First of all, what is the Thyroid?
The thyroid gland sits on either side of the trachea right below the voice box. The pituitary gland (located in the brain) secretes a hormone TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) that tells the thyroid gland to secrete thyroid hormone, thyroxine. This thyroid hormone is measured in the blood as T3 and T4. It is often important for your veterinarian to check all three of these lab values (T3, T4 and TSH).
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is inflamed and thus either under or over producing the hormone.
This issue can be brought on by quite a few different issues. including Auto-immune disease, Neurological Disorders, Shrinking of the Thyroid Gland, Impact of the gland (heavy pulling on lead can cause this) and even cancer can bring on a hypothyroid response.
The thyroid gland can also be effected by environment. Inner city dogs are more likely to develop thyroid conditions due to the higher levels of atmospheric geoengineering (chemical trails/pollution).
Poor quality food that contain carbohydrates/grains and over vaccinating are other triggers for hypothyroidism. Injecting toxins and metals such as aluminium and mercury all add to the risk.
There are two types of Hypothyroidism. Overactive and under active.
Overactive thyroid glands in the dog are rare and are usually associated with cancer. Hypothyroidism in dogs is usually caused by inflammation or shrinkage of the thyroid gland. Thyroid cancer can cause hypothyroidism although it does not occur commonly in dogs.
Under active thyroid is the most common which we can be seen in dogs.
Signs of under active thyroid
As Hypothyroidism can be caused by quite a few different reasons, not all reactions or signs are the same.
Most common symptoms include:
Unfortunately in most cases a hormone replacement medication route is absolutely necessary. Initially thyroid hormone is usually given twice daily. Once the hair coat begins to improve, some dogs can be maintained on once daily medication.
In some cases, you don’t have to do it forever. This is a really important component to restoring health. Your dog needs T4 to be healthy.
Once on the medication your dogs T4 levels will need constant monitoring. This can be anywhere from every 6 weeks to every 6 months.
Diet can play a huge roll in reducing the impact on the dogs thyroid and there are lots of supplements which will have a positive effect too.
Get rid of all carbohydrates from the dogs diet is step number 1. Gluten found in Grains, Cereals and junk fillers in processed food has a hugely negative impact on the dogs thyroid. So moving to a species appropriate raw diet from a processed diet is step number 1.
There are lots of foods, supplements and daily changes which will have a positive impact on the thyroid and will help improve function.
Probiotics - First of all feeding a Probiotic with have a tremendous benefit to your dogs overall health as well as helping aid thyroid function. The bacteria in the gut of dogs plays a crucial role in inflammation and immune response. This is possibly one of the most important supplements you can give your dog. We stock a few different Probiotics which we recommend. Tummy Tastic by Proflax and Kefir Paws. I would highly recommend using both.
CBD Oil - CBD Oil has been proven to have a potive impact on the health of the thyroid gland. Scientists have discovered that there are cannabinoid receptors located on cells on the thyroid gland. Cannabinoid receptors have also been identified within the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN), an area of the brain that sends signals to the thyroid, regulating its activities.
You can read all about CBD Oil and its hundreds of wonderful benefits in my article by clicking here
Detoxifying Herbs - Detoxifying the body is key to regulating auto-immune related issues which impact the thyroid. There are lots of natural ingredients and herbs which can help with this. including: Milk Thistle, Turmeric, Artichoke, Dandelion, Ginger, Yellow Dock, Ginger and Beetroot.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids - Among a handful of other fantastic benefits omega 3 fatty acids plays a crucial role to reduce inflammation and increase immune system. You can get these EFA's into your dogs diet by adding oily fish like salmon, sardines, sprats etc or by supplementing with Salmon Oil or in this instance the best would be Flaxseed Oil.
We stock a fantastic Flaxseed Oil called Proflax Liver Love. Not only is it a flaxseed base so contains all the omegas which your dog needs but it also contains 25% active herbal ingredients all formulated to help detox. including many listed above. Dandelion, Milk thistle, Yarrow, Artichoke, Shizandra, Yellow dock and Liquorice. You can pick up Proflax Liver Love in our shop or online here https://www.prettypointer.com/product/proflax-liver-love/
Iodine - Iodine is a mineral found in some foods. The body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones. This is definitely something to increase in your dogs diet if they have under active thyroid. But if they have overactive thyroid you must avoid feeding as an increase in iodine will increase the production on hormones and thus make them worse.
Foods that are higher in iodine are vegetables like asparagus, beetroot, green beans, broccoli and garlic. You can add all of these to your dogs diet in small quantities. Some fish like cod and haddock would be good as they have high levels of iodine. However even though so does tuna, tuna may also contain high levels of mercury and we want to avoid metal toxification as much as possible. So avoid Tuna, shark, swordfish etc too.
Reduce Florine levels - Florine has been proven to have a negative effect on thyroid function. Florine is present in the water we drink daily from our taps. Instead opt for spring water or buy a filter which will remove the Florine from tap water.
Fasting - Fasting has many benefits for both dogs and humans. Regular fasting acts as a gentle detox for the body. It increases the immune system, detoxifies the liver, increases the metabolism and is good for the general health anyway.
It is most beneficial to feed dogs once per day for this reason. Similar to what we humans call intermittent fasting. It allows their body to regulate the internal organs and relieve the stress daily life impacts them.
Some will say feeding once per day will be enough the make a difference and others opt for a whole 1 day a week fast too. However this may not suit some dogs and hunger pukes can be expected in some cases.
At this time there is not much more information available on combating hypothyroidism and even less in canines. But science is always evolving and hopefully in the coming years we will have a more definitive cure rather than constant hormone replacement therapy.
Prevention is always more powerful than cure. So regardless of your dogs thyroid health I would strongly recommend implementing all of the above anyway to ensure your dogs health is in tip top condition. A dogs health can be made or broken by their diet. So always ensure they have a complete balanced diet (preferably raw) and make sure they are getting probiotics and essential oils in their diet. Reduce toxification from metals and pollution and you will get the very best our of your 4 legged friend.