Even the healthiest cats and dogs can occasionally have diarrhea, constipation, nausea, a little gas, or even vomit.*
Changes to the diet, stress, even eating something weird like a bug or lizard (maybe not weird to them) can lead to an upset digestive tract.
Below are some simple and natural remedies to help relieve symptoms and get your cat or dog back on track. Of course, if the problem is persistent or is accompanied by other symptoms like lethargy, fever, loss of fur or anything else out of the ordinary, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
Pumpkin Pumpkin puree is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. This means that it not only helps bulks stool (helps to relieve diarrhea), but it also works to push waste through the colon (helping relieve constipation). Pumpkin is also rich in enzymes that can ease an upset stomach. Simply offer a teaspoon per 10 pounds of your pet's weight of freshly steamed, baked or canned pureed pumpkin to your pet's food once a day or more. Some cats and dogs will even lick it off the spoon! For those who aren't pleased with the taste, feel free to mix it with some plain organic yogurt. That usually does the trick. Pumpkin can be used every day, even after symptoms disappear.
Slippery Elm This wonderful herb coats, soothes, protects and helps heal the irritated mucous membrane in the lining of the stomach and intestines. It also works to reduce inflammation and is a natural antibiotic. Slippery elm can relieve an upset stomach - even one caused by nerves, like from a move to a new home or a ride in the car. It is also an ideal remedy for constipation and diarrhea.
For a pet that has vomited, slippery elm can offer quick relief. Simply mix the dried herb with some water, enough to make it into a liquid or a paste. For cats or very small dogs, use 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of the herb; for medium dogs, one to two teaspoons and for large dogs, two teaspoons to one tablespoon. As a liquid, it can be administered with a syringe. In paste form, some pets will lick it right off a finger. Or it can be mixed in with food or even a little yogurt. Feel free to offer three or four times per day.
One word of caution: avoid using slippery elm for an extended period (no more than a couple of weeks), as it does such a great job of coating the lining of the digestive tract that there is a risk of nutrients not being absorbed.
Known as a carminative herb, chamomile relaxes stomach muscles and is wonderful for relieving excess gas and nausea. Simply brew a bag of chamomile tea and let it cool. Pour over food, add to your pet's water bowl, or serve as is.
For cats and small dogs, less than 1/4 cup, one to three times per day; For medium sized dogs, 1/4 - 1/2 cup, one to three times per day; For large dogs, 1/2 - 1 cup, one to three times per day. If your pet isn’t keen on the tea, a powdered form may be a good alternative.
Adding a probiotic to your pet's diet can go a long way in keeping him or her regular. Probiotics are living microorganisms that keep pathogenic bacteria from creating an imbalance inside the digestive tract.
The digestive tract is home to billions of bacteria. It is the proper ratio of good-to-bad bacteria that keeps the immune system functioning well. When gut flora is balanced, the body is able to fight bacterial and viral infections from taking root. When bad bacteria are able to flourish, they can take over the digestive tract. This can contribute to many digestive diseases and disorders including irritable bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, overgrowth of yeast causing digestive and skin problems, and more.
I recommend offering a probiotic made specifically for pets. Cats and dogs require strains that can survive the strong acids produced in their stomachs.
Raw Goat Milk
This is one of the most complete foods on earth. It contains vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, cancer-fighting antioxidants, protein and fatty acids. Because it is highly digestible, these nutrients are absorbed and assimilated rather quickly.
Raw Goat Milk makes a wonderful digestive aid for cats and dogs. Because it has a taste most pets enjoy, it can be used to help relieve nausea caused by dehydration. As a bonus, raw goat milk is an excellent nutritional aid for senior pets and those with diminished appetites.
There are several excellent pet brands offering raw goat milk. Options include frozen and dehydrated forms, most complete with added probiotics, digestive enzymes, turmeric (a natural anti-inflammatory) and other soothing herbs:
If your pet is on any medication, it is a good idea to talk with your veterinarian before introducing any remedy, natural or not.
*Please note: for many cats and dogs on a dry food diet, constipation, impacted anal sacs, gas, vomiting and furballs are quite common. That in no way means these issues are normal. Switching to a healthier bio-appropriate diet can often reduce or eliminate these issues.