Keeping your dog healthy and happy is a full-time job as there are many things you need to take into account. You’ll find more info here about looking after your pup’s health and managing certain health problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. This medical affection can be treated but you’ll need to make some changes in your pet’s diet and have some regular visits to the vet.
Dogs are loving creatures that change your life forever. Kind, warm, goofy, and altogether adorable, no wonder these animals are considered a man’s best friends. However, looking after them is a huge responsibility as many things can go wrong over the years. If you want to make sure they live a long and happy life, you need to properly treat and prevent some common health affections, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
What is irritable bowel syndrome?
The digestive system of dogs is similar to the ones of humans. Both are omnivorous animals, although dogs prefer a diet based on meat rather than grains, fruits, and vegetables. The good thing is that you can offer your pet many of the dishes you cook for you and your family, as long as they don’t contain any harmful ingredients.
But even when you’re closely watching your dog’s diet, it can still suffer from a gastrointestinal condition called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). There are many triggers of IBS, including environmental factors, the wrong diet or stress.
Unfortunately, it is not always known what causes IBS, as the most common symptoms are shared with numerous other disorders. Therefore, you should pay close attention to your pet’s behavior and notice any signs of stress, discomfort, and pain. And, if you think your dog may suffer from IBS, you should take it to the vet right away.
What are the most common symptoms of IBS?
As previously mentioned, the main reason why irritable bowel syndrome is not discovered in time or properly treated is that it is manifested through common symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. These can be caused by a virus, an infection, sunstroke, severe cases of dehydration, stress, food poisoning, and others.
IBS manifests in the lower digestive tract and the intestines. Unfortunately, the symptoms your pet experiences are painful and cause discomfort.
Uncontrollable spastic convulsions, loud stomach rumbles, chronic diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, bloating, loss of appetite, pain in the lower and upper abdominal region, excessive flatulence or straining during elimination are other common symptoms caused by irritable bowel syndrome.
So, if your pet is experiencing any of the previously mentioned symptoms, you should consult a vet immediately. Fortunately, this health affection is treatable and, with the right medication and dietary changes, your dog can return to its joyful personality soon.
What are the main causes of IBS in dogs?
Although some studies have been made, scientists and vets cannot agree upon a set of triggers that cause digestive problems in dogs. IBS is characterized by the inflammation of the intestinal wall, which can have many causes.
Stress and anxiety represent the most common causes of IBS in dogs. Unfortunately, humans don’t speak the same language as dogs so it might be difficult to understand when your pet is in pain or feels stressed. It can be anything from a recent move to welcoming another member into the family, including a pet.
Each dog is unique so it handles stress in a different manner. If your pet is overly attached to you or its things, you might want to avoid making sudden changes in its lifestyle. Even a small thing like replacing your animal’s old bed with a new one can trigger intestinal problems at a certain point.
Dietary changes represent another common reason why your dog might be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. It can be caused by fiber deficiency, dietary allergies or simply ingesting something inedible. If you want to prevent these situations, make sure your dog doesn’t have access to food other than what it can safely eat.
Unfortunately, IBS can also be caused by getting in contact with certain substances and harmful chemicals such as pesticides, bleaches or cleaning solutions.
If your pet prefers long walks in the park, keep an eye on its behavior and prevent it from picking up anything from the ground. Even some home plants and grass can be contaminated with pesticides and powerful chemical substances that can trigger allergic reactions and cause further health issues.
Last but not least, you should also take into account your pet’s antibiotics and prescription drugs. Pills might treat your doggo for one affection but can lead to a series of other negative effects.
Whenever going to the vet, make sure to provide the doctor with your dog’s full medical history, including environmental interactions, and habits for an accurate diagnosis.
How to treat IBS in dogs
As we previously mentioned, the good news is that irritable bowel syndrome is completely treatable and the recovery process is stable and fast. In most cases, the treatment can be provided in the comfort of your own house so that the pet can recover faster, in a friendly and familiar environment.
During recovery, you need to schedule periodic follow-up visits so that the vet can assess your dog’s progress.
Unfortunately, once your pet has been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, it is prone to future recurrences throughout its life. Looking after your dog’s health is a long-term process in which you should avoid exposure to triggering factors such as stress, a heavy diet, low-fiber foods or chemical substances.
If you want to prevent IBS from being triggered again, you need to keep an eye on your pup’s stool and overall health, noticing any changes in behavior or diet.
In most cases, stress is what accelerates IBS and one easy way to notice if your pet is being stressed is its appetite. If the pooch doesn’t eat as much as it used to or if its fur starts falling suddenly, it may be going through some stressful moments.
Looking after your dog’s diet
Diet is an important part of your dog’s life, so you need to pay close attention to everything your pet eats if you want it to live a long, healthy, and happy life. A strict feeding schedule will help maintain optimum weight and prevent other health problems associated with obesity, such as heart diseases, kidney failure or diabetes.
One of the most common methods of recovery and prevention prescribed by vets to help with irritable bowel syndrome is dietary changes. A meal rich in fibers will provide all necessary vitamins and minerals your pup requires to regulate its digestive system and help it function properly.
However, since dogs are omnivorous animals, most owners assume their pet will eat the same food as they do. In an attempt to replace kibbles with home-cooked meals, most dog owners fail to properly understand their pet’s dietary requirements, ending up doing more harm than good in the long term.
If your pet is on a strict diet recommended by the vet, various foods should be avoided or only served in moderation.
Protein is the number one ingredient that should be found in all dog foods but red meat and dark meats, as well as egg yolks and dairy products, should be avoided, even though they are rich in proteins. They should be replaced with lean meat such as fish, chicken, and turkey.
Egg whites are an important source of proteins so they shouldn’t be eliminated. They are best served boiled and mixed with other ingredients such as flaxseed oil or green leafy veggies (broccoli, spinach, kale, etc.).
Corn, soy, bread, wheat, meat by-products, and fried food should be avoided as it can cause further stomach burns and bloating. Furthermore, never feed your pooch avocado or grapes as they are toxic. Any type of processed food such as pizza, junk food or fast food should also stay away from your pet, as well as caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, and desserts with refined sugar.
If you want a healthy and delicious snack for your pet, you can try offering some raw vegan desserts or fresh fruits, as long as they have low acidity and don’t cause diarrhea.