If your best friend has ever had a pooplosion due to dog Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), you know it’s something you need to address immediately. IBS in dogs is a condition that causes symptoms like chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain in dogs, but the good news is that we may be able to help IBS in dogs by addressing what dogs eat and the health of their guts.
What’s The Difference Between IBS and Inflammatory Bowel Disease In Dogs?
When we talk about IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, we are referring to a group of symptoms that affect the dog’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract. They often show up in the form of chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, and recurrent or chronic vomiting. The thing about IBS that’s often so frustrating for pet parents is that it’s a very functional condition. This means that while your dog’s digestive system may look perfectly normal, it is not working like it should. Stress is often a major trigger for IBS flare-ups, and managing your dog’s environment and stress levels could play a critical role in controlling the condition.
On the other hand, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in dogs is a more severe condition compared to IBS. It’s characterized by a persistent inflammation of your dog’s intestinal tract, and your veterinarian will likely be able to see inflammatory cells in the digestive tract. IBD can cause considerable damage to the lining of your dog’s GI tract over time, and impair their body’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients effectively. IBD can often have symptoms similar to IBS, but it might also additionally cause weight loss, fatigue, and sometimes bloody stools. Managing IBD often involves more intensive treatment strategies, sometimes needing to go beyond possibly dietary modifications and into medication to control the inflammation and repair the GI tract lining.
What Causes IBS in Dogs
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition affecting dogs’ intestinal tracts, and symptoms, including abdominal pain and chronic diarrhea, are the main identifiers. The exact cause of IBS varies, but it generally revolves around the inflammation of the GI tract. It’s often triggered by various factors like a parasitic or bacterial infection or even food allergies in dogs.
It’s important to understand that the underlying cause of IBS in dogs can often be a bucket of lots of different things. In many cases, it stems from a disruption in the normal functioning of the dog’s intestinal tract. Sometimes it’s a reaction to something they ate or an emotion they’re dealing with, but more often than not, this is due to an imbalance of the gut flora. Stress is also a notorious instigator when it comes to IBS, and impacts the overall well-being of your dog’s GI tract.
When your dog has inflammatory cells in their intestinal tract, symptoms can be worse, but they also lead to a vicious cycle of discomfort and chronic irritation and pain. Most dog parents who deal with their dog’s IBS know what dog stress does, and try to control the situations that cause flare-ups. Focusing on ensuring their gut health is as good as it can be with dietary management and purposed effort to maintain normal bacterial populations is key.
Symptoms of IBS In Dogs
Spotting the symptoms of IBS in dogs early on is a proactive way to manage and possibly prevent the escalation of irritable bowel syndrome in your best friend. The most common signs of IBS in dogs include chronic diarrhea and recurrent or chronic vomiting, and these are often accompanied by what looks like abdominal pain for your pup. These symptoms may be irregular, but tend to be persistent, and bring pain to your dog (and often a mess for you).
Apart from the more obvious symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting, some dogs diagnosed with IBS may also experience other signs such as bloating, gas, and mucus in the stool. Your veterinarian will likely advise you to change what your dog eats, and even advise you to stop giving dog food temporarily and instead give more bland human food like chicken and rice or even pumpkin to bulk their stool up.
Diagnosing IBS in Dogs
Diagnosing IBS in dogs can sometimes be a bit of a journey, mostly because the symptoms are often so similar to other GI conditions in dogs. To diagnose IBS in dogs, usually a vet will start with a comprehensive physical examination, coupled with a detailed history of your dog’s health and diet.
Sometimes vets diagnose IBS with diagnostic tests like blood tests, fecal examinations, and ultrasounds. They do this to rule out other potential causes of symptoms, like a parasitic or bacterial infection. Sometimes, a biopsy might be necessary to evaluate the extent of the involvement of inflammatory cells in the intestinal tract.
Is Dog Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatable?
Luckily for pet parents, the answer is a resounding yes. Treatment for dogs with irritable bowel syndrome usually involves a multifaceted approach. It includes changes in diet, lifestyle adjustments, and sometimes, medication to manage the symptoms. Your vet might recommend a dietary regimen that is easy on your dog’s GI tract, eliminating foods that are known to cause irritation.
It’s not uncommon for a vet to suggest a diet rich in fiber, to help normalize bowel movements and alleviate symptoms like explosive diarrhea. Probiotics might also be introduced to restore the balance of good bacteria in the gut, and to create a thriving environment of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract.
How Dog Gut Health is Related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Dogs
The gut health of dogs is intrinsically linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome in dogs. A healthy gut often means most dogs have a strong defense against the onslaught of IBS symptoms. The intestinal tract of dogs is home to a complex ecosystem of bacteria and enzymes that work harmoniously to digest food and absorb nutrients efficiently.
Unfortunately for many dogs, when the equilibrium of this ecosystem is disrupted, it can pave the way for IBS to take hold. This fosters an environment where inflammatory cells proliferate, which causes symptoms like abdominal pain and diarrhea. That’s why maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, and a stress-free environment can significantly contribute to fostering optimal gut health in dogs, possibly keeping IBS at bay.
What is the Prognosis for Dogs with IBS?
The prognosis for dogs with IBS is generally good, especially when managed with the right combination of diet, lifestyle modifications, and gut health repair. The big thing with IBS in dogs is to remember that it’s about preventing and controlling symptoms from the inside out.
How Can Bernie’s Perfect Poop Help Dogs with IBS?
Because managing your dog’s gut health is a key factor in managing IBS in dogs, Bernie’s Perfect Poop makes a huge difference! We designed it to support optimal gut health in dogs, and that’s pivotal in helping symptoms that most dogs suffer from with IBS. Perfect Poop has ingredients that make us the perfect supplement to give if you’re hoping to help symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in your dog.
- Fiber: Bernie’s Perfect Poop is rich in high-quality fiber like Miscanthus grass and pumpkin, and that may help in regularizing their bowel movements. It may also help reduce those pooplosions that are often associated with IBS.
- Prebiotics and Probiotics: Pre- and probiotics help foster a healthy environment in the intestinal tract by encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria and suppressing the proliferation of harmful bacteria, which can be a common cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The healthier your dog’s microbiome, the fewer gastrointestinal system issues they may face.
- Digestive Enzymes: Digestive enzymes are vital in aiding the proper breakdown and absorption of nutrients in the GI tract. This may potentially reduce the strain and inflammation associated with IBS in dogs.
Incorporating Bernie’s Perfect Poop into your dog’s diet could pave the way for a healthier, happier gut, and possibly reduce the frequency and intensity of Irritable Bowel Syndrome flare-ups.
And any dog parent who’s had to watch their best friend struggle with IBS symptoms knows that’s a huge win!