Addison dogs should be a fed a nutritious, complete diet. Most commercial dog foods are not suitable for Addison dogs (see this article on diet for Addison dogs to find out why). In addition to feeding a natural diet, some supplements can help your dog’s condition. In addition to herbal supplements, a variety of non-herbal supplements can be given to improve your pet’s health.
Melatonin is naturally produced in the pineal gland. The hormone is responsible for the well-being of many bodily functions including setting the body clock (sleep and wake times). Melatonin has a calming effect, so you can use it to calm your pet when a thunderstorm strikes or on a stressful car journey. It does have a drowsiness effect.
Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics
Both products can be used to help your pet’s body break down and use food more efficiently. Digestive enzymes can be helpful to prevent gas, and it may also lead to smaller stool size (if your Addison’s dog has abnormally large stools). Probiotics can prevent diarrhea, treat GI infections and reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Fish oil can be especially beneficial to Addison dogs because it may help improve your pet’s immune system. Use salmon or fish oil, not cod liver oil (cod liver oil carries a risk of overdose).
Adrenal glandulars –obtained from animals — were the original treatment for Addison’s disease. Florinef and DOCP are synthetic versions of this hormone. Dogs with Addison’s disease have weakened immune systems; Providing glandulars as a supplement can bolster your pet’s ability to regenerate glands and organs.
Most cases of diarrhea can be treated with colustrum, which is a pre-milk substance obtained from cows. Colustrum can also be given to help boost the immune system. Colustrum should be given in very small amounts to prevent side effects, which can include diarrhea and vomiting.
Two branches of medicine exist: allopathic and naturopathic medicine. Allopathic medicine is the medicine we’re used to in the Western world–you get sick, go to the doctor and the doctor writes a prescription. However, naturopathic medicine uses natural substances — like herbs — to treat many ailments. Herbs can prevent pest infestations, relieve an upset stomach, or decrease stress. Addisons in dogs has to be treated with artificial hormone replacement from a veterinarian. However, you can employ herbs to deal with other health issues that crop up. Why use herbs? Addison’s dogs are more likely to have a reaction to traditional medicine, and are not able to cope with stressors (like stomach upsets) in the same way that a healthy dog can.
Herbal medicine goes back to the eighteenth century, when the chemical digitalis was extracted from foxglove — a deadly plant in high doses. This herbal extraction was the birth of modern medicine. Although herbs dropped into the background, there are many naturopathic, or holistic veterinarians who use herbs in their practice. Herbs are not only generally safer, they tend to act more slowly as well. The following herbs can be used to treat ailments — make sure your vet is aware of which herbs you are using, because some herbs can interfere with medications and blood tests.
Bilberry has been used in some cases to cure cataracts.
Chamomile tea can soothe upset stomachs or to calm thunderstorm fears.
Cayenne pepper can stop bleeding in an emergency — apply it directly to the wound. It can also soothe toothaches — rub into the affected tooth and gum.
Dandelion very high levels of potassium, and is good for liver health.
Garlic has a variety of uses including as an antibiotic, an astringent, an immune system booster, antibiotic, and as a digestive tract cleanser.
Ginger can help with motion sickness, if given before car rides.
Hawthorn has been shown to halt the progress of, or even completely eradicate, heart disease.
Rosemary tea can help soothe flaky, eczema-type skin issues. Apply as a rinse to your pet’s coat and skin.
Notes on Dosage:
“Clark’s Rule” is used for pediatric dosing — it can also be applied to dogs. If you are not sure about how much of a herb to give to your dog, follow these steps:
1. Weigh your dog (in pounds)
2. Divide your dogs weight by 150. For example, if your dog weighs 50 pounds then 50/150 = 0.333.
3. Multiply the stated dose by the amount you calculated in step 2. For example, if the stated dose is 10 drops for an adult, then you would give a 50 pound dog 0.333 * 10 = 3 1/3 drops.
Addisons dogs have a compromised immune system; it goes without saying that you should feed your pet the most nutritious ingredients available. By providing your dog with a home-made diet, you’ll avoid some of the shocking ingredients found in commercial food, including euthanized animals.
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