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 54 comments
  • Robert Muller
    Reply

    Hi I live in the United Kingdom my Pomeranian cuddles is 3years old has been diagnosed with irritable bowel disease his stools are firm sometimes hard but his stomach and body is bloated all the time very badly he is on a steroid tablet and liquid for anti regurgitation and his diet is Eukanuba dermatitis FP plus we cook him fresh chicken breast and give him that with his hypo allergenic dry food I feed him 2 small meals daily but I’m concerned about the bloating and sometimes he is in discomfort can u help me please

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Robert:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your little one. First, I would definitely take him off Eukanuba and just cook for him or use this PURE brand dehydrated dog food. You simply add hot filtered water. Here’s a link: Dehydrated Dog Food UK.

      I would also include a little aloe vera for him 1/2 hour before each meal. This will help with his digestion.

      Janie

  • Moira Fay
    Reply

    Hi. I just came upon your article as well. I have two senior dogs, a mother & daughter Shitzu (9 & 10) that came to me via a Louisiana rescue just over a year ago. Lulu, the mom, has had surgery in the past for bladder stones and was on Science Diet u/c and my vet recommended keeping both on that since Bonnie (the daughter) had also been being fed the same since she liked it. Occasionally, Lulu in particular scoots in a circle and the vet said that is indicative of anal glands but when she checked Lulu’s were were not oily but sludgy. Other than keeping an eye on it, she said the only option was surgery, which we would all prefer to avoid. She doesn’t scoot all the time but when she does that circle scoot thing, sometimes she does seem very uncomfortable. Her stools are generally very firm, with occasional soft oily ones, which I can usually trace to a change to her diet. Do you have any suggestions that would be compatible with her urinary issues? Thank you.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Moira:

      First, let me start by saying “thank you for rescuing”.

      Second, I would NEVER, EVER have surgery on the anal glands. This is a very, very dangerous surgery. Many dogs don’t make it. These issues can be helped with the right diet typically and Science Diet isn’t the right diet; in fact, it’s a terrible food. When the dog has anal gland issues, it’s usually involving food, but can also have to do with environmental allergies.

      Your dogs need real whole food. Did you take a look at my cookbook? You have little dogs and this would be simple for you. In your dog’s case, you can use ANY of the recipes in the cookbook regardless of which illness the recipes fall under. Your dog is definitely very uncomfortable. The recipes can be used for both conditions involving the anal glands and bladder stones.

      The book will also share recommended supplements that are needed when home cooking and I urge you to use them. Here’s a link to the book and if you have any additional questions, let me know. I hope this helps.

      Link to cookbbook

      Janie

  • Amanda Rogers
    Reply

    Hello,

    I just came upon this article and I am getting some hope that I may actually be able to help my baby. We have a house full of rescues, (2 dogs and 2 cats) and the dogs came from some special process that brings animals from the southern states to the northern ones because it’s easier from them to be adopted out there I guess. Well, Daisy is just about 4 and is a terrier/retiever mix. When we adopted her, we took her to the vet and had everything tested, she was fine. A year later upon her testing, she tested positive for heartworms. We got that treated and she’s tested negative 3 times for it so we are in the clear there. She’s always had a bit of a sensitive stomach, but for some reason its gotten bad and I’m worried. We had opened a new bag of dog food (Wellness Complete Health deboned chicken formula) and her diarrhea/constipation began the next day. I couldn’t understand what was going on since it’s been what she has eaten since we got her two years ago. After a week of the tummy issues, I took her to the vet and she had her stools tested and a parasite was found so she was treated and everything seemed fine.
    A couple of days after she finished all of her meds, her breath started getting really bad again and sure enough, the stool problems started again. This time she even vomited with it twice. After having it again for a couple of days she started acting slower, would eat but didn’t act excited about it, those kinds of things. She was on white chicken and rice for food along with Foriflora daily. We went back to the vet, no parasites this time and was put back on the meds. Her breath got better, her stools weren’t perfect but better, and she seemed like her old self again. Once again, about a week of being off her meds, her breath changed and just yesterday the diarrhea and vomiting started. I called the vet and they are switching from the chicken and white rice bland diet to scie ce diet for sensitive tummies. She won’t put her on any meds other than pepto for 3 days and this new food. I’m at a loss for what I should or shouldn’t be feeding her now and worried that this new food isn’t going ti help her problem. All of this has happened with a new vet because we moved from Wisconsin to Indiana. She was very highly recommended by people and her reviews are the best around town, but I still don’t know what to do. I feel so helpless.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Amanda:

      I’m sorry for the delay. Let me gather my thoughts and I’ll send you an email tomorrow or Saturday.

      Janie

  • Patty
    Reply

    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
      Reply

      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.

      Janie

  • Laura Rodrick
    Reply

    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
      Reply

      Laura:

      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.

      Janie

  • Debi Ross
    Reply

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


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