested and dysfunctional because the digestive system malfunctions. Digestive system malfunctions can be in the form of indigestion, acid reflux, intolerance to foods, nausea and vomiting attacks, bloating, constipation, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, etc., all symptoms that may occur first, leading eventually to liver and kidneys dysfunction.

It would make sense that to support the health of the liver and kidneys, the digestive system must first become healthy.

Your Dog's Diet Should Include Organic Foods:

The liver and kidneys are the body's principal organs of detoxification, and if these organs are faced with health challenges, then the daily metabolic waste is not being processed or secreted properly from the body. It only makes sense that you will not want to buy commercial foods for your dog that may add more harmful chemicals to your dog's diet, which will further stress the liver and kidneys.

Commercial foods are sprayed repeatedly with insecticides, fungicides, ripened with ethylene gas and perhaps waxed with an insect secretion. Animals whose meat ends up in your dog’s canned or dry foods are fed antibiotics and the ground-up remains of thousands of dead animals and has potent sex hormones implanted into them to accelerate their growth.

We suggest you consider only organic foods for your dog. These foods are produced without synthetic herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers, post-harvest fungicides, antibiotics growth-promoters, or size enhancing hormones. These foods rely upon Mother Nature’s forces, recycling of nutrients and sustainable methods of production. Foods certified as organic must be grown on farms that are inspected and fully certified according to a stringent set of standards.

When it Comes to Your Dogs' Diet Think Raw:

I know that there is controversy about feeding your dog raw foods. If you do not want to feed your dog 100% raw foods (I highly recommend it-my first choice), then make sure that it is a combination of home cooked meals and raw foods. The meat can be cooked and most of the fruits and veggies should be raw. Dogs are considered omnivores so fruits and vegetables should be part of their diet to provide them with enzymatically live and alkaline nutrients.

Avoid Giving Your Dog the Bad Fats:

Make sure that if you are going to cook a home meal for your dog that you do not use fats that present a high workload for the liver, gall bladder and kidneys. These are margarines and processed vegetable oils (hydrogenated fats). I highly recommend that you use fresh, unheated coconut oil or ghee (clarified butter). These two types of fats can withstand high heat without burning and/or mutating. Better yet, don’t use any type of fat/oil for cooking. Just steam the meat or veggies.

Think Simple but Nutritious Meals:

When the liver and kidneys are compromised, you need to feed your dog simple meals and yet high in nutrition. A meal that combines several types of high protein foods like meat, eggs mixed with grains like rice and veggies, is a meal that the liver and kidneys will have a hard time breaking apart and processing. It is more advisable to give your dog a simple meal such as combining one type of high protein food like meat with vegetables. The liver and kidneys can deal with such a meal in terms of breaking it down and assimilating it with no problems.

Feed Your Dog More Alkaline than Acidic Foods:

Your dog's body is filled with fluids both inside and outside the cells in the muscles, the brain, bones, the bloodstream, the spine, saliva, in urine, etc.

All fluids have a certain level of acidity or alkalinity. This level is measured by the pH value. The pH scale runs from zero to 14. A pH of 7 is considered neutral, while a pH higher than 7 is considered alkaline and a pH lower than 7 is considered acidic.

The sicker the dog the more acidic the fluids in her/his body. You can help your dog regain their health by helping to reduce the acidity in the fluids of their body.

The main determining factor for maintaining a pH level on the alkaline or acidic side in the dog's body is the food he/she eats. Foods are of two types, acid or alkaline. This refers to the ash value of a food or the type of residue that remains after the food is digested and processed. If the food leaves an acid residue, the body must neutralize this acid to keep the blood from becoming acidic. The acid is neutralized with alkalinity (minerals). Ideally there is adequate alkalinity (minerals) in the diet to do this. However, if there is not, the body must extract alkalinity (minerals) from its cells to neutralize the acid. Perpetuating this condition over a period causes the cells to become acidic, and eventually diseased.

All canned and dried foods fed to dogs today are highly acidic. They do not contain the alkaline minerals found in live and natural foods. Therefore, dogs with compromised liver and kidneys must be fed a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are generally metabolized to yield ash residues which result in alkaline potentials for the body fluids. Most mineral elements found in fruits and vegetables are alkaline in solution including potassium, calcium, sodium and magnesium.

One of the best supplements to use to help regain the alkalinity in a dog's body is wild-crafted blue green algae which is 23% natural mineral complex. This percentage is a reference to its entire mineral complex. Over 40 macro and micro minerals have been identified in wild-crafted blue green algae. The assimilation rate of these minerals into the dog's body may approach 100%. Karl Abrams, professor of chemistry at Saddleback College in Orange County, California, calls the abundance of minerals in wild-crafted blue green algae, "A Treasure Trove."

My mentor's story: Diet and Our Beloved Pomeranian Dog:

Based on our own experience with our Pomeranian dog, the principles we are sharing with you in this article are the determining guidelines for the diet we feed our dog. It has helped keep her healthy throughout the years. She is alive and well today at age 16. She is leading a healthy life, although we were told 9 years ago that a tumor, she developed in one of her memory glands will continue to get bigger and eventually rupture and kill her unless we operate. We are sure that for a tumor the size of a golf ball to develop, her liver and kidneys were also compromised. We opted not to operate and changed her diet to follow the principles outlined in this article. The tumor is still the same size after 9 years and our beloved dog is leading a healthy life and never had to go back, not even once, to pay a visit to the vet.

Hopefully, the diet principles we are sharing with you will help your dog live a long and a healthy life.


Bieler, Henry G., M.D. (1965). Food Is Your Best Medicine. Ballantine Books: New York.

By Donia Alawi



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