The Icky Tummy Page: Safe, natural help for your dog's upset tummy.

So many of you have asked and it's finally here:

Welcome to the
Icky Tummy Page!

Before I begin, this is important: Not all tummy woes are best treated with a “wait and see” attitude. If your furry friend is in distress, straining to eliminate or vomit, has bloody vomit or diarrhea, or if you are unsure whether he or she ingested something either poisonous or obstructive, please go immediately to your veterinarian!

I have yet to meet a pet parent who does not have a chilling tale to tell about the cruel effects of overindulgence or indiscretions on their darling pets. I have my share of stories as do we all. While some upset tummies must be attended to immediately, there are a few safe, natural remedies widely accepted to help with the effects of common tummy troubles:

In defense of our furry friends, there are times when unattended people food is just so tempting, and surely we must understand that the delectable bit of unidentifiable goo found on this morning’s walk was just too tempting to ignore…right? Or perhaps your beloved dogs or cats are made queasy by car rides? The good news is that there are natural solutions for mild tummy trouble:

1)     Fasting: Pick up all food and treats and limit water for up to 24 hours (12 hours for puppies). This is often all you will need to do. Allowing the stomach to rest can be incredibly healing. Ice chips are a good replacement for water, as some pets (especially dogs) will drink so much they vomit when they have stomach aches.

2)     Pumpkin is excellent for BOTH diarrhea and constipation. It is truly one of our staples, and we always have some frozen into ice cubes. Dogs and cats actually tend to like pumpkin as well, and mixed with a little water, they are likely to lap it right up.(Canned is fine; just please make sure you are giving no-sugar-added pumpkin, not the pie filling!) More about Pumpkin HERE

3)     Slippery Elm is perhaps the safest herb for pets. Used for everything from irritable bowel syndrome to indigestion and gastritis, slippery elm can be incredibly soothing. It contains mucilage and is both soothing and protective of mucus membranes in the esophagus as well as the stomach and bowel. You can put the powder right into wet food, or you can make a syrup which will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week; we mix ½ cup water with about a teaspoon of Slippery Elm powder. We warm it slightly on the stove and then let it cool. The powder turns to a gel. Surprisingly, animals tend to really like the taste of the syrup, and if not, it is easily incorporated into a bland diet. (slippery elm is great for people, too! It is typically found in the vitamin aisle, or even in bulk form at most health food stores.)

4)     Probiotics are important because a lot of the good bacteria naturally present in the stomach and digestive tract can be stripped when dogs and cats experience vomiting and diarrhea. A bacterial imbalance can be bad because some naturally occurring  bacteria like chlostridium difficile  ( will flourish and, it wreaks havoc when the gut is out of balance. Lactobacillus Sporogenes is especially helpful for diarrhea.

5)     Rice Water: Rice water (the water strained after cooking a small amount of rice in a large amount of water) can help balance electrolytes. Make using 1 cup of rice to 1 quart of water. Boil and steep for about 20 minutes, strain and cool, then offer it to drink.

6)     Bland Diet: We like a ½ and ½ mixture of cottage cheese and either boiled or steamed rice ( not instant or boil-in-the-bag rice).We eat brown rice and give some to the dogs on occasion, but I keep some long grain white rice on hand for icky tummy food. Bland and gentle is the key!

Some people use boiled (NOT rotisserie or fried) chicken instead of cottage cheese and mix in equal amounts with the rice. It is generally recommended to offer this in small amounts to break a fast. We always add extra water so the mix is “chowder” consistency since dehydration is always a concern.

We make our own Icky Tummy Mix and freeze it. Having to prepare a special diet with a sick fur-baby can be daunting, so we plan ahead. Here’s what we do:

 2 c. Cottage Cheese (or boiled chicken)
 2 c. steamed rice,
1/3 c cup pumpkin
1 T Slippery Elm powder

We add some plain yogurt or probiotic powder and add water just before serving.

I hope this list has been helpful!
May your Icky-Tummy-Days be few and far between!
Oh, and when it comes to cleaning up I personally like Simple Solution

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