These are my top 3 ways to balance the amount of Cortisol in your dogs system.
1: Improve your dog’s liver health.
Your dog’s liver is responsible for a 2 stage process that breaks down the fatty cortisol hormone and then directs in out of the body via urine or bile. If either stage is compromised the cortisol is simple re-circulated until the correct nutrients are available to carry out these stages. This recirculation can happen for days, perhaps longer and influence your dog’s health and the emotions they feel the whole time.
Key to stage 1, Cortisol break down, are enzymes and amino acids. Protein can provide the amino acids, enzymes are created from amino acids when the dogs body is in a healthier more alkaline ph state.
Key to stage 2, Cortisol removal is the mineral Sulfer, found in meat (especially raw meat), eggs yolks and garlic.
Feeding a diet that provides these nutrients is important, as well as that diet being one that supports rather than increases demand on the liver generally.
Fresh, real food is the key, with the least amount of toxins as possible.
2: Increase your dog’s intake of Omega essential fatty acids (efas). My absolute favourite supplement! efas are the subject of much research, showing countless benefits including its ability to enhance the body to cope with stress and balance stress hormones.
Look for fish oils, kept in a dark container and organic if possible. For carnivorous animals fish oils, with their already converted forms of efas are the most useful.
Efas are very sensitive to heat and light, processing that uses heat naturally reduces the amount of these crucial nutrients. So much so that most processed foods just simply do not have adequate levels in them. Currently they are not considered part of the guidelines for a ‘complete’ food for an adult dog, so adding them as a supplement is the only way to ensure your dog receives enough. Perhaps the fact they are not included in most dogs foods is a contributing factor in the higher levels of circulating Cortisol, and subsequent reactive behaviours and health issues, we are now seeing in so many dogs.
3: Increase the time you and your dog spend Being rather than Doing.
To do this you’ll need to assess the environment the dog lives in or is part of. Reducing activities or factors that cause stress hormones to be released.
Instead of fast paced activities, choosing calmer activities that lower the heart rate, relax muscle tension, release endorphins and other beneficial hormones such as melatonin and last but not least influence the production of alpha and theta brainwaves. Gentle massage techniques, meditation and certain types of music are super choices. Allowing for heaps more sniffing especially of new things is also fabulous. Sniffing allows your dog to release stress hormones from its strongest emotional point, the mouth and nose area. Never under estimate the power of sniffing!
Other factors that will influence your dogs cortisol levels are the stress levels of the other beings in the dogs environment, your own as an owner – again easily influenced by improvements to your own diet and taking up calming activities yourself – and also other pets or dogs in the household. Dogs have an amazing ability to literally smell stressful emotions – in fact the chances are all animals can do so. Hormones are physical molecules that attach to receptors and that way encourage an emotion to be felt, our feelings – aka our emotions – literally can be smelt by our dogs, as well as the emotions of other animals nearby.
While you busy yourself trying out the top 3 techniques I am off to meditate on my next article! Perhaps a little more to explain the dogs emotional system, more on how they react to stress and even how they can be encouraged to express themselves in calm ways, ways that allow for both them and you to continue feeling calm and enjoying life as much as possible.
Connect soon x
Please look out for my next blog titled : Understanding Cortisols influence on your dogs behaviour for a more in depth look at Cortisol.