Used for centuries as a natural option for addressing a wide variety of ailments in humans, colloidal silver is now gaining increasing popularity with dog owners looking for holistic alternatives to many modern medicines. Proponents of colloidal silver tout it as the answer to nearly any infection or irritation.
But there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence behind the effective use of colloidal silver for dogs. Is it really the cure-all that people think it is? And is it entirely safe to give to your pup?
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What is colloidal silver?
Colloidal silver is a liquid suspension of tiny, almost microscopic particles of silver. Typically suspended in water, the silver particles are so small that they are actually considered nanoparticles and can’t be seen with the naked eye. Referring to it as silver may be confusing, as the substance itself isn’t silver in color at all. Colloidal silver is usually yellow or a deep golden color.
True colloidal silver is the highest quality silver and doesn’t contain any additives. Therefore, less of the substance is stored in the body when ingested than other forms of silver. For thousands of years, people have sworn by colloidal silver as a highly effective alternative antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agent.
What is colloidal silver used for?
Silver has long been used for sterilization and its antibacterial properties. In fact, silver is still used today in products such as bandages and wound dressings, personal hygiene products, and cosmetics. Research indicates that colloidal silver may:
- Kill bacteria
- Combat some fungi and yeast infections, including ringworm
- Reduce skin inflammation
- Help heal infected wounds and burns
- Control sinus infections
- Fight other bacterial infections
Fans of colloidal silver also use the product to help control viruses like HIV and Hepatitis C, support their immune system, and even prevent or kill certain forms of cancer. Not only is the substance reported to act as an antibacterial agent, but it may also help soothe irritated and inflamed skin. This is particularly promising for those humans and pups with skin allergies—colloidal silver may ease itching and dryness and support the regrowth of healthy skin tissue. Colloidal silver may also be used to address:
- Eye infections such as pink eye
- Respiratory issues such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma
- Ear infections
- Viral infections such as canine distemper
- Antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections
How does it work?
It’s not entirely clear how or why colloidal silver reportedly works so well for such a wide variety of health issues. One school of thought is that the tiny silver ions present in the colloidal silver solution are able to easily penetrate individual molecules and destroy pathogens of all kinds such as parasites, viruses, fungi, and bacteria. However it works, it works quickly—proponents of colloidal silver report that it provides fast results.
For dogs, colloidal silver can be administered orally, topically, or misted with a nebulizer for inhalation. The great news is that it’s nearly tasteless, odorless, and doesn’t sting when applied directly to eyes, ears, or skin. This means colloidal silver is relatively easy to put in your pup’s water or food, or even directly in their mouth. The application method depends on the nature of the issue you are aiming to address—inhaled mists and sprays are most appropriate for respiratory issues, while topical ointments may be best for skin issues.
Is colloidal silver safe for dogs?
Silver has been used as an antibacterial agent for centuries. But just because colloidal silver has been used by humans in the past does not necessarily mean that it is safe by modern standards, especially for our furry friends. Pet parents should always consult their veterinarian before giving their dog or cat new products, particularly those with potential health risks. With colloidal silver, medical experts often point to a lack of credible scientific studies surrounding its safe use. Moreover, FDA does not approve of the use of colloidal silver in pets.
Silver is considered a “transition metal,” meaning that it is somewhere between toxic heavy metals like lead and mercury, and essential nutritional minerals like iron and zinc. This doesn’t necessarily mean that colloidal silver isn’t toxic—potential risks of overexposure to silver, which we will cover in greater detail below, include damage to major organs and nervous system, eye and skin irritation, and even cancer.
With colloidal silver, there is a risk that the good bacteria in your dog’s gut will be eliminated in addition to the bad bacteria. This can cause diarrhea and other problems. Given these potential safety concerns, it’s important to highlight that topical use of colloidal silver is notably safer for your pup than oral use. If you do decide to orally administer colloidal silver to your dog, make sure to give your pet a prebiotic and probiotic to keep their gut health in check.
Colloidal silver is widely thought of as a possible natural alternative to antibiotic medication for fighting all kinds of infections. As you may know, antibiotics don’t just kill bad bacteria. They also kill good bacteria, which both humans and pets need to keep their microbiome in healthy working order. Destroying good bacteria harms more than just your pup’s digestive health, however—it also harms their immune system, hindering their ability to resist diseases of all kinds. This negative implication of colloidal silver is most common in long-term oral use, which can impact the overall homeostasis of the intestinal tract.
Another significant concern with the use of colloidal silver for your dog is the potential for organ damage. As a transition metal, silver will eventually accumulate in the liver, kidneys, brain, and other major organs and tissues. Other side effects include:
- Muscle weakness
- General malaise, lethargy, and sluggishness
- Weight loss
- Kidney issues
- Altered liver enzymes and other liver issues
- Neurological damage, exhibited in tremors and or seizures
It’s important to keep your pup hydrated while administering colloidal silver, as your canine companion’s eliminatory organs will become overloaded, attempting to flush out silver toxins. There is also a chance that colloidal silver may interact with certain prescriptions, leading to poor absorption of some antibiotics and thyroid medications.
Although rare, prolonged or excessive exposure to colloidal silver can result in a permanent skin condition called argyria. When silver builds up in your dog’s body, their skin can turn a blue-grey color. The risk of developing argyria is relatively low as long as pet owners use high-quality, true colloidal silver. If you choose to give your pup colloidal silver either topically or orally, be sure to never use it for more than two weeks. Additionally, colloidal silver should not be given to puppies.
CBD: Overall health support without the risks
Not all-natural pet products and supplements are harmless. As you can see, giving your dog colloidal silver, while full of promise to address a wide range of health concerns, has some serious risks that can significantly impact the long-term health of your pup.
ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA is proven safe in a long-term safety and pharmacokinetics study. We also have the only CBD + CBDA product proven to work in a clinical trial. Our chews, soft gels, and oils can help your furry friend with a range of concerns, including joint discomfort, itching, and both stress and neuro support. At ElleVet, we put safety, quality, and science first so pet parents and veterinarians can be confident in our product.
For any questions about ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA products or how CBD can help your canine friend live their best life, give us a call (844-673-7287) or send us an email ([email protected]). We are here to help.