Those silky threads from the corn plant can treat a variety of bladder and urinary conditions in humans. For dogs, however, the list is significantly narrower. If your dog has a problem controlling when and where he relieves himself, corn silk could potentially be of benefit. Before giving any type of supplement to your dog, or altering his diet in any way, consult your vet.
Urinary incontinence is an inability to control the bladder. This is characterized by uncontrollable urination and leaking, and often results in a pooch bed-wetting and going on carpets, furniture and other undesirable locations. This is not the same as submissive urination, which occurs when a dog is excited or intimidated by a person or another dog. With submissive urination, a dog still has control over his bladder under normal circumstances and is able to control when and where he urinates. An incontinent dog, by comparison, has no such control, according to the VetInfo website.
What Causes Incontinence
Several things might cause your dog to be incontinent. It could be as simple as loss of bladder control with age. However, it could also be something serious, such as a neurological disorder or an adrenal gland disorder such as Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism. If your dog exhibits signs of incontinence, it’s important to have him examined by a vet to rule out a serious health problem. Other things that can cause incontinence include arthritis, hip dysplasia, nerve damage, kidney disease and bladder stones. Hormonal imbalance, particularly low estrogen, is also thought to cause incontinence in some dogs, which can lead to incontinence after being spayed or neutered, according to Dr. Karen Becker.
Corn Silk for Incontinence
One of the most common natural remedies for canine urinary incontinence, according to pet nutrition expert Mary Straus on the Whole Dog Journal website, is corn silk, the silky strings that form a layer between a cob of corn and the outer husk. Its effectiveness is thought to be due to high amounts of potassium. Corn silk is also an effective diuretic, which helps to efficiently empty the bladder, remove toxins and improve condition of the bladder.
Delivery and Dosage
Corn silk can be given in capsule form or made into a tincture. Consult your vet before giving corn silk to your dog, and to determine proper dosage. One of the most effective delivery methods, according to Straus, is to brew it into a tea by adding 1 tablespoon of fresh or dried corn silk to two cups of boiling water. Allow the tea to brew for several minutes to make a strong tea. Straus recommends one teaspoon of the tea per 20 pounds of body weight twice a day -- you should consult your vet to be sure. When brewing tea, you can incorporate other herbs that can help incontinence and support bladder health, including saw palmetto, raspberry leaf and nettle root.
- VetInfo: Natural Dog Remedies for Canine Incontinence
- Healthy Pets With Dr. Karen Becker: Healthy Pets: Urinary and Fecal Incontinence in Pets
- DogAware.com: Incontinence in Dogs: Herbal Treatment Options
- Whole Dog Journal: Involuntary Urination
- WebMD.com: Find a Vitamin or Supplement: Corn Silk
- Monterey Bay Spice Company: Corn Silk
- Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images