We are all familiar with getting an upset stomach every now and then and the same can be said for our dogs however, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is far more than the odd stomach cramp.
IBS is a condition where the intestinal muscles do not function properly, resulting in constipation and diarrhoea. IBS (not to be confused with IBD - Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a consistent and chronic inflammation potentially leading to other health issues) is situational and diagnosed by exclusion i.e. no cause is identified through testing.
WHAT CAUSES IBS IN DOGS?
Did you know IBS is a psychosomatic syndrome? This means that your dog’s symptoms can be related to your dog’s mind, rather than a physical cause. Some common causes of IBS include:
- Stress - Just as stress can present in humans, it can manifest itself physically in your dog’s body.
- Food intolerance - We have all been there, we eat too much and our stomach protests! The same can be said for our dogs. Whether you have a greedy pooch who likes to overeat or a dog that scavenges for scraps, an IBS flare up can occur when the stomach objects to its content.
- Fibre deficiency
- Not using antibiotics correctly
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF IBS?
Knowing what to look for is important when suspecting IBS. The two main symptoms of IBS are constipation and diarrhoea. The onset of both of these symptoms can happen quickly and can be painful to your dog. Other symptoms can include vomiting, bloating, loss of appetite, flatulence and lethargy.
HOW IS IBS IN DOGS TREATED?
As we’ve discussed, stress can play a part in IBS. Can you identify what stress triggers are for your dog? Look to reduce or eliminate these where you can. If your dog suffers with severe anxiety, it might be worth talking to your vet in case medication is required.
You can also look to make dietary changes such as substituting your dog’s food for a high fibre alternative. A high intake of fibre makes it much easier for your dog’s digestive system to process food. If it is a food intolerance or allergy that is causing your dog’s IBS, research allergy-sensitive diets. For example, a gluten or grain-free diet might be needed.
Also consider introducing high-quality, friendly bacteria and fibre to help support digestion.
SOOTHE YOUR DOG’S STOMACH; WHAT TO FEED A DOG WITH IBS
Is your dog displaying symptoms such as constipation, diarrhoea or vomiting? It is possible that they are suffering from IBS. You should always seek advice from your vet in getting a diagnosis and then you can adapt your dog’s lifestyle to help manage the condition such as reducing stress and making dietary changes.
Many dogs will recover within around a week following treatment however others can be prone to recurring attacks. If you’d like to speak to one of our experts for advice, you can contact our team here.