Cynthia is a gardening enthusiast. She has a green thumb and always plants a variety of items for harvesting during gardening season.
Natural Remedies for Mild Gastrointestinal Issues in Dogs
It is not uncommon for your dog to have an upset stomach, often causing transient dry heaving, vomiting, or even diarrhea. Seeing our pets in any amount of discomfort is very concerning. It can become a real issue to deal with a dog's upset stomach if you do not have access to a 24-hour vet or if the local veterinary office has limited hours.
Living in a very secluded, rural area myself, the nearest vet is 65 miles away, making it a very long drive when driving with a dog with an upset stomach. Having dealt with many sick dogs over the years and the lack of local vet care available, I have learned a few natural ways to remedy a dog with an upset stomach until I can get them to a veterinary professional.
General Safety and Precautions
Though an herbal remedy is handy to have, you should always consult your veterinarian before you take a natural approach. If you are unfamiliar with holistic medicine or natural remedies, you should do some research before beginning. You may even have a holistic store in your area, and most of the experts there are more than happy to help and share knowledge. As with pharmaceuticals, some herbs can be very potent, and it is important to have a basic knowledge of any herb before offering it to a pet as toxicities can be different for humans and dogs.
Ginger is commonly known for treating morning sickness in pregnant women. It is also useful for dogs with an upset stomach. Ginger is a prized root for its wonderful flavor when used as a culinary spice, and using ginger for an upset stomach is not a new occurrence.
Ginger is an ancient remedy used for centuries and is perhaps one of the most common household spices. In a pinch, you can make a tea out of the spice, though using a fresh root to steep a tea for your dog will be more potent than the dried alternative.
Basil is a fairly common household spice that is non-toxic and can help your dog and remedy their upset stomach. Basil is also extremely effective against bacteria thanks to the high content of volatile oils that it contains.
If you can mix a few fresh leaves in with some moist dog food, your dog will be feeling better in no time. If you find your dog interested in his or her new chow, you can add some basil to yogurt as well. The yogurt will also aid in reducing stomach upset.
Rosemary is another common spice that most people who enjoy home-cooked meals will have in their pantry. Rosemary is also wonderful medicinally. It can be used to treat:
- Upset stomach
Rosemary is also an immune-system booster and breath freshener. Using rosemary to resolve a dog's upset stomach will also freshen their breath. It is widely available in most stores or you can grow your own at home with ease.
I use rosemary frequently in my cooking and for my dog. It boosts the immune system, so I make a point to give my elderly dog rosemary a few times a week as it is non-toxic. It also keeps her breath fresh as well—a big win as I am not a fan of dog breath!
4. Calendula Flowers
Calendula flowers are easy to grow. Not only are they a beautiful yellow flower, they also contain magnificent healing powers as well. Calendula also possesses an antiseptic quality that can prevent bacterial growth.
For this reason, you can use it to calm a dog's upset stomach and to keep any bacteria at bay. Calendula also possesses anti-fungal properties as well, making it a great choice to remedy a dog's upset stomach with ease.
Goldenseal is another powerful plant used to treat humans and our canine companions as well; it is especially useful for resolving bowel ailments in dogs.
Steeping a tea and giving it to your dog will take care of an upset stomach in no time. The tea can also be used to help with eye infections or weepy eyes if used as a wash. Goldenseal can often be found growing wild in many areas. It possesses very powerful antibiotic properties that prevent bacteria from attaching to cell walls.
6. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is a native plant to Southern Europe. It is closely related to the daisy family. You can find milk thistle growing all over the world, making it a great choice for resolving a dog's upset stomach.
Milk thistle will not only aid in calming a dog's upset stomach, but it also improves liver function and prevents liver damage.
Herbs Used in Combination
Some herbs just happen to work better together, making them a more powerful force against whatever ailments are bothering humans and dogs alike. Both chamomile and valerian root have excellent healing properties and may be used in conjunction so long as your vet gives final approval. Combining the two in a tea for your dog will not only help with an upset stomach, but will help sedate an overly hyper dog, calm them down, and lower their blood pressure.
7. Valerian Root
Valerian root is an extremely powerful sedative, so it is important to seek out a holistic vet before you begin using it on your pet. This ensures that you are giving the proper dosage to your dog.
Chamomile will also aid in sleep and relaxation and has anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. I drink a cup of chamomile tea every day.
As a final note, I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking out guidance for this combined remedy. It is important with any herbs to look for organic products too, as the use of pesticides on products that you may give to your pet or family is not recommended.
Treating a Dog's Upset Stomach
Resolving a dog's upset stomach naturally is very easy with the herbs I have listed in this article because you can combine herbs with moistened dog food fairly easily. You can also make a tea if you can manage to get your dog interested in it. Many people will say a tincture is a good way to administer these remedies to dogs, so long as they are diluted properly and vet-approved. Many tinctures use grain alcohol though, so I do not suggest giving a dog with an already upset stomach any tinctures that are alcohol-based.
If you find you are struggling to get your dog to ingest a much-needed remedy, you can add herbs to yogurt. Yogurt contains probiotics that are excellent for the digestive system. I often use unflavored Greek yogurt for my dog, as it has an abundance of protein as well.
Please remember to check with your veterinarian before you start a home remedy. Sometimes an upset stomach can be a sign of a more serious issue.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: My German Shepard puppy is suffering from swelling in his stomach. He cannot pass urine and stool easily. Is there anything you can suggest that I can do to help him?
Answer: The inability to pass stool with ease, should mean an immediate trip to see your veterinarian. Constipation in dogs can be serious and have underlying health concerns as well.
You may find luck with digestive enzymes and probiotics. You can try giving your dog some yogurt, most will eat it without issue.
Consider dehydration if you haven't already. Constipation is often linked to dehydration in both humans and our K9 counterparts. Be sure that your dog has free range access to fresh clean drinking water at all times.
Another alternative to try; canned pumpkin puree for the fiber content. Look to adding a few tablespoons a day to your dogs diet.
The food you are feeding your dog can also be an issue. Some dogs need specific nutrition for their specific breed to ensure they are at peak health.
Keep in mind if you recently switched to a new food this can also cause issues with your dog. Any food changes need to be gradual to avoid problems.
© 2016 Cynthia Hoover
Amber V. on November 02, 2017:
No Garlic not safe for dogs as much it is for us. Garlic can be very toxic for them.
Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on December 05, 2016:
Cath I am so glad you asked that question. Garlic is in fact safe for dogs, when used in the appropriate dosages. There are a few specific breeds that you should not give garlic to and they are the Akitas and Shiba Inus. As I have mentioned you should always consult your holistic veterinarian when you are unfamiliar with herbal treatments for dogs, or any other animals you may have. It is important that you choose fresh raw garlic, purchased still in the husk and you peal it directly before giving it to your animals (organic and grown in the USA). There are many types of garlic available on the market and many should be avoided. Chinese Garlic should be avoided as it has high levels of certain enzymes your dog should not ingest. Always consult a professional before starting any home treatments with herbs for yourself, your family or your pets.
It is a common misconception that garlic will kill your animals. Deaths related to garlic and pets are almost completely non existent. But again please consult a professional as I mentioned in the article before treating your pet.
Cath on December 04, 2016:
Is garlic safe for dogs?