Helping your dog’s upset tummy

As the vet coordinator for Rocky Mt. Great Dane rescue, one of the first calls I usually get from a new foster family is for help with their new rescue dog’s diarrhea/vomiting/nonappetite. Some of our clients also comment occasionally when they bring their dogs in that they’ve been having issues in that direction, as well.  So, I thought I might share a recent article I cobbled together from Pet Wellness magazine for our foster homes on things that might help your dog’s upset digestive system.

Many new dog fosters and owners have witnessed how disconcerting and disorienting being moved to a strange home can be for your new family memeber.  Just about every dog which comes into rescue brings some kind of baggage with him or her.  Stress, poor quality of food, too many changes in a short period of time.  This can result in vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.  There are several soothing and nutritious ways to help your foster dog straighten out their digestive system and get it back on track.


This is a well known remedy that works as a great stool softener for constipation, yet due to the high fiber, can also cure diarrhea.  Just a couple of teaspoons in your dog’s food should do the trick.  Be sure to use pure cooked pumpkin if you buy the cans at your grocery, and not the sweetened pumpkin pie filler. Also, sprinkling pumpkin seeds can help destroy intestinal worms, too.


Rice Congee is a Chinese porridge made from whole grains. It is very easily digested and can be used as a tonic to incorporate other special ingredients.  To make it, combine 1 cup of rice with 3 cups filtered or distilled water. Bring to a boil, giving it a quick stir, then turn the heat down to a low simmer, letting the rice absorb the water.

Add pumpkin to the congee to perk up weak malnourished dogs.  Pumpkin’s pectin content helps regulate the rate of gastric absorption of food.  For chronic diarrhea, make a congee and add 2 ounces of finely grated Chinese yam to the mix.  Simmer for an hour, then turn off the heat and add an egg yolk.  This acts as a tonic for the whole body, fed in mini-meals throughout the day.


Carob packs a lot of punch.  It is rich in natural sugars and contains all the principal minerals and vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, magnesium and iron.  Mix a teaspoon of carob powder with a bit of honey and filtered water to feed your dog, or just sprinkle the powder on their food or mix it with  yogurt.

Locals around the kennel can find carob at the Menomonie co-op.


Ancient Chinese medicine sources site cinnamon as a treatment for nausea, fever and diarrhea.  The oil found in cinnamon has an antifungal and antibacterial property. It also has an anti-gas affect.  Like carob, sprinkle cinnamon on your dog’s food. Just a couple of shakes a day to the diet can make a difference.


Cabbage is actually one of the world’s healthiest foods.  Research shows that cabbage juice helps heals stomach ulcers and recent studies show a positive impact on the whole digestive system.  It has been proven to be both antibacterial and antiviral and its lactic acid helps settle gastritis.

To make simple cabbage juice, chop up a handful of purple cabbage, put it in a pot, add a cup or more of filtered water and heat gently, just until the water is a nice purple color.  Remove from heat and cool.

Slippery Elm

This is one of the best remedies for digestive disorders and should be in every pet owner’s medicine chest.  When the bark is mixed with goat milk or goat milk yogurt, it lines the gut and intestines, protecting the mucous membranes from irritation.  It also has astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. Gruels containing slippery elm and honey are a true internal salve.

To make a simple slippery elm gruel, combine these ingredients to make a powder. Slippery elm bark and marshmallow can also be found at your local health food or co-op store that carries supplements.

1 cup slippery elm  bark
½ cup oat flakes
½ barley flakes
¼ arrowroot
1 T. marshmallow
1 T. wheat germ
1 tsp. dill weed

Add the resulting powder to 1 tsp. of honey. Whisk in a little warm water, then add 1 cup of goat milk yogurt (with cultures) or more filtered water.

Dosages:  young puppies – 1 teaspoon to each meal, adults – 5 teaspoons added to each meal.

* Recipes from Pet Wellness magazine.

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