Heavy Metal Detox: How To Extend Your Dog’s Life

By Chelsea Hunt-Rivera / April 2, 2018
how to extend your dog's life with heavy metal

The time has come to have a real conversation about the environment we live in and the many ways it affects our beloved four-legged friends. Heads up- it’s pretty unsettling, apologies in advance. Nevertheless, it is a conversation that is incredibly necessary to ensure that your dog is living the healthiest life possible. Read on to learn about heavy metal detox in dogs!

Why Detoxify Our Dogs

why detoxify your dog

Researchers estimate that there are approximately 85,000 chemicals in our environment. Not to mention, these chemicals are everywhere; there’s literally no way to escape them fully.

Furthermore, ninety percent of these chemicals have never been tested for safety. Let that sink in for a minute. (90%!)

Correspondingly, one component exists in your dog’s day to day activities. It’s in the food they eat, the water they drink, the air they breathe. The ingredient? Heavy metal toxins.

Toxins come from absolutely everywhere. At times it seems that there is no way around them. While toxins will always exist to a degree, the extent of toxins that your dog is exposed to on a daily basis is entirely up to you!

This information is great news! Knowing that we have control over the well-being of our beloved animals means that we can make sure we are doing everything we can to keep them healthy.

Accordingly, when it comes to reversing damage, we must know the underlying cause.

Introducing heavy metals, specifically:

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Cadmium
  • Arsenic
  • Aluminum
  • Nickel

These heavy metals toxins are commonly found in:

  • Processed Food – Containing preservatives and other chemicals
  • Environment – Indoor and outdoor i.e. chemicals in household cleaners and pesticides
  • Vaccines – Along with other drugs and flea/tick medication

By and large, when unmonitored, toxic metals can cause severe side effects. It’s up to us to be aware and act accordingly.

What is Heavy Metal Poisoning

Heavy Metal Poisoning is the result of toxic build-up of chemicals and other biologically foreign substances that accumulates in the body over weeks, months, and years.

A dog’s liver and kidneys are responsible for clearing toxins from the body. Therefore, when considering how much smaller a dog’s organs are than a human’s, it’s easy to see how quickly the amount of toxic metals could become overwhelming.

Similarly to a person’s body, when too much is demanded from the detoxifying organs, they begin to wear out. The body will then attempt to rid the heavy metal toxicity in other ways, including through the skin.

Chronic illnesses from skin infections to gastrointestinal issues begin to occur when the body is no longer able to deal with the toxic load effectively.

Consequently, when all toxin removal systems fail, severe health conditions can occur, including liver disease and kidney failure.

Heavy Metal Poisoning Symptoms

heavy metal poisoning symptoms

The amount of chronic illnesses caused by heavy metal toxicity is remarkable. When the body is no longer able to rid itself of the toxic load, illnesses and diseases emerge in many forms.

The following are common symptoms that the body is not able to adequately remove the waste and Heavy Metal Poisoning has developed:

  • Skin irritations and infections
  • Ear infections
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loose stools
  • Flakey skin
  • Runny nose
  • Mucous in the eyes
  • Mucous covered feces
  • Overall lethargic mood

Hidden Culprits of Toxic Heavy Metals

In order to regulate the amount of heavy metal toxicity in our dog’s body, we must first understand exactly where the heavy metal toxins are coming from. Major companies are not going to label their products with Heavy Metal warnings. We have to know what to look for and what to avoid.

Mercury and Aluminum from Vaccines

Most vaccines contain mercury and aluminum. They cause a great deal of damage to the body individually, but when they are combined, these toxic metals destroy the nervous system.


Aluminum is the most common adjuvant in vaccinations. It targets the brain and endocrine system. Therefore, the damage that aluminum causes include but is not limited to:

  • Brain degeneration
  • Nervous system deterioration
  • Vaccine-related cancers
  • Seizures
  • Behavioral problems


Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative found in vaccines. Thimerosal was found to be toxic to tissue cells in concentrations as low as one part per million (PPM). This is 100 times weaker than the concentration of a typical vaccine. Despite this knowledge, many vaccines still contain Thimerosal.

Researchers have called mercury the most ubiquitous contaminant on the planet. Mercury production rose during the industrial age as a pollutant. Presently, mercury is used as a preservative in nearly everything we make, including medicine. The amount of mercury toxicity continues to increase as time goes on.

Dogs who have mercury poisoning may experience the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anxiety
  • Blindness
  • Convulsions
  • Death
  • Kidney damage
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting blood
  • Diarrhea

Mercury toxicity is not only found in vaccines. Contaminated soil can also have high volumes of mercury and pet owners may have no idea their dog is walking through poison.

Acute mercury poisoning occurs when a dog is exposed to high amount of mercury and has symptoms right away.

Chronic mercury poisoning happens gradually when small traces of mercury are apart of the dog’s day to day life. The symptoms occur over time.



A considerably dangerous hidden culprit of metal poisoning is at the source of food production. Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide found in pet food.

Glyphosate is used as a desiccant before harvesting crops such as:

  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Sugar
  • Beets
  • Canola
  • Wheat
  • Barley

These foods are not only fed to our dogs but also fed to the livestock that we all consume.

By and large, glyphosate is an enormous cause of disease.

Glyphosate and Vaccines

The presence of glyphosate increases the toxicity of vaccines. Glyphosate hinders the detoxifying organs to remove the toxins from vaccinations. The combination also inhibits the liver from activating vitamin D. Therefore, vitamin D deficiencies are being found more and more often.

Low-Quality Fish Oil

Fish oil can have incredibly positive benefits ranging from healthy skin to a reduction in heart problems.

However, low-quality fish oil can have traces of mercury from the mercury levels in our oceans. It is paramount to make sure you are giving your dog the best quality fish oil that you possibly can.

In order to ensure you’re getting the best quality as possible, ask for a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from the manufacturer. The COA will give you information on the results of the quality control tests.

Also, the highest quality fish oil always comes from wild caught fish, never farm-raised.

Common Culprits of Toxic Heavy Metals

Let’s dive back into the most common culprits of heavy metal toxicity.


Processed pet food contains high levels of preservatives and chemicals as well as allergenic ingredients such as grains and other carbohydrates. Feeding your dog a balanced, preferably raw, diet can significantly reduce the toxicity levels in the body.

Also, rotating the protein source as well as limiting or eliminating grains will also decrease metal toxicity.


As we continue to stress, toxins are everywhere. Your dog’s water source may be the cause of unwanted toxins. An easy way to ensure that your dog isn’t consuming additional toxins is to implement clean, high-quality drinking water. The water shouldn’t contain heavy metals or fluoride.


Perhaps the most prominent toxic metals come from the environment. The good news is, we can control a lot of it.


Polluted indoor air, as well as household cleaners containing chemicals and preservatives, can significantly increase the toxicity in your dog’s body.

Consider buying an air filter to reduce dust mites and be sure to forbid smoking in the house. Also, switch to non-toxic cleaning supplies. They are better for your pup and also better for your health and well-being, too.


Pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers are major factors of heavy metal toxicity.

Make sure to keep your dog away from areas known to have high volumes of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. If you are unsure whether your dog may have been exposed to these toxins, you should wash their paws off when you get home. Washing off whatever outside element can eliminate the toxic sources entering their body and entering your home.


vaccinations with heavy metal for dogs

There are ingredients in vaccines that accumulate and can have extremely severe symptoms and consequences.

Researchers show that the core vaccines can protect a dog for at least seven years, potentially for life. In fact, this information means that we do not have to vaccinate our four-legged friends once a year, or even once every three years.

Unfortunately, many states require the rabies vaccine every three years. Additionally, doggy daycares, groomers, and vets may require even more vaccines before using their service. Depending on your lifestyle, these requirements may make vaccinating not an option.

Regardless of the amount that you chose to vaccinate your dog, detoxing afterward is crucial.

How To Detox Your Dog From Heavy Metals

We’ve all heard someone talking about doing a detox. Feeling lethargic? Detox. Skin breaking out? Detox. Bloating? Detox.

Simply put, detox is the process of abstaining from and eliminating toxins in the body.

Comparatively, dogs also need to detox. In their case, a heavy metal detoxification (HMD). But how?

Natural Detox

A dog’s body uses its four systems to detoxify naturally from heavy metal toxicity:

  • Liver – the most complex and able to detox thousands of substances
  • Gastrointestinal Tract – responsible for removing toxins through solid waste
  • Skin – the largest detox organ
  • Kidneys – responsible for removing water-soluble toxins

While the body does all that it can naturally, heavy metal toxins are still left behind. For this reason, as a pet owner, we need to support the natural heavy metal detoxification of each system.

The Liver

b12 to detoxify dog

Although possible, it is unlikely that even a healthy liver would be able to detoxify the number of toxins that enter the body.

Helping the liver detox will also aid in reducing symptoms of:

  • Allergies
  • Fatigue
  • Skin diseases
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic infections
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Anxiety
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Damage from free radicals that lead to cancer

By adding a “liver formula” to a balanced diet you are aiding the liver do what it naturally does best – detox the body.

Use a liver formula that includes the following ingredients:

  • Simple B vitamins (folate)
  • B12
  • Niacin (B3)
  • Riboflavin (B2)
  • Amino acids
  • Antioxidants
  • Trace minerals (selenium, copper, zinc, manganese)
  • Silymarin (milk thistle)

Now, let’s get more specific about these ingredients and how they aid in the heavy metal detox process.

Antioxidants and B-Complex Vitamins

The following is a list of crucial nutrients that deficient in heavy metal poisoning. By boosting these nutrients, pet owners can aid in the heavy metal cleanse.

  • Antioxidant vitamins A, C, E and vitamin D
  • B-complex vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and selenium

Here are good sources of the deficient nutrients that you can add to your dog’s food:

  • Vitamin A: liver, eggs, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens
  • Vitamin C: citrus, berries, red bell peppers
  • Vitamin E: seeds and their oils, wheat germ oil, grains
  • Vitamin D: liver, eggs, sardines, mackerel, salmon, tuna
  • B vitamins: liver, venison
  • Zinc: red meat, poultry
  • Magnesium: fish, dark leafy greens
  • Selenium: oily fish, beef and beef liver, chicken, eggs

Milk Thistle

Silymarin (milk thistle) protects the liver cells against toxins, regenerates liver cells, and helps stimulate protein synthesis.

Additionally, milk thistle aids in the detoxification process as well as aids in repairing liver damage.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and critical in detoxification of the body. Dogs need a variety of proteins so feeding them different meats, as well as eggs and fish, will be most beneficial. Also, if you are using an amino acid formula, try to find one with taurine and glycine.

Glutathione Precursors

Glutathione is an antioxidant made by the body and is crucial for liver detoxification. Furthermore, researchers believe that approximately 45 percent of liver disease in dogs is due to low levels of glutathione. N-acetylcysteine and alpha-lipoic acid serve as precursors for glutathione to be able to be produced in the body. Additionally, n-acetylcysteine fights infections and alpha-lipoic acid can regulate blood sugar levels.

The Gastrointestinal System

The GI system is responsible for :

  • Storing and breaking down food
  • Producing hormones
  • Producing bile for digestion
  • Absorbing nutrients

The GI system also protects against bacteria and parasite invasion. Additionally, the gastrointestinal system produces serotonin, which maintains the emotional well-being.

We can aid the GI system in a heavy metal detoxification with probiotics.


Vaccines can obstruct the balance of bacteria in the gut. This bacteria is the core of the dog’s immune system. Adding probiotics will restore the balance and help your dog’s ability to absorb vitamins.

Probiotics also aid in gene repair to the synthesis of nutrients.

Additionally, as if probiotics couldn’t get any better, they help remove mercury from the body.

Pre-made prebiotics and probiotic blends are available for purchase, or you can give your dog some kefir, sauerkraut or kimchi. All fermented foods are great probiotics and will aid in the heavy metal detoxification process.

The Skin

Due to the surface area of skin, it absorbs the most toxic heavy metals. Therefore, aiding in the detoxification of the skin can make a world of difference in your pet’s health.

Detoxing the skin may be easier than you think.

In fact, a soothing detox bath will do the trick.

The frequency of bathing is determined based on the toxin exposure. For instance, metro dogs who are constantly walking on asphalt and spend time at dog parks, a detox bath once a month is recommended.

Consequently, pet owners should avoid bathing their dogs too often as it can dry out the natural oils of their skin.

By cleansing your dog’s skin and paws you are taking an active role in detoxing heavy metals from their body.

The Kidneys

The kidneys are highly efficient at naturally detoxing the body of toxic heavy metals, so most of the time little needs to be done to aid in the process.

Primarily, pet owners should make sure their dog stays hydrated to guarantee that the kidneys are flushing.

When detoxing, bone broth or warm organic milk can be used to encourage drinking.

Heavy Metal Detoxification After Vaccinating

Additionally, there are several ways to help with the heavy metal cleanse specifically after vaccination. The following nutrients will rid the body of side effects, but will not interfere with the vaccines.

  • Probiotics
  • Homeopathy
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Micro-Algae
  • Garlic and Leafy Greens
  • Cilantro
  • Chlorella

Prevent Candida

Another important topic to bring up is candida yeast. If your dog has a presence of candida it is most likely a telling sign that heavy metals exist. It is critical to not aggravate the candida. It has the potential to release over 60 toxic substances.

In order to prevent candida, you must get rid of the things that it lives off of- carbs, sugar, and grains. Eliminating these will aid in curing the candida overgrowth and help to prevent it from recurring.


Regular exercise provides many benefits for your dog and aids in the detoxification process. Exercise promotes blood circulation which helps toxins move to the liver and kidneys for processing. Exercise also gets things moving in the body and encourages toxin removal through urine and feces.

Heavy Metal Detox Precautions & Tips

Heads up! This detoxification process can be a little gross. A lot of waste will be flushed from your pup which may leave them feeling a bit “off.”

There’s no need to rush the process. Start with one component at a time and monitor how your dog’s body is adjusting to the detox program.

It is not uncommon for flu-like symptoms to arise as the body begins to rid itself of toxins. Discharge from your dog’s ears, eyes, skin, or rectum may occur.

If the dog’s heavy metal toxicity level is severe, side effects such as diarrhea are more common.

Remember, this is a process. If your pup tends to be on the sensitive side, take things slowly.

Whole Food Sources

It is important that the supplements used in a heavy metal detox are not chemical synthetic or imitation vitamins.

Supplementing with real whole foods and adding chelators like chlorella and superfoods such as spirulina will have long-term safe and positive effects.

The Detoxed Dog

the detoxed dog

The results of a heavy metal detox are astounding. As a result of HMD, you may find your dog has a newfound energy, is more alert, and wants to participate in activities and games. Owners have said that after a heavy metal cleanse their dog seems more like themselves. These testimonies further show just how detrimental heavy metal toxicity can be. It can completely change your dog’s demeanor.

Their coats begin to shine and their eyes get clearer. Overall, they become healthier and happier. Isn’t that what we all want for our furry companions?

Whether or not you were previously aware of the heavy metals and their role in our pet’s life, now you know the severe risks. Therefore, we have to do better when it comes to the chemicals we are allowing to exist on a daily basis.

It is entirely up to the dog owner whether they want to vaccinate their pet. Furthermore, it is up to the owner whether they chose to switch to a raw diet, purchase an air filter, and include supplements to their pet’s lifestyle. We strive to provide information and knowledge.

It is clear that we are not living in a world where we can assume things are safe. Be aware. Read the labels. Do your homework.

Your dog’s exposure to toxins is greatly under your control. With a few lifestyle changes, we can remove heavy metals and their negative impact on our dog’s health and well-being.


How does my dog get heavy metal in their body?

How can I detox my dog from heavy metals?

What supplements will help detox my dog’s liver?

Can detoxing my dog have any adverse effects?

How do I know if my dog has heavy metal poisoning?


Heavy Metal Detox For Dogs: Why It’s Important!

How To Detox Your Dog

Dog Vaccinations: Why Detox Is Important





About the author

Chelsea Hunt-Rivera

Chelsea Rivera is a Dedicated Pet Parent who loves to create amazing content for pet owners and is helping change pet wellness as the Head of Content for Honestpaws.com.