It all happens innocently enough. As a special treat, you decide to throw in a little of your leftover lamb to supplement your pup’s meal. He wolfs it down. But within the hour he is whining at the back door.
Your suspicions are confirmed. He has a case of the runs. So, now what?
Enter the digestive wonder herb that is slippery elm. The inner bark of this tree is not only packed with nutrients like vitamins A, B complex, C, K, calcium, magnesium and sodium, but because of its lubricating and anti-inflammatory properties, it is also a well-known soother of the digestive and respiratory systems, according to Herbs for Pets, Second Edition, by Gregory L. Tilford and Mary L. Wulff.
Here are three ways slippery elm can help ease your dog’s discomfort:
Slippery elm is recommended for acute cases of diarrhea, as well as for conditions like colitis and stomach irritations. The herb helps these digestive ailments by reducing inflammation and lubricating the digestive tract with the help of the mucilage, or oily secretions that make up slippery elm. To treat sudden cases of diarrhea, you can also employ fasting, feed bland food and give probiotics along with slippery elm to ease symptoms.
It might seem strange that slippery elm can help two seemingly opposite conditions like diarrhea and constipation… but, well, we told you it was a wonder herb, didn’t we? Because of slippery elm’s soothing, lubricating properties, the herb can help to relieve and even prevent constipation.
Much in the same way slippery elm reduces inflammation and lubricates the digestive tract, it works to help the upper respiratory system, making it of great benefit in easing discomforts from painful coughing associated with conditions like kennel cough and bronchitis.
How to Use
Now that you know how it can help, holistic veterinarian Lisa Brienen offers a few ways to administer slippery elm to your dog.
Note: In rare cases, a dog may be allergic to slippery elm and it shouldn’t be used in pregnant animals, otherwise the herb is generally safe.
Dosage: Give a ¼ capsule twice daily to small dogs, a ½ capsule twice daily to medium dogs, and one capsule once or twice daily for large dogs. Mix contents of capsule into food or some yogurt.
Dosage: Give a ¼ tsp of powder for every 10 lbs of body weight. Mix the powder into food or some yogurt.
Recipe: Mix 1 rounded teaspoon of slippery elm powder in 1 cup cold water, bring to boil while stirring, turn down heat, stir and simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add 1 tablespoon of honey and let it cool.
Dosage: For dogs under 25 lbs, give 1 to 2 tbsp; 25-50 lbs, 2 to 4 tbsp; 50 lbs and over, give ¼ to ½ cup. Dose 4 times a day.
Recipe: Use equal parts slippery elm powder, FOS (fructo-oligosaccharide) powder and L-Glutamine powder.
Dosage: Give 1 tsp twice daily for small dogs, 2 tsp twice daily for medium dogs and 3 tsp twice daily for large dogs. L-Glutamine is an amino acid that heals intestinal cells. If you wish to give your dog L-Glutamine alone, give 500 mg per 25 lbs of body weight per day.