If you would like to subscribe you can follow this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or simply listen right here.

Natural Health For People and Pets: the Podcast

00:00:33 Glenn:       Welcome back to episode four of Natural Health for People and Pets, my name is Glenn Cooke, I'm co-host of the show, however, I'm going to introduce you to the person in the know the host of the show, Narelle Cook, that rhymed.  

00:00:45 Narelle:       Hello everyone, you're a poet and you didn't know it.  

00:00:48 Glenn:       That rhymed too. 

00:00:49 Narelle:       Yeah, well welcome back everyone. It's good to be back for another episode. Today's episode is based on something that triggered me on social media a little while ago. 

00:00:59 Glenn:       What you got triggered on social media, how did that happen?

00:01:02 Narelle:       I know, who'd  have thought.

00:01:03 Glenn:       Who'd have thought that social media could trigger people around the world?  

00:01:07 Narelle:       Yeah, this was on a fresh food feeding forum and …

00:01:10 Glenn:       A what? A fresh food feeding forum?

00:01:14 Narelle:       I know it's a bit of a mouthful.  

00:01:16 Glenn:       Say it three times, really fast,  

00:01:18 Narelle:       Fresh food feeding forum.

00:01:19 Glenn:       I can't believe you did that.  

00:01:21 Narelle:       And people don't realise where we are, it's late on a Sunday night, so a bit weary.

00:01:26 Glenn:       And you just did another podcast with Penos and Luke.  

00:01:30 Narelle:       Yep, that was good. Talking about dog nutrition and lots of other bits and pieces. 

00:01:35 Glenn:       You've had a few meaty things going out recently, you appeared on Pooches at Play with Lara.  

 00:01:39 Narelle:       Yeah, that was interesting. Did a short film clip with her about dog nutrition, and specifically leaky gut in dogs. And I also did a blog post for Big Dog, The Raw Pet Food Company. So that's really great to be able to get the message out there.  

00:01:54 Glenn:       Yeah, it's really good and like you said, it is good to get the message out there and help inform people about better options for their dog.  

00:02:01 Narelle:       So what came up recently for me, and it's not that I haven't seen it before, but I just saw it on this particular thread, and this unsuspecting dog owner happened to put out there that her dog had diarrhoea and that she was giving chicken and rice. It comes up all the time and most of the forums that I'm part of, when that does come up, the poor pet owner gets absolutely persecuted. They get ripped to shreds for even hinting that they might give their dog chicken and rice for diarrhoea.  

00:02:32 Glenn:       I've gotta say, after many, many years of being on forums it's got worse because it's attracted more people. But it's still the same vein of meanness where people are just tearing people apart. And I get it, where you have somebody coming in who's asking the same question for the umpteenth time that people get sick of and they feel that  you should know, but the reality is they do not know. They absolutely don't know. And they've been advised that that was industry standard. If you have diarrhoea, chicken and rice, that's what was given out. I remember vets telling me that. 

00:03:20 Narelle:       We grew up with that. We used to do that for our own dogs back in the day. It's the go-to. 

00:03:24 Glenn:       But it was the same for people when you're sick, chicken soup.  

00:03:27 Narelle:       Yeah, the BRAT diet, which is bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast for diarrhoea. But you know, I feel really bad because people are so persecutory. Is that the word?  

00:03:40 Glenn:       I don't know, we'll go with it, sounds good.  

00:03:43 Narelle:       People persecute other people on social media. And nothing's ever black or white and that's what irks me the most because they're so rigid in their thinking. As soon as they see the word rice, they're just like, that's it. That person is like an evil, horrible dog owner. that's doing harm to their dog. And it's not the case. It's not so black and white. Some of the things that I've seen, I did a quick Google thinking about talking about it today and some of the comments that come up when you type in chicken and rice for diarrhoea for dogs is that chicken and rice is one of the worst things that you can feed a sick dog. Now that's a pretty bold, big statement and I can think of a lot of things that are worse than chicken and rice for a sick dog and a lot of the commercial kibble brands come in there, like the poorer quality kibble brands. There's some good premium brands that I think are fine, but it's not one of the worst things you can feed a sick dog. Other comments are that they're hurting their dog by feeding chicken and rice.  

00:04:38 Glenn:       They're hurting…? 

00:04:39 Narelle:       They're actually hurting their dogs by feeding it.  

00:04:41 Glenn:       And what's the evidence behind that? What's the scientific basis of it?  

00:04:44 Narelle:       I will get into the nitty gritty of the science. 

00:04:47 Glenn:       Of them herding their dog ?  

00:04:49 Narelle:       No, just rice for diarrhoea

00:04:51 Glenn:       Yeah, but that's what I'm saying. If they're saying that you're hurting your dog, what are they basing that off? Where's the basis, where's the evidence?  

00:04:59 Narelle:       That's right. But I guess when I see comments like that, I automatically go well, let's put that in perspective. I do think grains and rice are for the most part, inflammatory foods and should be minimised. But to say that giving home cooked rice and chicken for a dog that's got acute onset diarrhoea for a few days is hurting their dog. I mean, when we go on holiday for a couple of weeks, most of my naturopathic principles go out the window and I know I'm gonna eat foods and drink things that are actually damaging and harmful to my body. I know that's not in my best interest for that week or two that we're away, but it's a short period of time and you know, the body's amazing. You get back on track and you recover and everything's great.

00:05:50 Narelle:       It's the same with dogs with diarrhoea, hopefully if someone's got a dog with severe chronic diarrhoea that they've seen their vet and they've ruled out anything sinister. But if your dog just gets diarrhoea one day and you think maybe it's something they ate in the garden and it's gonna resolve pretty quickly by giving chicken and rice for a few days. Whilst it may not be the best option, I mean, there are other things that we'll talk about today that you can do instead, but it's not gonna hurt your dog and it's not the worst thing that you can give them for that short period of time.  

00:06:19 Glenn:       Yep, I just need a quick interlude here for a minute. Some people ask genuine questions and really need genuine feedback, but when they get beat up on the forums, they never ask again. Or they delete themselves off the forum.  

00:07:00 Glenn:       That's the worst thing that could happen because they won't go looking for knowledge or further education anymore. They give up on it because they feel such a high level of persecution and that's it for them. There is no more asking people for advice or reaching out and trying to get educated. They just think, well, that was a terrible experience. So I guess what I'm suggesting is, if people are coming on forums and they want to be better educated, then be a little patient with them. Even if it just grinds your gears and you just think I've just answered that three weeks ago, that same question came up about three times and it's been answered. You could even say to them helpfully, which I do see people do in nice forums where they say, hey mate, if you do a search on the forum, you'll find that that was just answered last week and there was some really good back and forth on it. So you might find that really engaging and really helpful, especially for what you're asking. Sorry to interrupt, I thought that was beneficial for people who are forum trolls.  

00:07:55 Narelle:       Yeah, that's fine and I'm seeing that more and more where people are telling others, just look, do a search, do a search and people accept that.   

00:08:03 Glenn:       They can also say, do a search and if you're having no luck then message back and we’ll get the brains trust to see if they can answer the question for you.  

00:08:12 Narelle:       Yeah, so some of the other sort of comments that come up about rice is that dogs don't have any nutritional requirement for carbohydrates and again, that's true. Dogs technically don't have any nutritional requirement for carbohydrates, but we're talking about an acute use for a therapeutic purpose. Again, I'm not saying rice is the way to go, we'll talk about better options, but carbohydrates are important for dogs at certain times in their life where energy requirements are high. During growth, during gestation, during lactation and if dogs don't have adequate carbohydrate for energy, then they're gonna make the glucose they need from amino acids, so they're gonna break down their protein which is better used supporting muscle growth and supporting the immune system. So we don't wanna compromise that during those periods, but that's an aside. Another comment that I saw with my quick Google was that rice is too starchy to be part of a dog's diet.  

00:09:06 Narelle:       Again, true for the most part. But there's a reason why dogs need starch when they've got diarrhoea. It's got a purpose. I guess to begin, it's helpful to have a bit of a backstory about where the rice for diarrhoea even came from in the first place. Most people may not realise that diarrhoea is the greatest cause of malnutrition and mortality in infants and children in developing countries. So even though they could die of the actual disease that's causing the infection, that's causing the diarrhoea, for the most part, they actually die from dehydration and the loss of electrolytes. You've gotta think in these countries, getting to medical aid isn't always possible or if it is, you know, it's not gonna happen immediately.  

00:09:54 Narelle:       A lot of these children die. They've developed standard oral rehydration solutions, but again, not accessible to everyone. So what scientists have been doing over the decades is trying to find an alternative that's readily accessible, that's effective for helping these children with diarrhoea, and they ended up testing all these different carbohydrates sources. They tested rice, wheat, lentils, mung beans, all those crops that are readily available in developing countries and they found that most of them actually worked. But rice just had more of the properties for  reducing stool output and rehydration that they were looking for. So the World Health Organization developed a rice-based oral rehydration solution and now recommends the use of a rice water fast as the initial intervention for children with diarrhoea. 

00:10:56 Narelle:       That's the background, so it really did come from a good place and it's been shown to be effective in saving children's lives. It's important for people not to get hung up on individual foods and think it has to be this particular food, but to know what you can use instead. For example, raw food feeders tend to be fixated on you have to feed 5% liver in a raw food diet to make it complete and balanced, because of the nutrient profile that it provides, particularly vitamin A.  But you don't need liver specifically, even though every sort of ratio will say, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs.  

00:11:48 Narelle:       You need the nutrients that the liver provides. So if you are savvy with your nutritional knowledge, you can say, okay, liver's got this nutritional profile, what else could I substitute that has that similar nutritional profile? And it's the same with rice when it comes to diarrhoea. So rice is great, but once you understand how it works, you can go, okay, so that's how it works to fix diarrhoea. What can I substitute that will also do that?  I wanna get into a bit of the nerdy stuff and just explain what happens during diarrhoea and how rice works to fix it, and then we can move on to what you can use instead. So in the normal healthy intestine, we've got this continuous exchange of water being secreted into the intestines.  

00:12:31 Narelle:       A similar amount most days being reabsorbed back into the body. But when we're in a state of diarrhoea, or our dogs are in a state of diarrhoea that balance gets upset because there's a lot of inflammation so the ability of the large intestine to reabsorb water is compromised. We are getting a lot more water secreted into the intestines, less taken up, so we're getting that net loss of fluids, which is why people die of dehydration and electrolytes. Sodium's the main electrolyte that gets lost in diarrhoea and if it goes on for an extended period of time, then potassium really becomes a problem as well. But many people think too, particularly when it comes to human diarrhoea, that if you just add some salt to your water, that's gonna be fine. 'cause that's gonna help your body take up the extra fluid so you don't get dehydrated. But it doesn't really help because the normal mechanism by which sodium gets absorbed by a healthy intestine is impaired when you've got diarrhoea. So it's not so straightforward in that sense.  

00:13:30 Glenn:       What about those electrolyte drinks?   

00:13:34 Narelle:       Yes, they work. But they're a blend of sodium and potassium, magnesium, so all of your electrolyte minerals plus they've got some glucose. So if we can't absorb sodium back up into the body, then we can't absorb excess water back up into the body and this is an important relationship. It's good that people understand it and know it, but you know, you don't have to dwell on it. But there's a relationship, it's an osmotic gradient that gets established between sodium and water. All people need to remember is that wherever sodium goes water will follow. So if you are getting excess sodium in the intestines then you'll get excess water coming outta the body into the intestines, which is gonna exacerbate diarrhoea. But if your intestines can take up sodium, then automatically water's gonna get taken up.  

00:14:28 Narelle:       Bear with me people. I've just said when you've got diarrhoea and the intestinal lining is inflamed, that normal sodium uptake is impaired, but the body in all its beauty and glory has a workaround. If we've got all these different little transporters in our intestinal lining, and they all have different jobs, and if we think of this particular one, like a revolving door, it's designed specifically to transport both glucose and sodium. So they're a package deal. If sodium went up to this door and said, hey, I wanna get in, it'd be like, sorry bud, you're on your own. No deal. But if sodium goes and grabs glucose and goes up to the door, then it's like, great, it lets 'em in. It revolves, they get up into the body, and then water gets absorbed up, like water just gets a free ride.  

00:15:22 Glenn:       So it's kind of like when you go to a nightclub and you've got too many guys and they go, sorry, we've got too many guys inside. 

00:15:28 Narelle:       That's a really good analogy. So if you go grab a girl like any random girl, you've got a better chance of getting in. 

00:15:36 Glenn:       That's why I'm here to dumb things down.

00:15:39 Narelle:    That's awesome, I really love that. The Lancet, which is one of the oldest and most prestigious medical journals, actually made a statement saying that the discovery of this mechanism, this co-transport of sodium and glucose, was potentially the most important medical advancement over the past century. So it obviously does a lot more than I know. I just know how it works with diarrhoea. 

00:16:09 Glenn:       So you better deep dive into that.  

00:16:11 Narelle:       Yeah, so it must be pretty fascinating. So that's what oral rehydration therapy is based on. Those electrolyte drinks, they've got the sodium, but they also put the sugars in there to, to create  

00:16:20 Glenn:       To create the binder. 

00:16:22 Narelle:       Yeah, to help the sodium get into the body, which helps the water get into the body. 

00:16:24 Glenn:       Well there you go, that's fascinating. I didn't know that.  

00:16:26 Narelle:       Yeah, so back to rice. Rice is a carbohydrate, it's a starchy carbohydrate, which gets broken down in the body into glucose, so that's why rice works in this instance because it's providing the glucose to help with the reabsorption of sodium and water back into the body. There are other compounds that can do this too, amino acids like glycine, for example and people forget that grains also contain protein. So rice is about, depending on what book you look at, about 10% protein and some of that protein will be glycine, that's gonna be helping too. But chicken, you know, as an animal protein is rich in amino acids, including glycine which can help with the absorption of sodium in a similar mechanism. Now everyone's educated on the mechanism behind why rice is so useful for helping to reduce the incidents and frequency of diarrhoea. So having that information and knowledge, you can then go, okay, well what else is going to potentially provide a source of carbohydrate and starch that can be broken down into glucose and taken up into the body as … 

00:17:36 Glenn:       An alternative to rice?  

00:17:38 Narelle:       Yeah and again, I've got no problem if one of our dogs suddenly got diarrhoea and there was panic buying because of covid and we didn't have anything else in the house except for rice, I wouldn't hesitate to make up some rice water. And it's actually the water that's being used and beneficial rather than the grain itself. You can give both. There's a little recipe that I can tell people at the end if they wanna use the rice water approach. But one of the reasons that I don't think rice is the best option is because grains do have an inflammatory effect in the body. When the gastrointestinal tract is already compromised and inflamed, it just seems counterintuitive to throw more fuel on the fire in that regard. And it's the same with factory farmed chicken, that can be very pro-inflammatory because of the high omega sixes and anything else that's in the meat from the farming practices. But what a lot of people may not realise is that rice is notoriously high in arsenic.  

00:18:40 Glenn:       Wow, how did that come to be? 

00:18:44 Narelle:       Rice, and this has been known in human health circles for a long time, has always been a problem for human health in terms of its carcinogenic effect on the body. But there was a paper released last year, 2019, on dogs and showing that hair tissue mineral analysis looking for arsenic in dogs, was statistically significantly higher in dogs that had more rice in their diet than dogs that didn't. Arsenic, it's one of those ubiquitous compounds which is naturally found in the air, in the soil, in the groundwater.  

00:19:20 Glenn:       Isn't it in apricot kernels?  

00:19:22 Narelle:       Yes, I think it is, and in apple seeds too. 

00:19:26 Glenn:       Yes. I think in apple seeds in very small quantity. But I'm sure that there is a recommendation to be cautious with apricot kernels. I'm sure I've heard that before.  

Narelle:    00:19:49    There was a compound laetrile or something, I could be wrong, but I'm sure it was potent anti-cancer benefits from apricot kernels.  

00:19:56 Glenn:       Yes, I have heard that. That's where I think I heard it from. 00:20:02 Narelle:       This is important, so I'm just gonna spend a bit of time on this arsenic picture because I don't think people realise how significant a problem it is for their own health, for the health of their children, let alone the health of their dogs. Arsenic comes in two forms, you've got organic arsenic and inorganic arsenic, and the terms organic and inorganic when we're talking about heavy metals and minerals are completely different to the farming practices of chemicals or no chemicals. It's not that organic meaning, it's to do with whether it's attached to a carbon molecule. So organic arsenic is relatively safe, but it's the inorganic arsenic, which is a carcinogen, and it's described as what's called a non threshold carcinogen, so any exposure constitutes a health risk. The European Union have actually classified it as a category one carcinogen.  

00:20:54 Narelle:       So it's pretty nasty, and rice, because of the way it's grown naturally, takes up a lot more arsenic from the soil and the groundwater, again because of the farming practices then similar crops. So depending on where the rice is grown, you know, basmati rice for example, tends to have lower levels of arsenic, particularly if it's from India and Pakistan and California. But research has found, and this is what's scary, that 75% of rice-based products that were tested for arsenic had levels that exceeded the European Union guidelines for safe consumption for babies and toddlers. The EU are super conservative, they set their limit at 0.1 milligrams per kilogram. Whereas in Australia, and that's just for inorganic arsenic, Australia just has this broad combination of organic and inorganic, which can be up to 1. You know, in Australia the government's happy for us to eat 10 times more arsenic  

00:21:55 Glenn:       Really?  

00:21:56 Narelle:       Than the EU.  

00:21:57 Glenn:       Usually it's the other way round. Australia is so nanny with a lot of those sort of things. That's surprising to say that.  

00:22:03 Narelle:       Yeah, it is and when you know that any arsenic is a health risk and they've set a limit that they consider safe, but you know, any exposure is detrimental. So 75% of baby formulas and toddler foods that are rice based exceed the safe limit. And you gotta think if a child's main source of carbs is rice and you know kids love rice, a lot of the baby formulas are like mushed up rice and rice cakes. There are little teething things for babies that are rice based, and if you think about it, children in general eat a lot of rice and that's problematic already. But children with celiac disease have been shown, because they're eating rice instead of gluten containing grains, the studies show up to 14 times more arsenic than other children on average. 

00:22:51 Glenn:       Has this always been around, like things like celiac or is it just that we're more aware of it?  

00:22:56 Narelle:       We're definitely more aware of it with better testing procedures, but it's not that it hasn't been around  

00:23:00 Glenn:       What would've been classified way back then? Just stomach problems?  

00:23:04 Narelle:       Well, it's not a guarantee that you'll have digestive complaints or problems if you are celiac. People can go through their whole lives and not have any gastric symptoms but still be celiac. But it may manifest in other ways down the track if there's nutrient deficiencies that are causing secondary health problems. So, it's not a guarantee. Most people do have gastric distress, but you know, our diets too, this is sort of getting off topic, but our diets now are so much more aggravating to our digestive systems. I think that our diets are more triggering of autoimmune conditions in general. So I think that all comes into it. 

00:23:40 Glenn:       Yeah, that makes sense there. Anyway, let's get back to your topic, sorry to hijack.  

00:23:44 Narelle:       No, that's all right. I didn't like it when I learned that brown rice has up to 80% more arsenic than white rice. So all our health conscious people who are going for brown rice for the extra fibre and nutrients, they're actually getting more arsenic in the mix as well, and that's because the arsenic tends to concentrate in the bran that gets removed when they make white rice. And it's not just about arsenic. Rice can have lead and mercury, cadmium and things like that. I can't give you the stats on it, but I read a paper where they suspect that part of the decline in IQ in children could be due to exposure to rice, due to the arsenic levels in rice.  

00:24:28 Glenn:       It's interesting to hear you say that because I was going to intervene and ask, is there a go-to rice? Like a better form of rice to have. That was shocking for me to hear you say that brown rice is so compromised. Is there a go-to rice? Is basmati the one that you would recommend?  

00:24:45 Narelle:       Yeah, well that's what I mentioned earlier. Basmati rice is the preferred rice for arsenic levels being lower. But even in the category of basmati rice, the studies show that it depends on where it's grown. The safest rice, according to the research is basmati rice that's grown in India, Pakistan, or California,  

00:25:06 Glenn:       Not even in Australia.  

00:25:08 Narelle:       No, we don't rate, and it doesn't matter if the rice is grown organically or not, that has no bearing on arsenic levels because it's the way rice has to be grown in water and so it's naturally occurring arsenic in the soil and the groundwater.  

00:25:21 Glenn:       Who would think that there's such a rising problem from such a little thing?  

00:25:25 Narelle:       Yeah and it's a known carcinogen. The highest level in the US is rice that's grown in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. So for all our US listeners, get your rice from California, not Texas. I mean that's not even gonna be on the packet, it's just gonna say product of the USA, right?  

00:25:49 Glenn:       That's right.  

00:25:50 Narelle:       Yeah, so that's really tricky and hard for people.  

00:25:52 Glenn:       How would they find out?  

00:25:53 Narelle:       I don't know. If you're lucky, the company may know, but often a lot of manufacturing companies source their product from a wide variety of farms. So it may not be just an exclusive farm in California, it might be some Californian rice, some Texan rice, I don't know. But if you think about it, the guidelines say that young children shouldn't be eating rice at every meal and let's think about what we feed our dogs that are on kibble.  

00:26:21 Glenn:       Yeah, they're rice and grain-based.  

00:26:23 Narelle:       And I cringe because our French bulldogs back in the day before I knew better, were on …

00:26:28 Glenn:       A hundred percent kibble diets. 

00:26:29 Narelle:       Well, I was about to say the brand, I won't. 

00:26:31 Glenn:       Don't say the brand,  

00:26:32 Narelle:       But it was a brand where rice is the number one ingredient. This is a dog food, but the number one ingredient was rice, and our dogs were getting that twice a day, every day for their entire lives. So, if it's unsafe for a toddler or a child to eat regularly, our poor dogs, no one's been considering what that's doing to their health and body and their similar body weight and size. Rice milk can be really high in arsenic. Glen loves his rice milk. 

00:27:07 Glenn:       Ah, man. Well I don't want to grow breasts so I don't drink soy.  

00:27:12 Narelle:       I might have to try you on oat milk.  

00:27:14 Glenn:       Yeah, and I don't like almond milk.  

00:27:16 Narelle:       No, me neither.  

00:27:18 Glenn:       Yeah, I'll try oat milk.  

00:27:19 Narelle:       Okay. I'll get back to the topic of diarrhoea. So we know that the main thing we are looking for when dogs have diarrhoea is a source of glucose, that's the key. There's lots of awesome alternatives. Instead of chicken, I go for turkey. The leanest turkey you can find, because you've gotta think again when the intestinal tract is inflamed and upset, fat is one of the hardest nutrients to absorb. You'll get a lot of malabsorption of fats and that'll just make the diarrhoea worse and fattier and disgusting.  

00:27:51 Glenn:       And turkey's got tryptophan in it.  

00:27:53 Narelle:       Yeah, it does. I buy the leanest Turkey mince I can find, cook it, and drain off the excess fat after cooking. And then I mix that 50-50 with cooked mashed pumpkin. Pumpkin's my rice alternative and I think that turkey pumpkin combo is actually growing in use particularly in the raw feeding circles.  

00:28:16 Glenn:       Don't you recommend slippery elm as well?  

00:28:18 Narelle:       That's my next point. You're well ahead of the game here.  

00:28:21 Glenn:       I've just heard you say it to people before that's why, because I actually listen to things that you say. I don't know all about it or why you do it, but I've heard you suggest that to people.  

00:28:31 Narelle:       Yes, I do mix slippery elm into it, but I'll finish with the pumpkin. Pumpkin's good because it's a great source of soluble fibre. It's actually higher in soluble fibre than rice, so that's good. But what that means is that it can absorb excess water from the intestines because it forms this viscous gel, which makes the stool swell up and become firmer, which helps to lessen the runny poos. Soluble fibre also slows down the gastric transit time. You've gotta think the longer that a stool is in the intestines or in the colon, the more opportunity there is for the body to reabsorb water out of it and then it becomes firmer. That's the great thing about soluble fibre. Soluble fibre is also very soothing to the intestinal lining.  

00:29:15 Narelle:       Pumpkin's a great source of potassium, so to replenish that electrolyte it's really good. And I dunno a lot about this next fact, but pumpkin has been shown to be better for diabetic dogs, or patients I should say, I think it's a human study, instead of rice because it contains a particular extract that improves blood glucose levels. A lot of diabetic patients have to be super careful with grains, particularly those that are rapidly absorbed. But there's something in pumpkin that can be safe and effective for diabetic patients, so I imagine that translates to dogs as well.

00:29:47 Glenn:       And not sweet potato, pumpkin particularly?  

00:29:49 Narelle:       I like pumpkin. You can use sweet potato. That's the thing, if you understand that you need a starchy carbohydrate that gets broken down into glucose in the body, sweet potato would be fine. It's gonna have a slightly different profile obviously to pumpkin, but it's still a suitable go-to. Then what I mix into the turkey and pumpkin is slippery elm. Slippery elm is also a soluble fibre but it's what's called a mucilage, so it's very mucilaginous. 

00:30:21 Narelle:       It forms a viscous gel and it makes the poo slimier. So for people who are constipated, it can be helpful to make  the stool pass through the colon and come out the other end. But it's also very healing, very soothing. It's very nutritive. So again, when a dog's digestive capacity is compromised, their nutrient absorption is compromised. You need to make sure that whenever you're giving sources of fibre to your dog, to make sure they're getting adequate fluid intake, because all these fibres are sucking up moisture, which is why we want them in diarrhoea, but we still need to make sure our dogs are getting adequate water so they don't get dehydrated throughout their illness. As a general guide, if you've never used slippery elm before, start with about a quarter of a teaspoon for a five to 10 kilo dog.  

00:31:09 Narelle:       And then you can build it up to a teaspoon or a bit more if you've got larger dogs. But again whenever you're introducing fibre, you wanna start small and low and go slow because it does affect the microbiome and it can cause gas and bloating, which can exacerbate diarrhoea, which is the opposite of what we want. So a small amount, see how your dog responds, but it's great, slippery arm is awesome. A similar herb is marshmallow root, comes in capsules, comes in powders. That works in a similar way to slippery elm. Digestive enzymes, there's so much microtrauma to the intestines during inflammation and infection with diarrhoea that digestive enzymes can just help our dogs get a little bit more out of what they are eating and just help them recover a bit better. Oats, if people don't have rice or potato or pumpkin, you can use oats, another great source of soluble fibre. So you can see there's lots of options.  

00:32:02 Glenn:       So you can make it like a porridge?  

00:32:03 Narelle:       Yeah, if you understand the mechanism behind why you're doing something. And just to round out some other things that you could do holistically for dogs with diarrhoea, bone broths are beautiful because it's easy for the dog to take in and absorb in liquid form. Great for electrolytes and other compounds that can be very healing to the intestinal wall.  

00:32:25 Glenn:       Very hydrating.  

00:32:26 Narelle:       Yeah, great for dogs, and usually very aromatic, so if you feed it or give it to them slightly warmed if they're feeling off or nauseous because of whatever's triggering their diarrhoea, it can really help them take up extra fluid. They may not wanna just drink plain water from their bowl.  

00:32:42 Glenn:       It’s like a little magic soup.  

00:32:43 Narelle:       It's a magic soup.  

00:32:45 Glenn:       Ladybug likes it.  

00:32:47 Narelle:       Oh, Ladybug loves her bone broth. You know, I make a big batch and freeze it in an ice cube trays. I'll just pop a few out and add some extra water and that really helps. For people who haven't listened to episode two on what happened to Ladybug, I need to ensure that she's getting adequate fluid intake during the day to prevent UTIs, so if I don't think she's drinking enough, I'll put some bone broth cubes in her water  

00:33:09 Glenn:       And she will scoff it.

00:33:10 Narelle:       And then she becomes like a leaky tap.  

00:33:12 Glenn:       Yeah, and then we have to back her off it because she'll try and gulp the whole lot down in one sitting.  

00:33:17 Narelle:       Herbal teas, people don't think about herbal teas for therapeutic benefits for themselves or dogs, but I'm huge on herbal teas for my clients, dogs and people. When you've got gastric upset, Camomile is beautiful, and you just make it up as you would for yourself, let it cool, don't give you dog hot scalding tea, but Camomile’s great. Nettle is great. Ginger's great. Fennel’s great. There are tea bag companies out there that do blends.  

00:33:42 Glenn:       So when you're saying that, is there a specific brand that you would recommend for people? Because you talked about rice before and you said it depends where it's grown. Would it be the same as tea?  

00:33:51 Narelle:       Yes. I tend to just stick to a couple of brands of tea. So my knowledge of all the other tea brands that would be probably just as good isn't super duper. But the ones that I love are from Planet Organic. They're organically grown tea and Hildae Hemmes’ is another high quality tea and they do single herbs as well as blends. So I dunno if they're available overseas, but they're definitely easy to get in Australia, so don't forget about herbal teas. In a nutshell, if a dog presents with diarrhoea or if your dog has diarrhoea, the first thing, if you've got a healthy adult dog, the best thing that you can do is to withhold all food for about 24 hours. That just gives their gut a chance to calm down without any food aggravating the picture.  

00:34:37 Narelle:       So, critical that they still get adequate fluids. This is where the bone broth would be lovely, but fast your dog, don't do it for puppies, don't do it for really old dogs or sick dogs, that's not really indicated. And then after 24 hours start to introduce easy to digest food. That's pumpkin and turkey, low fat foods, things like that and all the supplements that you wanna add. I mean you might even add in a probiotic to again help with the immune system, or just to help heal the lining of the gut. You might do that for a couple of days if they don't go to your vet obviously, but if things start to clear up, don't just put them straight back onto their original diet, every day you might add in another 25% of what their normal diet is to the turkey, pumpkin and the slippery arm.  

00:35:28 Glenn:       So you glossed over that just quickly before and I just think that it probably warrants caution for people that if they are concerned then speak to their vet as well.  

00:35:36 Narelle:      Absolutely. Usually by day two people should have a good sense of the quality of the diarrhoea and the severity of it. If by the end of day two I had that feeling, I would be to the vet that day or the next day.  

00:35:51 Glenn:       Particularly if it's got a really rancid  smell or anything like that.  

00:35:54 Narelle:       Absolutely. If there's any blood from day one, I'd be going to the vet.  

00:35:58 Glenn:       Yeah, and take a sample if you can,  

00:36:00 Narelle:       I just meant to mention too, when you start introducing food to the dog, give smaller meals more frequently. Giving one massive meal is such a burden to the digestive tract that it's not gonna help, it's just gonna hinder any function of the enzymes and absorption of nutrients. You might give three or four smaller meals throughout the day to a dog that's not well and then ease off over the days as the dog improves.  

00:36:28 Glenn:       Sounds good. 

00:36:29 Narelle:       I've bagged rice a bit, but like I said, everything's gotta be put into perspective. I wouldn't be so concerned if I gave my dog rice and chicken for three days because I know they're on a healthy diet now. They'd be on a healthy diet afterwards. But there are better options now. We've evolved I think beyond what we've all grown up with. Something to think about that was what today's podcast was about, people shouldn't be persecuted if they do use chicken and rice. It's not the worst thing that you can give your dog, it's not the best thing, but it's certainly far from the worst and people should keep that in mind and just educate others  

00:37:10 Glenn:       And just say, listen pumpkin just use some pumpkin.  

00:37:15 Narelle:       So I think we'll leave it there for today. That's my chicken and rice for diarrhoea.  

00:37:20 Glenn:       Okay, anyone you wanna thank, any love you wanna send out there or anything,  

00:37:25 Narelle:       I'm always highly appreciative of my listeners and the people that support the show and my business. So if people wanna get in contact with me, my primary business is natural health and nutrition, so you can go to my website there's heaps of information at naturalhealthandnutrition.com.au. I've got a Facebook page, Natural Health and Nutrition, but I've also got a page Natural Health for People and Pets, which supports this podcast. So if you've got any questions about what we've spoken about today and what else you might be able to use for your dog, if it's got diarrhoea, jump on the Natural Health for People and Pets Facebook page and we can take it from there. Great. Thanks everyone. 

More stories

Episode 3: Improve your immunity

00:00:33 Glenn:       Welcome back to Natural Health for People and Pets, I believe this is episode three. I'm your co-host, Glen Cooke, and joini...

Episode 5: Complete and Balanced

00:00:33 Glenn:       Welcome back to episode five of Natural Health for People and Pets. Can you believe it's episode five already?   00:00:39 Na...