In Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is the season during which the gallbladder and liver are most active. The liver is associated with the eyes, paws, nails, hooves, tendons and ligaments. It also controls the smooth flow of qi (energy) throughout the body. Stress, whether from drugs, emotional causes or environmental toxins, leads to stagnant liver qi. This may be evidenced by red eyes, irritability, aggression, ligament or tendon damage, and weak, brittle nails — signs that your pet’s liver needs tender loving care.
No worries, however. Together, Dr. DuBose and you can nourish your pet’s liver and restore the balance of qi to help it work efficiently.
- Pay attention to diet. Many chain store foods and treats are loaded with chemical additives, as well as artificial colors and flavors. Worse, they often contain indigestible ingredients and poor quality proteins and fillers that tax your pet’s digestion. Stay away from processed food and treats when possible. Read the labels.
- Cook homemade foods. Chinese medicine teaches that the liver and gallbladder love the color green, so adding finely chopped or cooked, leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli and dandelion greens to your pet’s diet is a major plus. Beef, beef liver, chicken liver, eggs, carrots, beets, brown rice, apples, and fish oil are also healthy choices. As strange as it might sound, apple cider vinegar works well, too. Commonly reported benefits include skin and coat improvements, less itching and scratching, better mobility in older dogs and an improvement in overall health. Millet, wheat, rye and oatmeal also help the liver function more efficiently.
- Get Moving. The liver tends to stagnate over the winter when pets generally eat more and exercise less. To help the flow of qi, it’s important that your pet exercises regularly, eats healthy and stays hydrated.
- Practice regular grooming. Routinely brushing your pet’s fur helps the skin “breathe” and removes dust and debris that may contain traces of toxic residue. After all, there’s no escaping exposure to toxins. They are found in household cleaners, mold and mildew, motor oil and in the environment. The fewer toxins pets ingest while grooming themselves, the better.
- Support the kidneys. Make sure your pet drinks plenty of fresh water. Toxins excreted through the kidneys become highly concentrated in chronically dehydrated pets and can damage the kidneys’ filtration system. Crystals and stones also may form and cause blockages or irritate the urinary tract. If your pet doesn’t drink much water, add more liquids with meals by feeding broth or canned food to provide extra moisture. For pets with urinary tract issues, consider acupuncture. Adding to the diet corn silk and cranberry also supports kidney health by reducing the risk of urinary tract infections.
- Pamper your pet with a massage. At its most basic level, massage is nothing more than rubbing with focus and intent. To move lymph, which helps the liver flush toxins, gently massage from the extremities toward the heart.
- Keep it clean. Regular dusting and vacuuming greatly reduces the toxic matter that pets ingest, and washing their bowls daily reduces germs. Shampoo your pet regularly, too, which washes away allergens, chemicals and other foreign molecules that might be riding inside its fur.