Q. I heard about eating coconut macaroons to help with irritable bowel syndrome on your radio program. Our dog was having trouble with recurrent bouts of diarrhea and the vet could not find a reason.
I gave her coconut flakes twice a day, and it worked great. So this remedy also seems to work for dogs with sensitive digestive systems.
A. We have heard from many readers who have found that coconut helps to quell diarrhea. We first heard about this remedy from Donald Agar, who used Archway coconut macaroons to treat diarrhea from Crohn’s disease. Others have found that plain shredded coconut works just as well.
Although we could find no scientific support for the use of coconut to stop diarrhea, it is used in some traditional medical systems (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, online Nov. 23, 2012).
You are not the first to report that coconut as flakes or cookies can help stop diarrhea in dogs. Others have found that pumpkin is also very helpful for this problem. One reader wrote:
“I’ve used pumpkin for both constipation and diarrhea and found that it works equally well for both. Just don’t overdo it for the diarrhea. Plain rice helps with diarrhea, too. A bland diet for a few days usually does the trick, but add back in their usual food slowly over a couple of days, at least this is what works for us. We have four dogs.”
We discuss coconut, pomegranate and a few other remedies for diarrhea in our Guide to Digestive Disorders, which also addresses flatulence, heartburn and other problems more salient to humans that to their companion animals.