HOListic Tip of the Week

How Slippery is your Elm?

If you are considering a HOListic approach to your dog’s health & nutrition, powdered Slippery Elm bark needs to be in your bag of tricks.

It is the inner bark of the Slippery Elm tree, and acts in all of the following ways:


  • Demulcent — used internally to soothe and protect irritated and inflamed surfaces & tissues
  • Emollient — used externally to soften, soothe, and protect skin surfaces
  • Nutritive — provides nourishment
  • Diuretic — promotes the production and secretion of urine
  • Mucilaginous — has soothing effect on inflamed mucous membranes

You can mix the powder with warm water, juice, milk, or an herbal tea, and as a water-soluble fiber, it will nourish the body while relieving stomach issues. It is ideal for any pet recovering from an illness. You can also use it externally to soothe, say, a skin rash, for example.

It forms a jelly after you mix it with liquid, and is kind of slippery. (Get it? Slippery?)

I mixed it with warm water and added a couple of tablespoons to food to cure diarrhea. I mixed a thicker consistency to get more of a jelly to apply externally to relieve a little hind leg skin irritation on Pearl recently.

Give it a try!

pugs & kisses,

Doo-Doo-Run-Run: What do you do when the doo-doo runs? (Part 3)

(Continued from Part 2)

I emailed Dr. Natalie to make an appointment for all natural deworming. I’ll let you know how that goes.

And after watching Dr. Karen Becker’s video (which can be found at healthypets.mercola.com, keyword “diarrhea”), I sprang into action.

Dr. Becker suggested a bland diet of cooked, drained ground turkey meat mixed either with pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling. Plain pumpkin) or sweet potato, and a dose of Slippery Elm until the poops return to normal.

Cool. I’ve got this.

Turkey is already very lean, but cooking renders the excess fat. The fat can cause additional upset to an already upset tummy.

Mixing it with the fiber of the pumpkin or sweet potato will, oddly enough, help right the irritable bowel.

Also, putting something warm in the belly is comforting until the irritation subsides.

Y’all know what Slippery Elm is, right?

I didn’t. Not really.

It was listed in my book. I know it’s an herb. But where to get it? How to use it?


Birmingham’s Southside (Autocorrect wants that to be two words. Shut up, Autocorrect. You don’t know Alabama) is blessed to have The Golden Temple — all natural grocery/cafe/yoga studio. Everything you need to live your holistic/spiritual/alternative existence. It is so groovy. I love it.

They had a big jug of Slippery Elm powder. I had no idea how much to buy, so I just got an ounce and a half hoping that would do. I didn’t know whether to mix it dry into their food, or mix it with water first. But an older woman checking out ahead of me had a large quantity of it, and explained to me all the delightful uses of Slippery Elm. She mixes it with warm water and drinks it for sore throat, diarrhea, and bladder infections, among other things. There was my “real world” verification. Thanks, lady!

(She told me with great confidence that I should drink it myself. Just ‘cuz…Thanks. I’ll pass for now).


I cooked ground turkey, and mixed it with a baked sweet potato. Equal parts. 50-50. One and a half ounces of each for a total of 3oz of food in the bowl. (You really need a kitchen scale). For these 25lb pups, it’s enough. Trust me.

I heated some water on the stove and mixed about a teaspoon of the powder in about 3oz. I then added 2 teaspoons of the mixture to their food. (When the water cools, the elm powder becomes slimy. Note: Slippery Elm is a better name than Slimy Elm). We repeated the same thing the next day for both meals.

Both dogs showed immediate improvement. The pooping stopped for the next 48 hours.


It worked. Really well.

Then I researched what to do about those pesky worms…

Ground pumpkin seeds…hmmm….

…to be continued…

Doo-Doo-Run-Run: What do you do when the doo-doo runs? (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1)

After eliminating the Answers chicken formula from the rotation, I thought we were good.

(In literature, they call this ‘foreshadowing’).

On Saturday, we went to daycare. I had scads of errands to run, and it has been so cold, I wanted to give the Pugs time to play outside a bit while I was tooling around in the car.

(Truth? They have awesome new sweaters, and I wanted to show them off).

Pugs wearing winter fashion
Don’t you love our new sweaters? Pearl’s has sequins, ruffles, and a flower. Truman’s is a hoodie with pockets. #LOVE


Upon pickup, while standing in the parking lot talking to the awesome handlers, both Pearl AND Truman squatted and delivered a squishy pile at my feet.


At first, I thought it was a deliberate message. They were pissed I’d left them behind. But no. Handlers said it had happened all day. They both have a case of the runs.

Dun dun dun.

My mind immediately went into overdrive.

Was it the eggs? No, couldn’t be. They eat raw farm eggs regularly without issue.

Was it the goat’s milk? No, couldn’t be. They had no problem with it the previous week, nor during the week until that point.

Could it be the livers? Too much richness for too many days? No. If there was an issue with the livers, it would have manifested long before Saturday.

That’s one thing about a short digestive track. If you’ve fed something that doesn’t agree, you will know it quickly.

Then, they told me: Oh, yeah. Truman’s got worms.



Little white rice-looking worms in his poo.


So gross.

But, worms come with owning a dog. They get them. They just do. Try not to freak out.

Remember about a month or so ago, I discovered that they had fleas? Well, turns out, in addition to making them crazy itchy-scratchy, fleas can give your dog tapeworms. Tapeworms can give your dog diarrhea because they irritate the bowel lining, and cause the mucous membranes to work overtime to try to soothe the gut.


It was too late in the day on Saturday to get any kind of vet appointment, so I turned to natural remedies.

I found a lovely video and blog post by Dr. Karen Becker on diarrhea in dogs at http://www.healthypets.mercola.com

It’s worth watching.

Dr. Becker is a contributor to my textbook, as well as to articles in The Whole Dog Journal, and has fast become a trusted resource for me. You should check her out.

Also, The Whole Dog Journal is a fantastic resource.

We followed her feeding suggestions and I’m so glad we did…

…to be continued…

Doo-doo-run-run: What do you do when the doo-doo runs? (Part 1)

This week has been a bit of a challenge, friends. This story is in multiple parts. When I first started writing it, it was going to be one long story. Then, it got far too long to hold anyone’s attention. So, bear with me and please stay tuned.

So, we switched to Answers pet food week before last, right? We talked about that. We started with beef. They really liked it. No tummy issues. It’s the bomb.

We added the goat’s milk. They love it as well. No tummy issues.

I like to rotate their protein to avoid allergy development, so for the 2nd week, we switched to the chicken formula.

Truman loved it. Pearl wouldn’t touch it. #wompwomp

Because I had modified my grocery shopping to accommodate the prepared raw food, the cupboard was nearly bare of raw protein. I had to punt.

She got a beaten raw egg with some raw goat’s milk for breakfast, and pureed chicken livers for dinner. DONE.

Two nights in a row, however, that bomb blew out Truman’s back end. Houston, we havea problem.


Let me tell you: it was a MESS! All over him. All over the crate.

And it wasn’t the nice, little dark balls of dookie I had grown accustomed to seeing. I’ll spare you the remaining details. Suffice it to say, there was plenty, and it was pervasive.When I let him out, he ran through the house in his zeal from being freed.

I had to mop the house. And spot-clean rugs.

And bathe him. And wash the bedding. All before I could even think about dinner. (I’m pretty sure I skipped mine that night).

I figured it was the change in food, but continued to feed it to him. Why? He loved it so, and I thought maybe he just needed to adjust to it. After all, it’s chocked full of gracious goodness.

On night 2 of Poop-a-palooza 2015, I got wise. Bye-bye chicken formula. Back to Mama making the meals.

There’s a lesson here. Keep it simple. Don’t introduce too much new at one time so that you can eliminate the source of the trouble more quickly.

After I took away the chicken formula, no more blowouts.

I’ll still use the Answers, but we’ll stick with the beef formula for now, and the raw goat’s milk. They’ll be a part of the regular rotation.

There’s something in that chicken, though, that we can’t handle.

And there’s more to this slimy story…

After mopping, scrubbing, laundering, bathing all before dinner... #needmorewine
After mopping, scrubbing, laundering, bathing all before dinner… #needmorewine

….to be continued…