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Iodine Deficiency in Dogs and Cats

Herbal nutrition to help address symptoms of iodine deficiency related to hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism in dogs and cats.

Natura Petz supplements for iodine deficiency in dogs and cats hypthryodism in dogs hyperthyroidism in cats

The endocrine system interacts with many organs and bodily systems, and the adrenal and thyroid glands play a major role in providing critical trace nutrient support to all glands and tissue. The adrenals can become stressed and fatigued, negatively impacting the liver, duodenum, and kidneys.

Iodine is a natural chemical required by our dogs and cats to survive and is also a necessary component for thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland is located in the base of the neck, and produces hormones which help regulate metabolic processes such as growth and energy expenditure. When thyroid hormones are imbalanced, health conditions can present. 

The main cause of iodine deficiency is lack of iodine in the diet. Most commercial dog and cat foods contain adequate levels of iodine, however, how each animal processes iodine varies. Supplementing your pet's diet with critical trace micro and macro-minerals and green leafy vegetables is recommended.


Hypothyroidism is the most common hormonal disorder in dogs. It most commonly affects neutered male and spayed female dogs between the ages of 4 and 10 years.  Hypothyroidism develops when there is a deficiency of hormones thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3).

The exact cause is unknown but it may be caused by an auto-immune response in which the dog’s own immune system kills cells of the thyroid gland. Dogs that usually suffer from recurring skin problems may be exhibiting symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs associated with low iodine levels include:

Poor growth

Hair loss

Weight gain in older animals


Behavioral changes



Lack of interest in play

Increased amounts of sleeping


Weight gain (without an apparent increase in appetite)


Cold intolerance  (your dog may seek warm places to help address low body temperature)

Slow heart rate (bradycardia)




Chronic skin disorders (dry skin, thinning of the hair coat)

Certain dog breeds seem to be more predisposed to hypothyroidism than others. This disorder typically affects mid to large size breeds such as Dobermans, Golden Retrievers, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, Cocker Spaniels and Airedale Terriers.

There is no cure for hypothyroidism but with treatment, pets can continue to enjoy good quality of life. 


Hyperthyroidism is a common endocrine disorder in cats when an excess amount of hormones are produced by the thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism is rarely seen in dogs.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism often include:

Polydipsia (Excessive drinking)

Polyuria (Excessive urination)

Polyphagia (Excessive appetite)

Weight loss






Voluminous fatty feces

Heat intolerance


Skin lesions, dry, greasy, matted coat, alopecia

Studies suggest that cats fed a canned commercial food (grocery store brands) are more at risk from hyperthyroidism (this may because of substances in the lining of the can or because of iodine levels). Switching brands of canned foods (including flavors in the same brand) can overwhelm the system and induce hyperthyroidism so switching brands too frequently should be restricted.

Helpful suggestions: 

Feed your pet a natural, raw and well balanced diet that contains all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients

Incorporate small amounts of kelp (Yelp for Kelp) to prevent deficiencies in thyroid health

Ensure that your pet gets regular exercise

Boost your dog or cat’s immune system with immune-boosting supplements

Take your pet to the vet for annual check-ups and monitor any abnormal physical and behavioral changes

If your pet suffers from a thyroid problem, become as knowledgeable as possible about this health problem

Herbal Nutrition - (listed in order of relevance and recommendation by holistic vets - human grade meets/exceeds highest safety criteria for pets)

Herbal remedies contain adaptogens are used to help stimulate and balance endocrine function, to treat hypothyroidism, to balance the thyroid and adrenal glands, for thyroid disorders and to balance thyroid hormones, to improve thyroid function and support energy levels, metabolism and digestion, to reduce symptoms of hypothyroidism, to build immunity and to provide endocrine, glandular and whole body system support.

I AM A ROCK STAR - (learn more) helps to support and nourish the endocrine system; helps support adrenal gland health and response to stress and metabolic demand, supports glandular ability to rebuild and regenerate, promotes hormonal balance, regulates stress on liver, kidney and digestive functions by reducing thirst and excessive elimination, promotes cognitive function and memory performance, balances blood sugar levels, may lend support to the pancreas in cases of dysfunction; for natural energy in young and geriatric pets, increases muscle use, ability and stamina, provides anti-inflammatory and immune support, helps maintain healthy adrenal, central nervous, digestive, immune and reproductive systems.

Yelp for Kelp - (learn more) provides critical vitamins, amino and fatty acids and trace macro and micronutrient support for the endocrine system, to energize the body, for building and toning enzymes, tissues, hormones and bones, for enhancing natural cleansing and detoxification, to help nutritionally support a balanced immune system; to help support healthy skin and coat;  to help balance digestion; as an osteoporosis preventative, to promote immunity and for metabolic disorders, including the thyroid gland and other glands and tissues that affect the thyroid, for thyroid disorders, to cleanse the lymphatic system, to maintain healthy levels of TSH, T3 and T4, and for metabolic disorders.

Dog & Cat Kryptonite (learn more) supports hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) function, enables the body to respond normally to stress and metabolic demands while supporting the glands' ability to rebuild and regenerate, supports healthy energy levels and vitality, promotes cognitive (brain) function and memory performance and contains critical trace nutrients and antioxidants which may be important preventatives for cognitive decline; for lethargic, aging or convalescing animals, regulates the organs which secrete hormones, including the pituitary, parotid, thyroid and adrenal glands, the pancreas, and the testes; stimulates the hypothalamus, supports endocrine function, the central nervous, digestive, immune and reproductive systems; for its support of cognitive (brain) function, particularly in degenerative conditions.

Gland Candy - (learn more) contains healthy fatty Omega 3 acids used to support healthy body weight, used in the treatment of skin conditions and to promote healthy skin and coat, to support and tone the lymphatic system, to balance glandular activities including the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands, to support and maintain healthy thyroid function and to soothe the thyroid and endocrine system, for allergies, alopecia, allergic dermatitis, moist dermatitis (hot spots), to stimulate tissue repair and for all types of arthritis.

Conventional Remedies:

Your will will perform a thorough physical exam, document clinical signs, and will likely run the following diagnostic tests to assess organ function, including:

Complete blood count (CBC)

Biochemical profile


Thyroxine (T4) level, free-T4 level

Canine TSH test

Thoracic (chest) and abdominal radiographs (X-rays) in certain cases

Many other diseases of older cats can mimic the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including diabetes mellitus and IBD.

Fortunately, hypothyroidism is easily treated and involves the administration of daily doses of synthetic thyroxine. It is usually required for the rest of the dog’s life.

For cats, a Thyroidectomy may be required in more serious cases, and involves removal of the thyroid glands, however, the operation itself may be risky because of the use of anesthetic with cardiac, renal, hepatic and gastrointestinal problems.



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