Did you know that in the United States, most cases of hypothyroidism are immune related? If that is the case for humans, it might also be the case for dogs. Indeed, thyroid disease is very common in dogs here in the U.S. Here is what my research is telling me.
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, can be caused by environmental toxins, heavy metals and other chemicals which act as endocrine or hormone disruptors, interfering with the thyroid’s ability to function and metabolize properly. Chronic inflammation and stress can also cause hypothyroidism. Inflammatory foods can worsen the problem, and they also inflame the intestines — this interferes with the absorption of iodine, which is necessary for thyroid function.
Inflammatory foods include gluten, a protein found in wheat. Dogs have no place eating this stuff to begin with, but unfortunately it is in many dog foods. Some raw vegetables, including cruciferous vegetables can interfere with thyroid hormone production, consequently enlarging the thyroid gland. Cruciferous vegetables include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish, turnips, kale, collards and other leafy green vegetables. However, cooking seems to inactivate the compound responsible for this, so serving cooked veggies should be okay. Some other foods can also interfere with the thyroid, including canola oil, mustard, almonds, peanuts, pine nuts, peaches, pears, millet, corn, sweet potatoes and lima beans.
Soy can also block the absorption of iodine — again, dogs should not eat soy anyway, but it’s another thing found in many dog foods.
Some nutritional deficiencies can also contribute to thyroid malfunction.
One of the best ways to optimize your dog’s health is to offer him or her the best diet. If your dog has a thyroid issue or is at risk of developing one, you can tailor his or her diet accordingly. Homemade diets accomplish this mission.