Slippery elm is a versatile, generally safe herb that serves a variety of canine conditions. Harvested from the slippery elm tree, a large deciduous tree native to North America, the roots and the inner bark of the slippery elm have long been used for their strengthening and healing properties. Before you consider giving your dog slippery elm, get your vet's approval.
Slippery elm can treat skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal conditions. Its mucilage is lubricating and soothing for the digestive tract in the case of upset stomachs and diarrhea, and for conditions of the respiratory system such as kennel coughs and bronchitis. It has vitamins A, E, C, K and B-complex, and probiotics to promote a healthy gut. An effective laxative, slippery elm aids in healing and stimulating the immune system, and topically it reduces inflammation and pain.
Possible Side Effects
A well-tolerated herb, slippery elm has a bland taste, making it easy to add to your dog's food. Allergic reactions are rare but are more frequent when using the bark. Sold in health food stores, it comes in dry powder capsules, tea bags and loose-leaf tea. Brewed tea is best. Avoid tinctures, which aren't as effective. Slippery elm may interfere with the absorption of other drugs, so give the supplement at another time. Slippery Elm can be used for sustained periods, but not long-term. Never give your dogs any herb or other supplement -- or change the dogs' diet in any way -- without consulting your vet first.
Debra Levy has been writing for more than 30 years. She has had fiction and nonfiction published in various literary journals. Levy holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing/fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars.