Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs

Tuesday, January 25, 2022 11:59:47 AM America/Los_Angeles

Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or IBD, can be a real party pooper. While it’s usually not a fatal illness, it can wreak havoc on a dog's health. The symptoms of IBD are both painful and stressful and should be addressed ASAP if they don’t appear to be subsiding. 

Photo by Jamie Street

What Is IBD?

Inflammatory bowel disease is an inflammation of the digestive tract that’s caused by an excess of inflammatory cells. There is no single cause and IBD can be the result of genetics, stress, weak immune system, allergies, parasites, or bacteria. Unfortunately, diagnosing IBD is known to be a tricky endeavor. This means that dog pawrents play an especially important role in recognizing symptoms and communicating them to the vet. 

What Are the Symptoms of IBD in Dogs?

Symptoms that may appear in dogs with IBD are:

  • Changes in bowel movements such as chronic diarrhea
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • Chronic vomiting 
  • Swelling in the abdomen area
  • Loss of appetite

What to Do for Dogs with IBD

  • Proper diet: If need be, your vet will be able to guide you in adjusting your pup’s diet. They will likely suggest a diet that is highly digestible and has minimal additives. 
  • Water intake: Encourage water intake, as chronic vomiting and diarrhea are dehydrating. Dehydration can lead to an electrolyte imbalance that worsens symptoms such as nausea. In severe instances, dogs will receive IV fluids at the vet. At home, water can be mixed into food if the dog is resistant to drinking water. 
  • Indoor dog bathroom: Because IBD is characterized in part by irregular bowel movements, it’s important to provide a pet potty indoors even if your dog is potty trained and walked regularly. Sudden bowel movements can happen with IBD, and extra pee pads around the house will help prevent accidents. 
  • Holistic ingredients: Of course, the vet should be contacted before adding any new foods to your fur baby’s diet because of their sensitive tummies. But single ingredient holistic foods can offer much in the way of rehabilitating a dog’s wellbeing, appetite, and weight. For instance, coconut is known to be a safe ingredient that helps boost appetite as well as offer anti-inflammatory benefits for the digestive system. 
  • Supportive environment: Stress can be a cause and/or trigger for IBD in canines. Even if that isn’t the case for your doggo, it doesn’t hurt to provide some extra creature comforts as they deal with this stressful ailment. Cozy bedding, a calm environment, and easy to access necessities like their water bowl and pee pad are all simple ways to make their lives just a tad bit easier.