Holistic Health and Longevity Course for Dogs Chapter 2
In PART 1 one of the holistic healing mini course for dogs, I mention that the first condition of achieving deep and long lasting health is the alignment of healing and medicine with nature. The logical first step is to eliminate the potential cause of a disease whenever possible, no matter what condition your dog has. I emphasize the word 'potential' because disease is most commonly caused by multiple factors and not just one. For example, if a dog ends up with kidney disease, the common factors can be, but are not limited to, feeding dry food, injury around the third lumbar vertebra, genetic predisposition, lack of access to water or the use of NSAID's (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
At the same time, one needs to remember that no one can tell with an absolute certain why a disease happens. Some conditions around toxicity are relatively straightforward and others are completely straightforward.
For example, fish-based dog diets often cause mercury elevation in the body, which can lead to many different problems including epilepsy, neurological dysfunction, behaviour changes, kidney disease and liver disease to name some of the most commonly seen side effects.
However, most toxic conditions happen gradually due to accumulation of multiple environmental toxins and food additives and that is why it is practically impossible to detect and quantify them all. However, there are some key components such as mercury, arsenic, lead and strontium, which will give you a good idea how your dog is doing overall.
Is blood testing a reasonable option?
I use blood testing mainly for checking organ function, complete blood count and hormonal evaluation. The challenge is, when it comes to toxins and minerals, blood testing offers only a snapshot in time. Ideally, your dog should be tested for the average levels of toxins over a longer period, like a few months.
What foods are high in toxic substances?
I love to use hair testing because it gives me an accurate result for a very low cost. The root of each hair is in direct contact with plasma that contains toxins and minerals. As the hair grows, the toxins become sealed in the hair shaft and become a sort of time capsule that contains months of history. I usually like to clip about an inch long clump of hair that represents a few of the most recent months of history.
I must say that the whole hair testing system really made me understand what foods are related to increased levels of certain toxins.
The additional benefit of hair testing is that it shows the levels of essential minerals in your dog's body. I have seen many test results of many dogs and can now recognize purely from the hair test if a dog is fed kibble or a raw or cooked diet without supplements, with synthetic or natural supplements.
Should a hair test be done before a cleanse?
The direct answer is, ideally yes. When you learn more about your dog's toxin status and the levels of essential minerals, you get a good sense of if the food you are feeding is optimal or not.
HairQ test is a good start to a treatment or preventive plan.
Some people mistakenly assume that hair testing eliminates the need for a regular detox process or that hair testing is not needed if a cleanse is planned. Most of the people I work with appear to really enjoy knowing where their dog is at and they also want to see if the food they buy is good quality. It is also good to see the toxin level decline as time progresses and repeated cleanses are done. I usually suggest a cleanse every six months starting at one year of age.
When I started this protocol in my practice, I was shocked to see how quickly, for example, mercury disappears from the body. Most sources suggest that it takes years to get rid of mercury, however, it appears to take much shorter time with the cleanse protocol I will write about in PART 3.
Next: The Cleanse and Detox process
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM