There is so much advice on the internet about how you can treat pet ailments naturally. Not all of it is actually good advice. What I usually recommend, before trying any given “natural” remedy, particularly if it is herbal, is to research it first. Herb Med is a fantastic resource for both you and your four legged family members. We’ve already addressed dog farts, now, let’s look at how to help them with other digestive issues.
Authors: Holly Redmond and Kurt Kroeck
Photographer: Holly Redmond
My dog or cat has diarrhea, what can I do?
It’s never very much fun when a pet has diarrhea. If your pet has digestive upset, there is one thing that is not only great for this, but it’s not actually a medicinal. Slippery elm, or Ulmas fulva has been used by Native Americans for centuries. An incredibly useful thing to have on hand for humans, it works well for making burn salves, and is great for skin inflammation. Other uses in the human population have been for sore throat and cough remedies. It is also good for digestive issues.
The reason that it works well is that it contains a something known as mucilage. If you think “Hey, that sounds like mucus, and mucus is snot!” you’re not entirely incorrect. When it is mixed with water, this substance becomes a slick gel that coats. Also, it’s high in antioxidants, which is where you get its anti-inflammatory properties. For their human counterparts, slippery elm has shown a great deal of promise in the aid of Crohn’s and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). For pets, it’s a safe way to help an upset stomach. Because of its sweet taste, dog seem to take it well, however, you may have to orally deliver it in a tincture to get a cat to take it. The best way to use it, if you aren’t a knowledgeable forager, is to buy it in loose powder form.
Other pet upset stomach remedies: naturally get rid of dog car sickness
You may enjoy a good cup of peppermint (Mentha piperita) tea when your stomach is sour, but your dog might also. Additionally, catnip is used in humans and we all know how our feline friends feel about that particular herb. Both of these are incredibly useful when it comes to stomach upsets, but peppermint, because it regulates peristalsis, is also very beneficial for issues with inflammatory bowel disease and IBD. Dogs actually like peppermint most of the time, so a little weak tea in a bowl at lukewarm temps should be all you need to help your dog feel a bit less pukey. A word of caution: if your pet has reflux, do not use peppermint, because it relaxes the esophageal sphincter.
Obviously, cats will prefer the catnip to peppermint, and in addition to having digestive benefits, it also acts as a very mild appetite stimulant in them, as well as dogs. It does help with some types of vomiting, but anything persistent should be discussed with your vet.
Catnip is usually easy to administer to cats, you just distribute some of the dried and crushed bits around and they’ll do the rest. However, you can also get a glycerine tincture at some health food stores. When you administer it with their food, you only want to use about a half teaspoon in each pound of food, and about a quarter of a milliliter per 10 pounds of body weight. The glycerine based catnip tincture also is very beneficial to children with stomach upset. When using the tincture for dogs, just follow the guidelines on the label. Their dosage will be very similar to children’s, but if they’re smaller breeds, you can refer to the above dosage for cats.
What usually works even better for dogs with car sickness, also works well in people: a good old fashioned home-made gingersnap. (I will add some of my favorite recipes from friends here, later.)
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