• Hahnbee Choi, Cert. CN

Upset Tummy Protocol

Updated: 3 days ago

The most heart-wrenching thing is when your best friend isn't feeling good! Whether it's from a new food or stress, rocket butt (aka diarrhea) is never fun for anyone...Here is a go-to upset tummy protocol that, more often than not, clears things up pretty quickly!

⚠️ If your dog has chronic diarrhea lasting longer than 1-2 days, please take it to your vet ⚠️

Why Does Diarrhea Happen?

Diarrhea is defined as a loose and watery stool. It often disappears within a few days and can be acute or chronic. Acute diarrhea lasts 1-2 days, while chronic diarrhea usually results from a viral or bacterial infection or food poisoning.

Diarrhea can occur due to numerous factors such as:

  • Stress

  • New foods

  • A food allergy or intolerance

  • Viral infection

  • Bacterial infection

  • Intestinal disease

  • Parasitic Infection

⚠️ The following protocol is for acute diarrhea only. ⚠️

Symptoms of an upset tummy:

  • Decreased appetite

  • Drinking less water

  • Fatigue

  • More sleepy/depressed

  • Looking uncomfortable

  • Sensitive to touch around the abdomen area

Upset Tummy Protocol

#1 Fasting (from solid foods)

Fasting is the willful refrainment of food for a period of time. Fasting should only be done with dogs older than a year old. If your dog is younger than 1 year, disregard this step and feed a bland diet instead.

Fasting adult dogs will give their digestive system a break and allow whatever is messing up their system to have a chance to clear out, reset, and recover from the inflammation inside.

Especially if the diarrhea is caused by something they ate, it can be beneficial to stop putting solid foods in their stomach for a 24 hour period.

#2 Liquid

Keep your dog hydrated with bone broth or raw goat milk. Use bone broth if your dog has never had dairy or does not tolerate it well. These 2 flavorful liquids can keep your dog hydrated when they have the runs. They will often not want to drink water, so offering bone broth or goat milk is an easy way to convince them to drink some liquids.

Diarrhea can easily dehydrate a dog. Therefore, it's vital to supply liquids. Some easy ways to check if your dog is dehydrated are...

Skin Elasticity Test: Using the skin elasticity test, you gently lift the skin on the back or between shoulder blades in a tent using two fingers. If the skin snaps back quickly into position, that's great! However, if it delays, or worse, stays lifted, the dog must be re-hydrated quickly.

Gums Texture: You can also check the gums as well. Hydrated gums will have a nice pink color (unless the dog's gums are naturally not pink) with a nice coat of saliva. In contrast, dehydrated gums will be pale and have a tacky touch to them.

Capillary Refill Time (CRT): This test also uses the gums to measure hydration. First, apply continuous pressure onto the gums for 5 seconds. The pressure should be enough to where it turns. The area where pressure is applied turns slightly white. The gum should spring back to a pink color instantaneously when you release the pressure.

#3 Marshmallow Root & Slippery Elm Bark

The 2 herbs that are most frequently used for GI upset are marshmallow root and slippery elm bark. Both of these herbs are very similar and essentially do the same thing. However, sometimes one or the other is easier to source for some people.

These herbs are mucilaginous products that function as a demulcent (anti-inflammatory) agent. The mucilage of these herbs is a complex polysaccharide that becomes a gel-like substance when mixed with water.

Marshmallow root has been studied for its healing properties surrounding constipation and colic, while slippery elm bark by indigenous tribes from mucilage for wounds, skin conditions, coughs, and sore throats. These herbs can also be beneficial for constipation.

A great way to dose this is a heaping teaspoon with a cup of goat milk. Allow the mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the mucilage to form, then feed. Since it's mixed in with the raw goat's milk, they usually eat it willingly, but if your dog is a bit pickier, you can either syringe it on their gum line or dilute even more with goat milk or bone broth. The feeding guideline is 1/4tsp per 10lbs (4.5kg).

Did you know slippery elm bark can also be given to horses to help with ulcers or GI upset?


Pumpkin is another trendy go-to supplement for GI imbalances. Unless you make it yourself, it can be tricky to find a quality pumpkin puree free of added ingredients, organic, BPA-free lining, etc. If you have some quality pumpkin on hand, feel free to add a dollop in. This should only be given in small amounts as it can be high on the glycemic index.

Stomach trouble can be the worst for you and especially your dog. But hopefully, with these tips & tricks, you can get through it like a pro. As always, I hope you learn something new today & Always Keep Exploring!

disclaimer: Any information shared is to be used at your discretion. Any information shared is not intended to replace veterinary advice.