Gentle Liver Detox – Also recommended twice a year or when transitioning from kibble to raw.
This obviously can be a bit scary when you first start raw feeding especially with all the warnings of animals getting sick or contracting salmonella or some other bacteria from consuming raw meat. In this case some things get a little worse before they get better. Even after one to three months on a fresh food diet, pets go through a detoxification process. This is totally normal and is actually something to celebrate.
Detox for your pet will happen through the bowels and skin. During a detox, your pet will act completely normal. He’ll be happy, bright, and alert. But you might find that he’s shedding a tremendous amount of hair. Pets shed out their old, dead, dull hair, and begin growing a shiny, soft coat. You might also see a lot of earwax or debris being produced from the ear. That needs to be cleaned out. And some detoxing pets will pass blobs of mucus in their stools.
These symptoms of detoxification will pass on their own. They’re nothing you need to worry about, but are something you should anticipate or it might freak you out. Pets on a fresh food diet also consume far less water than pets eating an entirely processed diet. You need to anticipate that your pet’s water intake will diminish.
Many things add to the toxic load of our pets. Vaccinations, de-wormers, steroids and antibiotics, environment and commercial food all place a toxic burden. Over time these multiple toxic influences add up and cumulatively are stored in the body. It isn’t until you make some life changes that you realize, for example your pets coat actually looked pretty grimy before, or their behavior used to be really hyperactive. It may only be once you change your pet’s lifestyle that you realize the damage that has been done through years of toxic build up.
Detox is basically your pets healing time, when they unload their toxic burden. This usually manifests in their skin, being their largest organ often indicative by the stereotypical “doggie smell”, but the ears, eyes and mouth can also become exit points.
Common signs and symptoms of detox are:
Mucous in stool
Very firm stool
Expulsion of parasites
Smelly ears or ear problems
Don’t be alarmed if you are faced with any/all of these symptoms, they will pass. How long? Often it is a week or two but it could be months. It all depends on the level of toxicity build up your pet has, for example how long they have been on commercial pet food, how many vaccines they have had, and how old your companions are.
Detox is a natural process. The body has an arsenal of ‘weapons’ to help detoxify. For example, the liver, kidneys, GI system, friendly microbes and the skin all help rid the body of toxins.
We can help nature too during this period by continuing to feed a moisture/nutrient rich varied raw diet, which all contains naturally occurring probiotics and digestive enzymes.
To further aid in this detox you can add in a little more excise and encourage drinking more water. You can add a probiotic, like kefir to help if detox is bad or slow the transition. Maybe some aloe vera to the skin to calm any irritation, but ‘ride out the storm’. Don’t assume the new diet is the cause and stop feeding raw or quit the transition process, this is a time of healing and regeneration. All the stored waste and toxins and being flushed out through multiple avenues.
Stick with a species appropriate diet, and watch in amazement as your pet becomes healthier than you could ever imagine.