If you have a dog, you’ve probably had to deal with diarrhea or other digestive tract problems at one time or another. Dogs tend to get into things they shouldn’t, like the garbage, outdoor plants, etc. When they eat something that doesn’t agree with their stomach, the results are often messy.
The next time this happens to your pooch, you might want to consider an herb known as slippery elm. Here’s some information on what it is and how it might help provide your pet some relief.
What is Slippery Elm?
Slippery elm is an herb made from the bark of the Slippery Elm tree, also known as the Red Elm tree. The scientific name of the tree is Ulmus fulva. It’s called “slippery” because of the gel that forms when slippery elm bark powder mixes with water.1
You’ll find a wide variety of important nutrients in slippery elm bark. These include not only vitamins A, B, C, and K, but also vital minerals, such as sodium, calcium, and magnesium.2
This herb is renowned for its ability to help soothe a dog’s gastrointestinal, or GI, tract. It contains compounds known as tannins, which can help reduce inflammation. Slippery elm bark also contains an oily substance that helps provide lubrication to the GI tract. This, in turn, helps a dog’s digestive tract eliminate waste more efficiently.3
The herb works directly on the digestive tract.4 Slippery elm powder is often used to coat the membranes that line your dog’s digestive tract. In addition, it’s also rich in fiber. As a result, it may help relieve symptoms of constipation as well as diarrhea.5
Other Potential Uses
Slippery elm bark might also help if your dog is coughing due to a respiratory problem. It not only coats the membranes in the digestive tract, it also lubricates the upper respiratory tract, reducing inflammation. If your dog is coughing due to conditions such as bronchitis or kennel cough, this herb could help.6
Slippery elm bark powder can also be used if your dog has a skin problem. It’s particularly effective for smaller wounds, such as rashes, small ulcers, hot spots, and insect bites. The challenge will be keeping your dog from licking the area. Try using toys or other distractions to keep this from happening. Then, moisten the area after a few hours. The powder will come off easily.7
How to Use Slippery Elm Powder
You should be able to find slippery elm in powder or capsule form at your local health food store. But it’s best to stay on the safe side and speak with your veterinarian first before purchasing any Ulmus fulva supplement product.
If you choose to purchase slippery elm bark powder, you’ll need to mix it with water before you give it to your pet. Again, your vet can tell you exactly how to prepare the powder, and the exact dosage that will be right for your dog.
Mix the powder with cold water to make a gruel. You can give it before mealtime by using an eyedropper or syringe. Alternatively, you can add it to your dog’s canned food. Dogs will typically tolerate slippery elm powder well when you mix it with their food. Continue to administer until your dog’s symptoms clear up.8
If your pet is having digestive issues, take one teaspoon of slippery elm bark powder and pour it into a cup of cold water. Then pour the mixture into a pot and bring to a boil. Keep stirring as the mixture boils, then turn the heat down to simmer and continue to stir. This will thicken the mixture. Once it’s thickened, remove the mixture from the heat and stir in one tablespoon of honey. Once it cools, your slippery elm bark mixture will be ready for your pooch.
Here’s a quick guide to make sure you give the right amount for your dog’s size:
- Under 20 pounds: ½ to 1 teaspoon
- 20-40 pounds: 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons
- 40 pounds and up: 3-4 tablespoons
Try to give the mixture to your dog four times each day until symptoms clear. Keep the mixture covered and stored at room temperature between doses.9
Again, before giving your dog any medicines, herbal or otherwise, please consult your veterinarian.
Wrapping it Up
Slippery elm is an incredible herb that can be used to address a variety of conditions. Try it the next time your dog has an upset tummy, and you’ll very likely be amazed by the results. Again, however, talk to your veterinarian first, to make sure it will be safe for your dog.