Irritable bowel syndrome in dogs is way more common than it should be.  I’ll share some of the most important things that you can do to get your dog’s digestive tract back in order.

Constant soft, mushy or runny stools with alternating bouts of constipation are classic signs that something isn’t right. Don’t ever let this go and simply ignore it.

Your dog’s IBS is the body’s way of saying that it’s in trouble. Especially when the symptoms are continuous.

Form for dogs with IBSIf you’re looking to treat your dog’s digestive tract and stool problems naturally and effectively, we recommend that you learn more about our Core Bowel Kit here designed for dogs with continuous bouts of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  Our kit is contains only the most gentle yet effective herbal blends to quickly firm up your dog’s stool, heal the entire digestive tract and build the immune system.

But, while our kit can help solidify your dog’s stool, it’s critical that you take a look at the larger picture to figure out what is causing the digestive issues in the first place.  It can be as simple as changing to a better diet such as raw, home cooked or a little of both.  But, if this doesn’t work and you don’t see results, then you need to take a close look at what you’re doing or what you’ve done that may have caused the problem.  It could be as far back as 6-8 months or a year.  Vaccines are also believed to cause major issues through out the dog’s body.  If you’re feeding a diet meant for dogs (not kibble or canned processed food), but the digestive issues continue, we recommend that you think back about vaccinations and when and how often your dog has been vaccinated.

Irritable Bowel Consists of Both Constipation AND Soft Stool

Every day after I walk my own two dogs, we stop at the neighbors and pick up Boo Bear and bring her home with us. This way she’s not alone all day by herself.

It’s very hard for someone like me to ignore issues that other dog owners might not consider critical. Every day I witnessed Boo moving her bowels in my yard and leave a mess of soft, runny stool with no formation at all. I realize that IBS in dogs and it’s symptoms are a nasty topic, but the details must be mentioned so that you fully understand just how important it is.

I approached my neighbor and explained how Boo was having digestive issues and she was experiencing many classic symptoms of irritable bowel including diarrhea and constipation.  Since Boo was recently at the veterinarian and they were unable to find anything, I felt confident that with a few diet changes and additions, we could get her digestive issues regulated.

One of my own dogs had IBS for many years and I recognized the symptoms right away. We talked about the dog food and treats that she was feeding her. At this point, she had switched Boo from “Purina” (yuk) to “Blue” because she was having problems before I even came along.

I suggested adding a probiotic as well as digestive enzymes daily to see if it would help at all.

Her stool had formation, but the consistency was still not as it should be. This told me one thing, it’s definitely her diet. After about 2 more weeks, Boo’s stool became like water. It had absolutely no consistency at all. I once again approached my neighbor and advised her that it’s critical that she get Boo’s diet in order and the only way to do this is to change her diet completely. This includes all snacks and treats.

For dogs like this, I always recommend a grain free dog food including more quality meat protein, preferably raw. I HIGHLY recommend adding both good bacteria and enzymes daily. Often times dog owners will discontinue both of these products and the problem quickly reoccurs.  I suggest keeping dogs on a good probiotic for life.  You can eliminate having to add the supplements separately by feeding a good multi-vitamin that includes these (as recommended below).  However, DO NOT rely on DOG FOODS that say they are included.  Your dog needs much more than this.

Here’s an article I wrote on how to get your dog’s diarrhea under control.

The Power of Food Backed Up by Supplements

Although I wanted to, the owner didn’t want to place Boo on a raw diet at the time.  Sow, we placed Boo on G.L Artisan which is a freeze-dried grain free dog food formula that’s very close to home made. However, the difference is that all you do is ADD WARM WATER!  My favorites include Dr. Harveys, The Honest Kitchen and Grandma Lucy’s Artisan.

For those of you in the UK, please check out Pure Pet Food which is much like the foods I recommend here in the states.  I also wanted to provide Boo with more quality meat protein, so we included Wellness Ninety Five Percent canned meat and continued the probiotics.

In just one day, Boo’s stool had completely changed from soup to an at least formed consistency and it has pretty much remained that way. Keep in mind that it’s typically recommended that you switch dog food’s slowly to adjust the dog to the new food. However, since Boo’s stool was already a mess, it didn’t matter.

Update 7/18/15:  I finally talked Boo’s owner into adding raw to Boo’s daily diet. Boo absolutely LOVES it, and, her stool is now not only formed, but firm.  Daily she eats prepared raw, Grandma Lucy’s and Carna4 dry.  She is now receiving what her body needs to maintain a healthy digestive system and it shows not only in her stool everyday, but in her personality. She is frisky, playful and more energetic than I’ve seen her in a long time. She couldn’t be happier.

I also recommended several supplements including organic coconut oil and a good multivitamin formula that includes probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes and glandulars for the health of your dog’s liver, kidneys, etc.   Combine this with a good raw diet and your dog’s irritable bowel issues should disappear.

The power of food; don’t underestimate it.

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Showing 48 comments
  • Mariah

    I would love some advice for my 10 year old Maltese yorkie mix. She recently had a huge tight stomach as big and tight as when she was fully pregnant with 6 puppies but she’s been fixed for years. She has always been my dog with a sensitive stomach but she LOVES food. When she was little I tried avoderm as my other dog was on it but she had horrible gas. I put her on purina one and she did much better, but then she started gaining weight so I put her on blue buffalo weight management she’s been on it a couple of years until this incident. The doctors ran blood tests and she was low on protein, they did an ultrasound and found that she had a little free fluid in her belly and her intestines are thickened so they gave me a steroid and told me to either cook her meals or use ID Science diet. Her belly isn’t big but she still has smelly gas and poos. Since she finished the round of metrinozle? Her poo is fully formed but the smell is terrible. I don’t mind supplementing her food with home cooked but I do want her on dry dog food as I’ve always given her Science diet TD and plenty of raw hide to keep her teeth clean and now I can’t. Also is there a quick treat I could prepare for her because she misses her snacks and gives me the most soulful eyes when I give my other dog a treat and her a scoop of food. I have used probiotics in the past, after she gave birth she got sick and they had me do probiotics with a bunch of other things but I didn’t really feel the probiotics were any better than giving her yogurt. Please help

    • janie

      Hi Mariah:

      I’m sorry to hear about your old girl. I’m confused about what you are actually feeding her now? Would you be willing to home cook or use a dehydrated formula and include a supplement or two?


  • Barbara

    Please recommend which probiotic, enzymes, multivitamin etc. I’m dealing with IBM with a 6 month German Shepherd mastiff mix puppy.
    Just give me exact names of what to use and I’ll do it. I cant handle this anymore. Poor girl has been on metronidazole for 40 days now!

    • janie

      Hi Barbara:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your puppy. Can you share which food you are feeding her? Also, when did you last vaccinate her and are you using chemical flea and tick products on her?

      Let me know and we’ll go from there.


  • Jen

    I would highly discourage the use of rawhides, bully sticks, etc as our veterinarian GI specialist says those contribute to pancreatitis, IBS & other canine GI disease. Our 14 year old Sheba Pom mix is doing much better since we removed those treats from his diet.

    • janie

      Excellent Jen. Rawhide is very bad since it’s actually hide and swells as the dog eats it.

      Thanks for sharing!


  • Elma

    Hi my name is Elma and I have a 2 year old German Shepard named Ella, unfortunately my Ella is experiencing diarrhea for the past 6 months, she been to a vet multiple time , they did multiple test, all they found was a deficiency in B 12 , so they gave her 2 round of 3 injection and did not help, she is on prebiotic and probiotic, and now I ordered some holistic remedy BM TONEUP that is supposed to help with loose stool ,she is on that now to firm her stool , but we started few days ago, no major changes. It seems nothing is helping her with that diarrhea. Her stool runs from watery till sometimes like pudding and once a week she will have firm stool. Her vet tryed to treat her also couple of time with antibiotics and stereoid but NO help. They can’t find anything wrong with her but she has diarrhea daily 2 to 4 times, I even give her pedilyte just to make sure she is hydreded. I keep surching the internet if there is something that can help her, and this is how I came up on your article. And I have a question, when you said Raw food do you mean raw meat straight from store ( not cooked at all ) just to give to her to eat ? And how? Do I put some stuff on it or just like that wash meat and give it to ella ? I would definitely give her anything to help her so if you hav e some advice for me or instruction I would be very much appriciative. Also i heard Apple cider vineger with plain yougurt cpuld help ? And if so, how do i give her that , what dosage i shpuld use? Thank you in advance, sincerely ELLA I ELMA

    • janie

      Hi Elma:

      Are you located here in the U.S. and can I ask what you are currently feeding Ella? Besides diet change to raw (you can buy it at the grocery store or from a butcher. Organic is always better, but we all have to live within our means and do what we can afford. So, I would rotate between 90% lean ground beef (ground beef should always be frozen for at least 48 hrs before feeding raw due to a parasite only found in beef) and ground turkey. Switch every other day. Include STEAMED GREENS (broccoli, brussel sprouts, green beans). The greens should be cooked until very soft.

      I would detox her with Bentonite Clay FIRST as follows:
      Include Bentonite Clay to clean and flush out the liver and the blood of any toxins including those from vaccines and flea/tick chemical poisons. The clay is cheap and effective for removing toxins. Based on a dog weighing 50-90 pounds, she needs 1 tablespoon of the clay daily. You can sprinkle it on her food by giving her 1/2 tablespoon in the morning and 1/2 tablespoon at dinner

      When feeding the clay, do not feed it in a metal bowl or mix with a metal spoon. Use a plastic spoon and feed from a ceramic or glass bowl. This is the brand we recommend: Earths Natural Bentonite Clay. MAKE SURE HE HAS LOTS OF FRESH WATER AT ALL TIMES WHEN DETOXING WITH CLAY…. I would stop the clay after 10 days.

      I would change her diet to the following. I would also include Carna4 Sprouted Seeds which a WHOLE FOOD SUPPLEMENT containing probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes and EASILY absorbed by Ella. You can read about it and even purchase it on Amazon here.

      She also needs calcium if she’s going to eat raw or home made. Add roughly 900mg of calcium carbonate per POUND OF FOOD. 900mg of calcium carbonate powder is equal to 3/4 teaspoon.

      1 pound of food equals 16 ounces. So, if you have a glass measuring cup place 16 ounces (or 1 pound) of your dog’s meal in the measuring cup and add 3/4 teaspoon of calcium carbonate. That’s it. Here’s a link to purchase that too on Amazon Elma: Calcium Carbonate

      I would try and use this as a guide to get you started for how much to feed her: 60% raw meat, 2 raw eggs (2 eggs are equal to 1/2 cup), 10% cooked Quinoa, 20% green veggies and the Carna4. Add 1/8 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt daily to her meal. If the diarrhea doesn’t get under control, eliminate the quinoa and adjust the other ingredients around it and see if it improves.

      You might also want to consider adding the Core Bowel Treatment products in order to get her on track. You can probably eliminate them once her digestive system is restored. You can view it here Elma: Core Bowel Treatment

      You definitely should be giving her a multivitamin daily like Nuvet to help build her immunity and keep it in check. Don’t over vaccinate and only use NATURAL flea and tick products like Triple Sure.

      I hope you find this helpful and I hope it helps Ella…


  • Debi Ross

    Please discuss the possibility your dog has SARDS with your vet.

  • Laura Rodrick

    I have fed my dog raw ground beef before being frozen. How can I get her tested for the parasites and which ones do I need to test for? Thanks!

    • janie


      Your vet can test for parasites by doing a Biopsy, PCR/Immunohistochemistry, Serum Antibodies and/or Smears. I’m sure it’s costly.

      However, if you’re worried about Neospora Caninum parasite usually found in beef; make sure you freeze the beef for several days before feeding it raw.


  • Patty

    Hello. I rescued a 13 YO Vizsla about 18 months ago. She was extremely thin, lyme positive and had ear infections. I had no medical history or food information. I have always cooked for my dogs and started her on a diet of cooked white meat chicken, a vegetable (broccoli or green beans) and supplemented with a few scoops of an organic canned food (I’ve switched between chicken and turkey and have also tried salmon) that had vitamins in it. I also use Prozyme for digestion and, Ultra Oil for omega 3,6,&9 and Doctor’s Foster & Smith Joint Care Premium tablets. I was able to get 9 lbs. on her and while she’s still on the thin side (around 40 lbs.) she looks and acts much better. We walk about 2.5 – 3 miles a day. She’s such a resilient dog. Typical Vizsla! I moved to FLA about 8 months ago and unfortunately because of the flea problem here I had to start her on Sentinel. I have always used natural products prior but they did not work here and she got fleas. That said she seemed OK. About 2 months ago she began having bouts of diarrhea…Metronidazole helped and she’d be back on track but ultimately the diarrhea would return until it was chronic. Tested for parasites and giardia. All clean. Vet has suggested she has some kind of irritable bowel. Without more invasive tests we don’t know exactly. He put her on Royal Canin GI Low Fat canned. The ingredients in this food go against everything I believe in. The thing is the diarrhea has stopped. But she’s RAVAGED. He told me to just give her more canned food but I am giving her close to 2 full cans a day. I don’t want to increase it. I began adding cooked low fat turkey meat to satisfy her. I also give her Proviable probiotic. The turkey and probiotic are helping and her bowels are still normal. I can’t find any holistic vets near by. I would love to have some input as to what other protein/filler I can add to her food. Would love to get her off the Royal Canin but also am conscious of the fact that at her age I want to keep her going strong so maybe leave it alone? She’ll be 15 in July. And sweeter than honey! Thanks for ANY ADVICE.

    • janie

      Hi Patty:

      God bless you for rescuing this old girl.

      Can I ask which natural flea products you tried? I seriously doubt that more invasive tests aren’t going to give you any real diagnosis anyway. It sounds like the Sentinel is what caused the irritable bowel since her IBS started a few months after starting Sentinel which I don’t like at all.

      Let me know which natural flea products you tried. I would change her diet completely and get her off of the Royal Canin. You can easily feed your own low fat diet with home cooking. Let me know. I might not get back to you until Monday, but I will get back to you Patty.


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