Most dogs surrendered to shelters or taken in by rescues have some physical and emotional baggage. Stomach issues are often part of this baggage due to stress, poor quality diets, too many changes of food or environment, or a combination of all these.
Diarrhea, vomiting and poor eating habits are common, and can continue even after adoption as the dog adapts to settling into a new home with new people. Luckily, there are many soothing and nutritious ways to help get a stressed-out canine digestive system back on track.
It might be just what the doctor ordered, if your dog is experiencing bouts of constipation or diarrhea. It is a terrific stool softener, making it a perfect remedy for constipation. And since it is very rich in fiber, one to two teaspoons in your dog’s food is an effective remedy for diarrhea. A sprinkle of ground pumpkin seeds can help destroy intestinal worms too.
Pumpkin pudding cake
1½ cups whole oat flour
1 cup whole brown rice flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
1½ teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon carob powder
1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup ground almonds or Brazil nuts (optional)
3 cups pure pumpkin pureé
1/4 cup honey (local honey can be combined with Manuka honey)
Use organic ingredients wherever possible. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly oil a cake pan or Pyrex dish. Combine all ingredients. Spoon into cake pan and bake for 1¼ hours. Cool completely before serving. Cut in squares and store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. This recipe freezes well.
Chinese porridge or congee is a thick soup made from whole grains. Plain congee is very easily digested, and becomes a tonic when special ingredients are added to the basic combination of rice and water.
• Combine 1 cup of Thai jasmine rice with 3 cups of filtered water. Bring to a boil, giving it a quick stir, then turn the heat down to a very low simmer, letting the rice absorb all the water. Cool before serving, and keep leftovers in the refrigerator for no more than 24 hours.
• Pumpkin can be added to congee to perk up weak malnourished dogs. Pumpkin’s pectin content helps regulate the rate of gastric absorption of food.
• For chronic diarrhea, make traditional 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. Serve your dog mini meals throughout the day, and add a pinch of sea salt before serving (optional).
Carob packs a whole 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. Carob is great for calming an upset tummy and curbing diarrhea. It can be found in health food stores, either in vacuum sealed bags or in bulk form. Dogs really like the taste.
I like to mix a teaspoon of carob powder with a bit of honey and filtered water. It also makes a perfect sprinkle for your dog’s food, and is great when mixed in with some yogurt.
Ancient Chinese herbal references cite cinnamon as a treatment for nausea, fever and diarrhea. Native American Indians also used it for diarrhea, chills and to freshen breath. It is used much the same way today, treating a variety of gastrointestinal problems, including nausea and flatulence. The oil found in cinnamon has antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is also a carminative and makes a digestive tonic when prepared as a tea.
Like carob, cinnamon can be sprinkled on your dog’s food. Try adding a shake or two to his daily diet.
Cabbage is one of the world’s healthiest foods. Research has shown that cabbage juice helps heal stomach ulcers, and very recent studies have illustrated it has a positive impact on the entire digestive tract.
Cabbage contains a variety of nutrients that support the stomach and intestinal lining. These nutrients include glucosinolates and the anti-inflammatory isothiocyanates or ITC s made from them, as well as polyphenols and glutamine, an amino acid essential for intestinal health. Uncooked cabbage is high in glutamine. It has been proven to be both antibacterial and antiviral. Cabbage also contains S-methylmethionine, another compound with anti-ulcer properties, and its lactic acid helps settle gastritis.
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, cool and serve. Cabbage juice is soothing and can help stop diarrhea.
Cultured cabbage juice
1. Fill your blender with chopped green cabbage (it’s important to use fresh organic cabbage for this recipe) and distilled water to the 2/3 mark.
2. Turn the blender on high for one minute.
3. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, and repeat the process two more times.
4. Cover the bowl with Saran wrap and let the cabbage sit at room temperature for three days.
5. Strain the cabbage so you are left with only the juice.
6. Store in the refrigerator. This juice is loaded with friendly lactobacteria, and the lactic acid will help kill many strains of fungi parasites and other pathogens. A little goes a long way, so take 1 teaspoon of cabbage juice and mix it with 1 teaspoon of water for your dog.
Honey is packed with antioxidants and flavonoids, and its acidity or pH is low enough to hinder or even prevent the growth of many types of bacteria. There is substantial evidence that honey, especially New Zealand’s Manuka honey, may be effective against Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which causes stomach ulcers.
The UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) is a phytochemically-derived antibacterial property found in some strains of Manuka honey. A UMF rating of 10 is the minimum recognized for beneficial healing properties. The term “UMF” is a guarantee that the honey you have purchased contains this special antibacterial property to at least the level indicated on the label.
This is one of the greatest remedies for digestive disorders. When the bark is mixed with goat milk or goat milk yogurt, it lines the gut and intestines, protecting the mucous membranes from irritation. Slippery elm contains tannins and mucilagens, which have astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. Gruels containing slippery elm and honey are truly an “internal” salve for all kinds of digestive problems.
Make your own gruel
1 cup slippery elm bark (Ulmus rubra)
1/2 cup oat flakes
1/2 cup barley flakes
1/4 cup arrowroot
1 tablespoon marshmallow (Althea officinalis)
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 tablespoon dill seed
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup goat milk yogurt or filtered water
Combine the first seven ingredients. Add 1 teaspoon of the resulting powder to the honey. Whisk in a little warm filtered water, then add 1 cup of goat milk yogurt (with cultures) or more filtered water.
Puppies and small dogs – 1 teaspoon added to each meal
Medium dogs – 3 teaspoons added to each meal
Large dogs – 5 teaspoons added to each meal
Homemade pencillin aka chicken soup
No list of stomach remedies is complete without a recipe for “homemade penicillin”, better known as chicken soup. This recipe is good for whatever ails your canine companion. Very best chicken stock
24 cups filtered water
3 pounds chicken backs and necks
2 carrots, cut in pieces 2 celery stalks, cut in pieces
3 Shiitake mushrooms, dried or fresh 2 garlic cloves
1 piece fresh ginger
12 white peppercorns
1 to 2 tablespoons sea salt, to taste
Handful of fresh parsley, Italian or curly
Other fresh herbs to taste, e.g. thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary
Choose organic products whenever possible. Put all ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring to a rolling boil, skim off the foam, turn the heat down to simmer, and leave the pot to sit and stew all day long. Refrigerate overnight. Next morning, skim off the fat, remove the chicken and vegetables, strain the stock into storage containers and freeze.
This will give you a nutrient-dense broth to add to any recipe, including biscuits and treats. You can also use it as a topper for regular meals or add it to drinking water to encourage more liquid intake.