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One of the side effects of the Chinese herbs that I was giving to Sydney to treat her cancer is nausea and it sucked. I had to stop adding the herbs to her food, giving it to her separately, because she could (1) sniff them out and wouldn't eat and (2) the herbs turned her off of a lot of foods and ruined my plans to put her on a keto diet. But that's a different blog post. The first thing I needed to do to help my dog was to get her nausea under control and it was easier than I realized and I wanted to share what I did in a blog post because it's not as easy as giving our dogs a capsule.
How I Know My Dog is Nauseated
First, is it nauseous or nauseated? I never remember how it goes, but you get what I mean. I know Sydney isn't feel great when she's constantly drooling and it's not in reaction to me opening a bag of treats. She also let's me know that she's not feeling great when she goes to eat something, sniffs, starts licking her lips, and then turns away. I've seen this with Rodrigo at times too – they're hungry, but they just can't eat the food.
Often, my dogs will also want to go outside and eat a ton of grass and I usually let them. But with Sydney, she doesn't often have the energy to walking around hunting for the perfect blades of grass, so slippery elm landed on the grocery list.
What is Slippery Elm?
Slippery elm is a tree that grows in parts of North America and the inner bark is used for medication.
Benefits of Slippery Elm for Dogs
The benefits of slippery elm for humans blew me away. According to WebMD, slippery elm is used for “coughs, sore throat, colic, diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bladder and urinary tract infections, syphilis, herpes, and for expelling tapeworms.” Syphilis and herpes?
But that's not all – prepare to be shocked.
Slippery elm is also used for digestive issues (colitis, diverticulitis), to prevent ulcers, to reduce acid in the stomach, GI inflammation, and, when taken by mouth, it can cause an abortion (so not a good cure for morning sickness). Slippery elm can also be applied topically to wounds and burns, cold sores, boils, etc. And it has been used to ease labor pains.
Now that you're blown away, what are the benefits for dogs? Once I learned about all of the uses for humans, I became a bit wary. Can this be harmful to pets? Surprisingly, no. Slippery elm is one of the herbs out there that is safe and non-toxic for pets and is commonly used to treat:
- inflammatory bowel issues
- nausea and vomiting
- other inflammatory conditions
How to Give Slippery Elm to Dogs to Treat Nausea
I purchased slippery elm from the natural section of the grocery store – it comes in capsules. The first thought is that you put a capsule in peanut butter and give it to your dog – right? Wrong. If your dog is nauseous, peanut butter may not be appealing, but Sydney was still game because she loves Nutty Dog CBD Peanut Butter by Super Snouts. However, this doesn't work.
What You'll Need
- slippery elm capsules
- a bowl
- cold water
- wire whisk
- an oral syringe (optional)
How Much to Slippery Elm for Dogs
I use Nature's Way slippery elm, which is 400 mg per capsule. The appropriate dosage of slippery elm for dogs is 100 mg per 10 lbs of body weight. For Sydney, that would be 700 mg – I give her two capsules because going a little over isn't going to harm her.
I mix the capsules in a bowl with cold water (using a wire whisk to be thorough) until it creates a kind of thick blend. It's not a paste, but it's not watery either. You can go an extra step and cook your mixture on simmer for 1-2 minutes and create a syrup. I use an oral syringe to put the mixture at the back of Sydney's throat and close her mouth. She's not a fan, but she starts to feel better within 30 minutes. If your dog is up to eating it, you can also mix it into baby food or bone broth too.
When to Give Slippery Elm to Your Dog
The reason slippery elm works so quickly and so well is that it coats the tummy; the problem with this is that it may prevent the absorption of any medication consumed. So while it may seem like a good idea (I thought it was a good idea) to mix supplements into the slippery elm gruel, it doesn't work. Instead, it's better to give slippery elm separate from meals and medication/supplements. So, when Sydney is ready for supplements again (currently, I'm starting very low to avoid stomach upset), I created this schedule for when she has Chinese herbs and other supplements to combat her cancer:
- 8 am: breakfast
- 10 am: herbs/supplements
- 11 am: slippery elm (an hour after supplements)
- 2 pm: snack/small lunch
- 5 pm: dinner
- 6 pm: slippery elm (an hour after dinner)
- Sydney doesn't get herbs/supplements on fast days.
Because slippery elm may become a part of her routine, I plan to make a small batch to store in the fridge. I'm also considering going an extra step (simmering the slippery elm in a pan for two minutes) and creating a syrup. You can also buy a slippery elm syrup; I'd just check those ingredients before you check out because any extra ingredients may not be beneficial for your dog. I avoid added sugars, alcohol, or ingredients I can't pronounce until I speak with my veterinarian.
Studies Supporting the Use of Slippery Elm
- Prebiotic Potential of Herbal Medicines Used in Digestive Health and Disease: “Herb supplementation increased the abundance of many bacteria known to promote human health.”
- Slippery elm: an effective anti-inflammatory agent: “Slippery elm appears to be a benign supplement with adequate research to support its use for many gastrointestinal complaints. Although its use alone may not be sufficient for serious conditions such as ulcerative colitis, its lack of drug interactions makes it a very attractive add-on therapy when additional symptom management is needed.”
- Effects of two natural medicine formulations on irritable bowel syndrome symptoms: a pilot study: a mixture that included slippery elm and other natural treatments “significantly improved both bowel habit and IBS symptoms in patients with constipation-predominant IBS.”
Read More About Dog Health
- How Do I Stop My Dog from Itching?
- What to Do If Your Healthy Dog Won't Eat
- How I Stop My Dog's Diarrhea
- Beware of Fake Frontline and Other Pet Products Sold Online
- Why I Decided to Medicate My Dog for the Fourth of July