Friday, May 7, 2010

How to Make Slippery Elm Syrup for Pets

Herbs to the Rescue for Digestive Problems

Slippery Elm bark will sooth the stomach and intestines. It is a nutritive herb with emollient and slightly astringent qualities. It possesses abundant mucilage which will soothe irritation, disperse inflammation, draw out impurities, heal rapidly, and greatly strengthen. The powder can be made into a gruel that makes a nutritious food for convalescents; it is easy to assimilate. Its action is so gentle that it can be retained by delicate stomachs when other substances are rejected.

Slippery elm is a safe herb. It is very soothing to the mucus membranes of the mouth as well as the entire gastrointestinal system. This life sustaining food herb can be used for IBD, colic, vomiting, ulcers and diarrhea. It is contains vitamins and minerals and has a pleasant mild taste. It is also readily accepted by most animals young and old, even by the most picky cats and ferrets.


Put 1/2 cup of cool purified water into a glass or stainless steel saucepan. Add one slightly rounded teaspoon of slippery elm powder (or you can open and empty the contents of 5 capsules into the pan). Whisk with a fork until the powder blends with the water. Note: Always blend it in the cold water first. If you add the powder to warm or hot water it will be lumpy.

Bring the ingredients to a simmer over a low flame, stir constantly. Simmer about two minutes or until it slightly thickens to a syrupy consistency.

Cool the mixture then refrigerate in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. With proper storage the syrup will remain fresh for 7 or 8 days.

Even if you just add the dry powder mixed to an animals soft food it can help soothe the digestive system.

Suggested Herbal Doses for Pets

Dogs: Depending on the size of the dog give 1 to 3 teaspoon(s) slippery elm syrup before each meal (2 to 3 times daily).

Cats/ferrets: 1 teaspoon slippery elm syrup given before each meal.

Birds: The suggested dose for birds would be to 'lightly salt' the powdered herb over their food.

Horses: The suggested dose is 2 to 4 tablespoons of the powder, three times daily for 5 days. The powder is mixed with 3/4 cup of yogurt and/or 2 tablespoons of honey. Note: It can also be made into a tea by mixing the herb with 1 liter of water and bringing it to a boil. Allow to cool and mix the tea with the grain twice a day.


Herbs to the Rescue Charts for dogs, cat, horses and birds are tools developed by Lorelei Whitney, M.H., C.Hom. that will help you easily learn to use herbs for pets. Developed to enable anyone to confidently treat their companion animal at home. To learn more about natural healing strategies for pets click here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Acupressure for Dogs, Cats and Horses

A Guide to Animal Acupressure

Acupressure is an non-invasive ancient healing art that uses the fingers to press key points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities. Unlike veterinary acupuncture done with needles, acupressure treatments, can easily be done by the pet owner at home.

Disease in the body is a state of either excess or deficiency of one or more of the vital substances. The longer that the excess or deficiency, is present the more out-of-balance the animal becomes. A greater imbalance produces more advanced symptoms. The goal of acupressure is to reverse the pathological state and restore the normal flow of QI (energy within the animal). Treatment may involve several stages in which blockages are gradually removed and normal Qi flow is restored.

Indications of Use

Clinical trials and research indicate that acupuncture/acupressure therapy can be effective in treating numerous conditions. Acupressure provides pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, and hormone regulation. These effects are helpful in treating a variety of conditions. Muscle soreness, back pain, disc disease, osteoarthritis, and degenerative joint disease comprise the largest group of problems that can be treated with acupressure. Neurological disorders (e.g. seizures, radial nerve paralysis, and laryngeal paralysis) and gastrointestinal disorders may also be helped. Acupressure is very successful as an complimentary treatment in Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, infertility, asthma, cough, behavioral problems, geriatric weakness, irritable bowel syndrome and skin diseases. It can also be used in emergency first aid to resuscitate an animal who has collapsed.

In many cases, acupressure and Chinese or Western herbs are successfully used in medical conditions that have not responded to traditional western veterinary medical practices. However, acupressure is not an alternative to proper medical care. If your pet is suffering from an illness or injury, obtain veterinary care as soon as possible.

Acupressure should not be done on an area where the animal exhibits extreme sensitivity. If you inadvertently touch an area that is painful, release the pressure immediately. If you pet shies away from being touched in a certain spot, an injury, a localized infection, or a behavioral problem could cause this sensitivity. The sensitive area may relate to a meridian line and sometimes to a specific organ associated with that meridian. If you are able to pinpoint a specific area that is extremely uncomfortable when touched, consult a veterinary acupuncturist to have it checked.

Some health problems can be aggravated by acupressure if you are working around an injured area. Do not apply acupressure directly to wounds, bruises, cuts or surgical incisions, you could damage tissue and increase pain. However, it can be helpful to press points that are near an injury in order to increase circulation in the area. Use only the points that are not painful. If your pet indicates he is in pain when you touch a point, you are too close to the injury.

Preparing to Give an Acupressure Treatment

Before starting an acupressure treatment, wash and dry your hands thoroughly. If your hands are cold, run them under warm water. Both you and the animal to be treated should be calm and relaxed. Acupressure should not be preformed on an animal that has been traumatized, just exercised or has just eaten.

Locating Acupressure Points

Unlike acupuncture, acupressure doesn't have to be totally "on target" to be effective. If you are near the acupoint, you will be doing lots of good whether you've hit the precise point or not. By pressing in the vicinity of the point, you will still increasing energy flow in the associated meridian line. Correctly applied pressure should be placed in the valleys of muscle. You should never press into a major nerve, on bone, the spinal cord, or a body cavity.

Pressing the Points

Acupressure is done by exerting pressure with one finger on precise places on the body. Most often, you will use either the middle finger or the thumb. Sometimes, you will find it easier to use one or the other, depending on the exact spot you are treating.

To determine the amount of pressure to use, experiment on your own body, pressing your thumb or middle finger against various places on your face, chest, arm and on your other hand, for 10 to 15 seconds. The pressure should be firm enough so that you experience it as hard and steady, but it should not be painful or damaging to the skin. Always go into a point slowly, beginning with light pressure and increasing it to tolerance. Some animals are more sensitive and will need less pressure. Others will need more pressure for the treatment to be effective. Let the animal be your guide. The technique involves applying light to firm pressure, or circular massage over an acupoint. When holding the point maintain steady, firm pressure, this will help you to avoid angles that may cause you to slip or slide in to or out of a point over the animals fur.

Stimulation of an acupoint is generally around 10 to 15 seconds. Acupoints are the same on both sides of the animal. If you work a point on the right side you should also work the corresponding point on the left side of the body.

The session should not be painful and is well-tolerated by most animals. The entire acupressure treatment should always be comfortable for patients. However, in cases of pregnancy (certain points may cause abortion), open wounds, or infectious diseases, acupressure is contraindicated.

Closing the Session

After an acupressure session you should preform The Closing. This has two functions: one, is to strengthen the energy flow between the points on the same meridians stimulated during your point work; and second, it establishes a healthy cellular memory pattern. Cellular memory is the cell's learned response to a chronic stimulus such as pain. The Closing phase helps the body to maintain the state achieved during point work.

Flat Hand Closing Technique

To perform the Closing, position your hand flat with your palm and fingers in full contact with the animal your working on. Using light pressure slide your hand over your pet from front to rear and top to bottom. Start at the neck, then go over the shoulder, across the back and over the hips. Proceed down the back leg, passing over the hock and terminate the Closing at the end of the rear foot/paw/hoof. Do this on both sides of the body.

Post Treatment

Allow your pet to rest for several hours before resuming work or strenuous exercise.

An excellent source for beautifully illustrated acupressure charts and in depth information on the location of acu-points for dogs, cats, horses and birds can be found at Pet Remedy Charts.