Every dog owner wants to do right by his or her pet. Most people give a lot of thought to things like what type of food offers the most nutrition, how often a dog’s coat needs to be cleaned and groomed, and how to promote healthy skin, but not all pet owners understand how important it is to maintain a healthy digestive system and liver. Pet parents can read on to find out what it takes to promote a healthy liver and digestive system in dogs to remedy that oversight.
The Importance of Healthy Liver Function
The liver is a crucial organ, not just in dogs but in all mammals. It performs a wide variety of essential functions, including:
- Filtering blood coming from the digestive system
Generating bile for digestion
Storing vitamins and minerals
Storing fat and glycogen
Removing toxins from the bloodstream
Creating proteins required for healthy blood clotting
Needless to say, maintaining optimal liver health is very important. It’s much easier to prevent liver disease than it is to treat it, so pet parents may want to look into a cranberry supplement for dogs and other means of reducing risk before their animals develop any worrisome digestive symptoms.
Understanding Liver Disease
Liver disease is a serious condition that can affect any breed of dog. While some breeds are more prone to liver conditions than others, environmental factors also play a contributing role. An overabundance of toxins, a vitamin deficiency, or certain types of bacterial and viral infections can all lead to the development of liver disease in dogs.
Once a dog develops a liver condition, it’s up to the owner to learn how to control it. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical medications used to treat liver disease in dogs can pose a danger of serious side effects. Natural, holistic treatments, including dietary changes, supplementation, and symptom management, may be able to help dogs with liver disease maintain more comfortable lives as they undergo traditional medical treatments.
Symptoms to Watch For
A dog with liver disease will have a better prognosis if the illness is caught early, so pet parents need to be on the lookout for common symptoms of liver problems. Symptoms of liver disease in dogs can include:
- Loss of appetite
Seizures and other neurological issues
Some of these symptoms can be indicative of other diseases, as well. When many of them occur in concert with each other, though, it’s usually a sign of liver disease. Pet parents should schedule appointments with their dogs’ veterinarians immediately, as natural supplements and holistic medicine are not an alternative to conventional medical care.
Because treating liver disease is harder than preventing it, pet parents should pay attention to their animals’ health and lifestyles. The first step is always to make sure that dogs are eating healthful foods that are free from chemicals and unnecessary additives.
Dog owners should also make sure their animals are getting enough probiotics, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. All of these vital nutrients can be obtained through dietary sources, but many dogs can also benefit from supplementation.
Keeping Dogs Healthy for Life
Senior dogs may be more prone to health issues than their younger, fitter counterparts. With appropriate dietary changes, supplementation, and ongoing exercise, though, even older dogs can maintain optimal digestive and liver health.