How to Detox Your Dog (And What to Expect)

Let’s talk about how to detox your dog. Why? Because detoxing is the start of achieving optimal health. After all, you have to get rid of the bad to make room for the good, right?

The First Phase of Healing

The first step in the detox is moving your dog to a raw diet. When you do that, you may see them go through a detox phase (also called a healing response). This detox is a natural part of the healing process; in fact, it’s the initial phase of healing.

Like ours, when an animal’s body gets out of balance because it’s taken in more toxins than the liver, kidneys, and lungs can filter out (toxins can come from diet, medicines, and more), the body starts to detox.

Symptoms of a Detox

Because of this detoxification, the body may display illness-like symptoms that can range in severity from mild to intense. This is because the body’s systems are working to eliminate waste products and toxins in preparation for healing and regeneration. In case you’re wondering, the symptoms of detoxification can include:

  • Lethargy
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Bad breath
  • Mucous discharge
  • Hot spots
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • And more

Reduce the Toxins Coming In

If you’re following a conventional approach and your dog begins to exhibit illness-like symptoms, it’s a sign their body can’t flush the toxins out faster than they come in. If no changes are made and the toxins continue to come in faster than the body can get rid of them, then the illness-like symptoms you’re seeing (in other words, the acute conditions) will develop into chronic disease.

However, if changes are made to reduce the amount of toxins coming in—for example, your dog stops eating kibble and starts eating a raw diet—the body can start to come back into balance. While this is occurring, you’ll see the detox phase.

It’s important to keep in mind that, while the detox includes symptoms like those it displayed prior to the detox, the detox itself is not an indicator of disease or illness. Rather, it’s an essential part of the healing process because it allows the body to rid itself of the toxins and morbid matter that were contributing to illness and, if left unchecked, would eventually turn into chronic disease.

Every Dog is Different

The detox phase differs among all animals. It can occur immediately upon switching to a more natural approach, or it may take several months to appear. It can also last for different lengths of time. A general rule of thumb is the detox phase  can last  for one month for each year of the animal’s life .

However, this varies greatly by individual and by how you approach the detoxification process. Viewing the detox positively can be incredibly beneficial. And, it should be viewed in a positive light! It’s an indication your pet is starting to truly heal. If you lack trust in the natural healing process, you may tend to see this phase as an indicator of illness and return to conventional medicine to suppress the presenting symptoms. This is a mistake. By remembering the goal is true health, not just symptom suppression, you can step back and let the animal’s body heal itself.

Get Excited

Part of our role in caring for our animals is to give their bodies what they need to support them through the healing process (which includes the detox phase). We also must keep in mind that treating our animals holistically involves addressing mind, body, and spirit. So, when we see detox occurring, the best approach is to get excited about it (I know, it sounds crazy, right? And yet, it makes a huge difference.).

Think about it—you know your dog picks up on your emotions. So, if you feel sad about “what they’re going through” in the detox—if you feel sorry for them as their body is detoxifying—they pick up on it. It drags them down, weakens their systems, and makes the whole process more miserable for everyone. On the other hand, if you can look at it as a cause for celebration—your dog is starting to achieve true health and wellness, which can only lead to a better quality, longer life—they’ll pick up on that and move through their detox faster.

Provide Natural Support

Providing some natural support to your dog while they’re going through the detox process can be very helpful. I really like Adored Beast’s Liver Detox. It’s easy to give in your dog’s food, it’s very gentle, but it’s still effective.

In some instances, the detox phase can become too intense for the body. In these instances, you should seek the services of a holistic veterinarian or a certified animal naturopath. They can help your pet get through the detox safely. They may provide additional support in the form of herbs, essential oils, or some other natural therapy. They may also slow down the rate of detoxification to allow your animal’s system more time to detox.


With trust, patience, and lots of love, your pet will move through the detox phase to achieve true vitality, not just a Band-Aid suppression of symptoms that will eventually blow into a full-scale, chronic disease.





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Disclaimer: All information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only. It is not provided to diagnose, prevent, or treat any disease, illness, or injured condition for any human or animal, and Mother Nature’s Truths, as well as the author(s), contributor(s), publishers, and owners accept no responsibility for such use. Anyone suffering from any disease, illness, or injury, or who has an animal suffering from such, should consult with their physician or veterinarian. The statements herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.