Did you know that over 70% of the immune system is located in the digestive system? That’s one reason they say that healthy digestion is the cornerstone of vibrant health. When we our pets have healthy digestion they’re able to absorb all the goodness provided by our diets and function at our very best. A healthy digestive system means our pets have fresh breath, plenty of energy, firm stools, regular elimination and a good appetite.
Sometimes though, even the healthiest of pets can get an upset tummy. Dogs, especially, are well known for eating things they shouldn’t, from spoiled and fatty foods and bones to tennis balls and shoes – some dogs will eat anything. So, if your pet has an upset tummy, how can you help?
Here Are Seven Ways to Help Your Dog With An Upset Tummy
1. Talk To Experts
If you are concerned about your pet’s condition the first thing to do is take him to the vet for a full check-over. Your vet will be able to determine if any tests need to be done, like blood tests or x-rays or if your pet is ok to be treated symptomatically.
Fortunately, many digestive issues are temporary and resolve themselves in a day or two. If your vet suggests symptomatic treatment some of the following may be helpful natural remedies and practices for an upset tummy.
2. Rest the tummy
Resting your pet’s digestive system can be one of the first things to do. Just giving the digestive system a chance to settle may be all that’s needed. Your veterinarian can offer you a prescription diet or may suggest to cook chicken and rice for your dog. The chicken should not be fatty. Offer this for 3-4 days until your pet returns to normal. Once your pet’s digestive system is functioning normally you can start to reintroduce his regular diet but do it slowly.
One suggestion for slowly reintroducing regular food is as follows:
Bland Diet Suggestions
Day One – ¾ chicken and rice, ¼ regular food
Day Two – ½ chicken and rice, ½ regular food
Day Three – ¼ chicken and rice, ¾ regular food
Day Four – back to regular food exclusively
3. Keep ’em hydrated
Making sure your pet is well hydrated is especially important when there are any tummy upsets. Your vet may suggest an electrolyte solution or powder that can be mixed in your pet’s regular drinking water. Coconut water is also a great natural way to hydrate your pet.
Observe your pet to make sure they are drinking good amounts. If you are concerned that your pet is not drinking sufficiently this is a sign to take him to the vet for a checkover.
4. Support the immune system
A healthy population of “good” bacteria in the intestine is essential for optimal health. Good bacteria perform many functions including converting food into nutrients and assisting in the digestion of food. They also compete with “bad” bacteria and make sure that these potentially harmful bacteria do not take over which may result in illness in our pets.
Probiotics are a safe and effective way to ensure adequate populations of healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract. There are different types of healthy bacteria that can be given to pets; the most common healthy bacteria in probiotics are Lactobacillus and Acidophilus. Kefir yogurt is also a good source of probiotics. It’s best to check with your vet which is the most suitable probiotic for your dog.
5. Support the immune system
The digestive system contains the largest proportion of immune cells in the body and constitutes almost 70% of the entire immune system. That number is staggering and what it tells us is that we need to support a healthy immune system in order to maintain a healthy digestive system.
In the small intestine the immune system forms the first line of defense against bacteria and viruses. There are loads of things you can do to support your pet’s immune system and we have written a handy guide which can be found here.
Our supplement Vivamune is a champ when it comes to supporting the immune system. Vivamune contains a pure source of concentrated, naturally occurring oxidized plant carotenoids, known as OxC-beta Compound.
6. Soothe the gut with herbs
Slippery Elm is a tree and it is the inner bark which is used as a natural therapy. It is an emmolient which provides soothing protection to the lining of the intestinal tract. It can also be given as a bland food when mixed with water when you are reintroducing food to your pet with an upset tummy.
Ginger is a well-known home remedy for upset tummies and can help both us and our pets. Ginger’s root contains natural substances which can help relax the intestinal tract and may relieve the symptoms of an upset tummy. For pets making a tea can be the easiest way to give ginger, here’s a recipe:
Ginger tea – Grate 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger root and gently simmer it with ½ cup of coconut milk for about 10 minutes. Store this in a glass or mug for easy use. Give 1 to 3 teaspoons every 1-2 hours.
7. Avoiding upset tummies
Here are some tips to avoid upset tummies in the future:
- Prevent your pet from eating spoiled food
- Avoid fatty foods
- Avoid feeding your pet if he is stressed or excited
- Feed a diet approved by your veterinarian or seek advice from an animal nutritionist
- Do not feed people food! My Dad is the worst for feeding croissants and whipped cream to our dogs, it’s a nice treat and the dogs love it but they may pay for it later!
- Avoid rich, processed or sweet foods especially over the holidays when it is so tempting to give dogs a “treat”.
- Do not feed chocolate – this is very dangerous in pets. If you think your pet has eaten chocolate call your vet
- Maintain a healthy diet, use natural products and supplements and live an active lifestyle.