What To Feed A Dog With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Jan 15, 2023

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in dogs affects their digestive systems and can cause significant irritation and discomfort. It is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines and can have your dog suffering from things like diarrhea, vomiting, severe weight loss and more. Finding the right diet for your dog with IBD can be challenging, so if you’re asking what to feed a dog with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, we have some suggestions. 

First things first–What’s the difference between Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

That’s a great question about conditions that are often confused or spoken about interchangeably. There is a difference, though, as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic condition that is typically characterized by irritation and inflammation of a dog’s intestines and stomach, but IBS is not usually a result of damage or inflammation to intestines or tissue. 

IBD is chronic and can be based on genetics, immune system dysfunction, infections, etc. To effectively and accurately diagnose IBD, your vet will likely take a biopsy of your dog’s intestines. Symptoms from IBD include lack of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, diarrhea and vomiting.

IBS is thought to be a functional disorder that includes chronic abdominal pain, bloating or discomfort for your dog. While some of the IBD symptoms overlap, those symptoms are usually relieved when your dog passes gas or poops. Even if there are bowel issues like constipation or diarrhea, altering diet and bowel habits or removing stressful situations can be treatment. 

Whereas IBD is characterized by tangible inflammation and/or irritation of the stomach and intestines, IBS is more characterized by pain, discomfort, bloating or even diarrhea, but not because of inflammation or irritation of the intestinal lining. 

So what should I feed a dog with Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Finding the right foods to feed a dog with Inflammatory Bowel Disease can be challenging because you’re always concerned about what may or may not irritate or inflame an already irritated or inflamed bowel. 

After talking with your vet who has diagnosed the IBD, you’ll also want to talk about any other health issues that your dog may have that would affect their diet. 

Generally speaking, the best diets for IBD in dogs are ones that are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates. It’s these diets that are thought to help reduce the inflammation your dog may be dealing with, while also helping them maintain weight and nutritional absorption, as those are concerns in dogs with IBD.

Offer highly digestible ingredients.

Many dog parents who have dogs with Inflammatory Bowel Disease like to make their own diets for their dogs. These diets are typically made with high-protein meats like fish, turkey or chicken. They also include vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and green beans. These are highly digestible vegetables that can also offer vital minerals and vitamins. However, you should check with your vet before you decide, as you want to avoid vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli and maybe others they may recommend.

Offer limited ingredients.

An option dog parents give to their dogs with IBD is a limited-ingredient diet. These diets are made with a single protein source, and very few other ingredients, so they’re highly digestible as well. These diets can be homemade or commercially made.

Consider novel proteins.

Novel proteins may be something to feed a dog with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, as sometimes the proteins in chicken, beef, wheat and dairy may result in an immune system reaction that could inflame their bowel. A novel protein is a protein that your dog hasn’t ever had before, and given in the hopes that their immune system won’t be triggered to respond and create inflammation. There is a caution in that sometimes a novel protein may actually trigger a response because it’s unknown to your dog’s system, so check with your vet first and see what they think. 

Prebiotics and probiotics can offer relief.

Giving your dog with IBD probiotics and prebiotics can help by encouraging their gut flora to have a healthy balance of good bacteria. This can help reduce inflammation in their intestinal lining and that can help relieve the systems of IBD in dogs. Prebiotics are found foods like bananas and apples, while probiotics can be found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir or even goat milk. Again, discuss this with your vet to see what they think. 

Watch portion sizes.

Portion sizes as well as frequencies of feeding matter when trying to find what to feed a dog with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It’s thought that small but frequent meals during the day may be easier for your dog’s digestion and that may help limit inflammation. No matter how much they beg, table scraps and high-fat treats are not good for dogs who have Inflammatory Bowel Disease. 

Photo: What to feed a dog with inflammatory bowel disease?

Prioritize good gut health when looking for what to feed a dog with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

When deciding what to feed a dog with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, it’s important to prioritize its gut health. It’s key to helping reduce inflammation and to improve their digestive system’s functioning. 

When your dog’s gut is healthy, and balanced with an appropriate amount of beneficial bacteria, it can help reduce inflammation in the intestinal lining. 

A healthy dog gut can also improve how its immune system functions. This is key because when your dog’s immune system overreacts, it can attack the healthy cells in your dog’s gut lining. The immune system’s main job is to protect your dog’s body from invaders, but if its immune system doesn’t function appropriately, it can turn on itself. Healthy dog guts mean healthier immune systems, and that means less inflammation.

Why supplement with Bernies’s Perfect Poop if your dog has IBD?

The main reason to supplement with Bernies’ Perfect Poop is to improve your dog’s gut health. If you’re asking what to feed a dog with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, you already know that there is importance to every morsel that goes into their mouth. 

Perfect Poop is the best fiber, pre- and probiotics and digestive enzymes for dogs you’ll find. The fiber will help bulk up their stool so they don’t struggle with diarrhea as much. The prebiotics and probiotics in Perfect Poop will keep their gut balanced and reduce the inflammation they’re struggling with. The digestive enzymes in Perfect Poop will help strengthen their immune system by optimizing nutrient absorption and allowing every cell of their body to be fueled.

A healthy gut is a happy dog, especially when it comes to a dog who struggles with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. 

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