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I am not a veterinarian or a nutritionist. If you have concerns about your dog's health, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
Sydney had a wellness check recently with our new vet. Looking at Sydney move and taking in her overall appearance and health history, our vet asked, “Has she had her thyroid checked?”
No. None of our vets have ever mentioned her thyroid, and the only research I've done on thyroids have been on hyperthyroidism, which I thought our dogs would be at risk for given the number of duck necks in their diet.
CLICK HERE to read more about the duck necks and hyperthyroidism.
Why Our Vet Asked About Our Dog's Thyroid
- Sydney looked older than she was; she was at the appointment with her littermate, and she looked years older.
- The extra weight was hard to get off of her; she seemed to pack it on and hold on to it for dear life.
- She was getting little spots on her nose and upon closer inspection, they were where she's lost hair – she had a couple of spots on each side of her nose. There were at least six of them, two were new.
- Sydney doesn't tolerate cold well and would prefer to stay indoors on cold days.
- She's had dry, flaky skin that no amount of fish oil could solve.
The Importance of the Thyroid Gland for Dogs
The thyroid gland is in a dog's neck and makes a hormone (thyroxine) that controls a dog's metabolism. With hypothyroidism, a dog's thyroid isn't creating enough of that hormone.
To test Sydney's thyroid health, our veterinarian drew blood and a couple days later I learned that her thyroid is fine (she doesn't have hypothyroidism), but given her symptoms, her thyroid isn't working the way that it should.
Treatment for a Dog's Underactive Thyroid
Dr. Yearout prescribed an all-around supplement called Proanthozone 20, which is an antioxidant for dogs and helps with the immune system, joint health, and boosts a dog's overall health. He also suggested that I add more vegetables to her diet: CLICK HERE for the recipe.
When she's finished with the Proanthozone, I'll be putting her on Canine System Saver, a supplement that Rodrigo takes and has helped improve his gut health, reduced allergies, and improved his joint health.
I reached out to Heidi Nevala, owner of Natura Petz, for recommendations. She suggested:
- Gland Candy – sea kelp for dogs that directly supports the thyroid gland
- I'm a Rock Star – maca, which works to help Sydney lose weight
Within a couple of weeks on these supplements, I saw visible changes in Sydney:
- The little hairless spots on her muzzle where nearly gone (today, they're completely gone).
- There was a reduction in the greying around her mouth.
- She gained more energy, and she's more playful for longer periods of time.
- And Sydney has less joint pain.
- Sydney lost 1.5 pounds.
The Natura Petz supplements have one ingredient. I chose to order from Natura Petz instead of just the ingredient, because I trust the quality of Natura Petz products, and I didn't immediately know the dosage Sydney would need for her size.
- Ground Kelp Dosage: our dogs get 1,000 milligrams per day in their morning meal.
- Ground Maca Dosage: our dogs get 500 milligrams per day in their morning meal.
Promoting Thyroid Health through Chinese Medicine
I also contacted Sydney's veterinarian/chiropractor and let her know about Sydney's thyroid. In our visits with Dr. Rennard, I learned that Sydney's Qi (pronounced Chee) is blocked. Qi is the life energy that flows through the system of all living beings 24 hours a day while maintaining a balance between Yin and Yang. If the Qi is blocked, then the Yin and Yang fall out of balance, which results in disease, virus, allergies, or pain. Source: MediaVetHosp.com
The acupuncture works to stimulate the system and unblock the Qi, allowing Yin and Yang to flow smoothly. Yep, tons of woo-woo, but it works.
Sydney has had two acupuncture treatments followed by chiropractic adjustments (she's been getting adjustments for 9 months) and these are helping Sydney with her joint/ligament pain and weight loss. She's not a fan of the acupuncture or the adjustments, but there is a point during the adjustment when she feels great, and we can see the improvement in her mobility in the days following.
Dr. Rennard also recommended adding more vegetables to her diet (sound familiar) and decreasing her serving size – she eats 13.5 ounces per meal, I can increase it to 14.0 ounces with more veggies.
Adding Liver to Sydney's Diet
One reason I use base mixes by The Honest Kitchen is that it provides the vitamins and minerals I need when I can't come up with organ meat and bone to build a complete and balanced diet. Plus The Honest Kitchen adds vegetables to our dogs' diet. Turns out that The Honest Kitchen isn't enough for Sydney.
Dr. Rennard also recommended adding more liver to Sydney's diet to improve her blood health. I ordered liver (and other organ meat) through our co-op. It was surprisingly affordable and the dogs love it. I don't have to give a lot, just a tablespoon full or two mixed into their meals. Sydney gets a little more than the other dogs.
Our vet promotes adding more liver because liver…
- is a great source of vitamin A, iron, folic acid, vitamin B, and anti-oxidants
- promotes a healthy digestive system
- promotes higher energy levels, mental health, and nerve health
- promotes a healthy immune system
Raw feeders are encouraged to make liver 5% of their dog's diet, however, because it's very rich and can cause loose stool and diarrhea, it's important to slowly add liver to a dog's diet.
How Sydney is Doing Today
Sydney has been on her new diet and supplement regime for about a month, and she's doing great. We can see that she's lost weight, she's feeling better, she's more active, and a little naughty at times. Our goal is to get her down to 70 pounds (she currently weighs 79 pounds) by the summer. Now that her thyroid is getting healthy, the weight is falling off of her quickly.