Think about the last time you had an upset stomach, what did you do to treat it? For humans, we have all kinds of different remedies such as ginger, nausea tablets, crackers, toast and Pepto-Bismol. But what about for dogs? Digestive upset can happen at anytime and sometimes not for a specific reason, so it’s important to have a few things on hand that can help soothe your dog’s belly when this happens! I chose 6 of my favorite, most trusting remedies that have not only helped my dogs personally but others as well!
Slippery Elm: In my opinion, slippery elm is the quickest and most reliable remedy for an upset tummy! Slippery Elm is the natural form of pepto bismol. Because of its significant mucilage content, slippery elm coats and lubricates the stomach lining, settling the stomach down in the process. Slippery elm is even used to address ulcers, colitis, and other inflammatory bowel disorders - even in humans! It is also high in fiber so it can help relieve both constipation and diarrhea in your dog as well as alleviate vomiting and nausea.
Powder: Give ¼ tsp of slippery elm powder for every 10 lbs of body weight. Mix the powder into a bit of food, water, or better yet some raw goat milk, greek yogurt or kefir!
Capsule: Give ¼ capsule twice daily to small dogs, a ½ capsule twice daily to medium dogs, and 1 capsule once or twice daily for large dogs. Mix the contents of the capsule into a bit of food, water, or yogurt.
Syrup Recipe: Mix 1 rounded teaspoon of slippery elm powder in 1 cup cold water, bring to a boil while stirring, turn down the heat, then stir and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool. You can also add a bit of local honey after you remove from heat as well.
Syrup Dosage: For dogs under 25 lbs, give 1 to 2 tbsp. Dogs 25-50 lbs, 2 to 4 tbsp. Dogs 50 lbs and over, give ¼ to ½ cup. Dose 4 times a day.
Raw Goat Milk: This is my favorite daily addition into any diet! Raw goat milk is a whole food probiotic that balances the gut flora. With a happy gut comes a happy tummy! Compared to cow’s milk, goat’s milk is easier to digest because the molecules are thinner and has less lactose. In its raw form, goat’s milk contains lactase, which helps break down the lactose as well. Goat’s milk is a great form of bioavailable probiotics that reduces inflammation, optimizes digestion, improves the bioavailability of nutrients, strengthens bones, boosts heart health, strengthens immunity, increase metabolism, prevents toxins from accumulating in the body, and benefits overall health. When my dogs get an upset stomach, I will feed a bit of goat milk to help rebalance the gut.
Under 20 lbs: 2 oz.
20-40 lbs: 4 oz.
40-60 lbs: 6 oz.
60-80 lb: 8 oz.
80 lbs: 10 oz.
Greek Yogurt: High in probiotics, greek yogurt can help aid digestion by restoring the amount of good bacteria in the stomach. Lots of pet parents will feed a bit of greek yogurt to their pups when they are giving them antibiotics since antibiotics kill healthy bacteria and can also upset dogs’ tummies. Be sure to get plain, unsweetened greek yogurt to avoid any added flavoring or sugars. For dosing, start with a small dollop over your dog’s meal and see how they do! Not all dogs handle lactose well, so be sure to monitor the stools after feeding.
Kefir: Kefir is a milk fermented with kefir grains and is packed with probiotics to help soothe your dog’s stomach. Kefir milk is generally cow’s milk, although you can also make/buy kefir from goat milk, too! The fermentation of kefir especially helps with digestion because fermentation helps break down foods, making it easier for dogs to digest. In addition to its digestive properties, kefir also contains biotin (a b-vitamin) for skin health and making energy.
Small size dogs or cats – 1 tsp. – 1 tbsp.
Medium size dogs – 1 – 2 tbsp.
Large dogs – 2 – 3 tbsp.
Canned Pumpkin: Trusty pumpkin contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber can absorb excess water in the gastrointestinal tract which helps to reduce and relieve diarrhea. Also when fighting indigestion, canned pumpkin is a favorite of many holistic veterinarians because it has a low glycemic index, and is absorbed by the body slowly which helps with an upset stomach and digestion. Be sure to get fresh pumpkin so there is no added sugar or spices! Experts recommend 1-4 teaspoons of fresh pumpkin. With anything new in the diet, even if its meant to help soothe GI upset, should be introduced slowly!
Bone Broth: Great for dogs (and cats) with sensitive stomachs and digestive issues. Bone broth contains Gelatin which aids in the digestive process and helps reduce stomach acid. If your pup got into something they shouldn’t have and are having belly troubles, you can skip their regular meals and replace with bone broth. By feeding bone broth you are also ensuring hydration! When dogs have diarrhea they are losing water and can become dehydrated pretty quick, so bone broth will help keep your dog hydrated!
Feeding Guidelines: A standard serving of bone broth for a dog is 1 ounce of broth for every 10 pounds of body weight. For example, a single serving for a 100lb dog is 10oz, and your dog can eat up to 2 servings per day!
Whether your pup overate, got into something he shouldn’t have, or was introduced to new foods and his belly is upset, try out these remedies and see what works best for them! Of course you want to start slow and try one method at a time! I have personally had success with all of these methods and switched them around when the GI discomfort occurs. You will want to monitor your dog closely over the course of 24-48 hours. If the discomfort continues, there may be an underlying cause that needs to be addressed with a veterinarian. These solutions are what I like to call a “band-aid” solution - these will temporary fix your dog's belly upset but should not be used every day if your dog’s discomfort persists. Keep in mind that some foods may worsen the discomfort such as corn, wheat, soy, byproducts and rice because they are inflammatory! Chicken and rice may seem like a great idea at first, but chicken and rice can both cause inflammation and worsen the symptoms.