What Are the Symptoms of IBS in Dogs?

Although irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is uncommon in dogs, canines can still develop the condition.

This causes them to experience digestive symptoms such as vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea.

The causes of IBS in dogs include anxiety, poor diet, and environmental stressors.

Stress management is a leading treatment for IBS in dogs.

The prognosis for canines with IBS is generally good.

Are you curious to know more about Irritable bowel syndrome in dogs? 

What are the symptoms of IBS in dogs

How IBS diagnosed and treated?

This article is a perfect guide for all dog owners who desire further explanation on IBS.

So, let’s delve into it.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) In Dogs?

Before we answer the question “what are the symptoms of IBS in dogs?”, let’s first understand what exactly is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a large intestine condition in dogs that leads to uncomfortable symptoms in the digestive system.

This condition is often stress-induced, however, there are other causes.

Your dog may end up with diarrhea and constipation due to the abnormal functioning of digestive system.

However, IBS won’t cause any long term damage, but the symptoms of IBS can be unpleasant for both dog and owner.

Most people confuse this condition with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is quite different.

IBD is an inflammatory digestive condition; diagnosis includes analyzing damaged intestinal cells.

On the other hand, IBS is a functional illness, meaning this condition has a non-physical cause, such as stress or diet.

IBS is uncommon in our canine friends, and the diagnosis is done on the basis of exclusion.

That means your dog is diagnosed with IBS when all other possible causes of their symptoms have been ruled out.

What Are the Symptoms Of IBS In Dogs

What Are The Symptoms Of IBS In Dogs?

So, what are the symptoms of IBS in dogs?

Well, the primary symptoms of IBS in dogs are diarrhea and constipation.

Sometimes, the diarrhea is quite watery, having very little form to it.

These symptoms can be chronic with repeated episodes.

During these episodes, dogs experience gas, a painful abdomen, and borborygmi (a sound of gas bubbles in a dog’s stomach).

Often these symptoms resolve after your dog has opened their bowels.

However, vomiting and diarrhea can be symptoms of some other diseases or disorders.

Therefore, seek your veterinarian’s help to figure out what’s wrong with your pet and get a proper diagnosis.

Some additional symptoms of IBS in dogs include:

  • Sudden urge to defecate
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Straining to defecate
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Poor coat quality

IBS in canines is a chronic condition, with intermittent flare ups, which means it can come and go over a long period.

What Causes IBS In Dogs?

Now we have answered the question, “what are the symptoms of IBS in dogs?” you might be wondering what causes it and why does it happens?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a motility disorder in canines.

That means the dog’s digestive muscles don’t contract in a regular pattern.

The normal rhythmic movement of intestinal muscles is called peristalsis, which results in food movement through the digestive system.

In IBS, the intestinal muscles don’t function normally; either they move too fast or too slow.

This problem doesn’t occur all the time, but when your dog is exposed to certain triggers.

Stress is the most common cause of IBS in your canine friend.

1. Stress

Stress is the main trigger of IBS in canines.

There might be various reasons behind your pet’s stress.

Common causes of stress include:

  • Changing houses
  • Separation anxiety
  • Lifestyle changes
  • The addition of a new family member
  • Unique fears.

In addition, dogs that work are more prone to IBS.

2. Diet

Sometimes, poor diet can cause IBS in dogs.

This condition can flare up if your pet suffers from anxiety or stress or does not take enough fiber.

Foods that are high in fat or long periods without eating can also trigger IBS in dogs.

It’s better to get veterinary help regarding any dietary changes for your dog.

3. Other Causes

Besides stress and diet, some other factors also result in irritable bowel syndrome in dogs. These include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Food allergies
  • Intake of human food
  • Bacterial infections
  • Consumption of chemicals

What causes IBS in dogs

How Do Vets Diagnose IBS in Dogs?

A veterinarian will diagnose IBS, performing diagnostic tests to rule out other illnesses that can may be causing your dogs symptoms.

These diagnostic tests include:

  • Stool Culture
  • Blood Analysis
  • Urinalysis
  • Imaging
  • Endoscopy
  • Intestinal biopsy
  • PCR testing for viruses

Besides examination, your veterinarian will go through your dog’s medical history and ask questions regarding your dog’s deification pattern, diet, and environmental stressors.

IBS won’t harm your dog’s normal intestinal cells; therefore, diagnostic tests will give negative results.

Although there is no single test for IBS, the diagnosis is usually based on a process of elimination.

How To Treat IBS In Dogs

How Do You Treat IBS In Dogs?

The ideal way to treat IBS in dogs is to figure out the cause and remove or reduce it.

Sometimes, it’s challenging to identify or control the source.

If it is stress related, your vet will make a plan with your help that reduces your dog’s anxiety and helps manage the symptoms of IBS.

In addition, your veterinarian may prescribe medications like antispasmodics to relieve IBS symptoms.

Drugs like fluoxetine or clomipramine are prescribed if your dog experiences severe anxiety.

However, non-prescription options are preferable for some dogs to reduce their stress and anxiety.

Veterinarians recommend high-fiber diets or fiber supplements to improve IBS in canines.

Diets like Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d or Royal Canine Gastrointestinal High Fiber are rich in fiber, preventing diarrhea and constipation, and make your dog’s intestinal movement normal.

Numerous over-the-counter supplements help calm your dog.

Calming aids for canines contain ingredients such as natural herbs, tryptophan, L-theanine, and CBD.

Collars like Adaptil, diffusers, and Pheromone sprays help relieve stress and anxiety in dogs.

Always discuss with your vet before feeding any supplement to your dog.

Due to toxic ingredients in commercial supplements or human products, your dog might end up with nasty side effects.

What Is The Prognosis For Dogs With IBS?

The prognosis for canines with IBS is excellent.

The aim of treatment is to manage symptoms and treat the cause.

Most dogs take a few weeks to respond to treatment and fully see the benefits.

However, dogs need to continue with their treatment even after symptoms have resolved.

It’s crucial to monitor your dog closely for returning symptoms.

How To Prevent IBS In Dogs

The key to prevention is first identifying the cause of your dogs IBS.

Reducing stress in the household is one way to prevent IBS in canines.

However, identifying the signs of fear, stress, or anxiety at an early stage can help you address the problem before your dog develops symptoms

Your veterinarian may prescribe anti-anxiety medication for your dog.

Or they may recommend behavioral modification if behavioral issues, anxiety, or fear are severe.

A specialized diet also helps prevent IBS in dogs.

For dogs having diarrhea, a healthy, bland diet is suitable; however, sticking to this diet for the long term is advisable.

Your veterinarian will also recommend reducing your dog’s diet to two or three basic things.

Limiting your dog to a basic diet helps him to recover from IBS.

Then, slowly introduce other foods one at a time to your dog’s diet and notice how a dog reacts to the reintroduction.

Make sure to provide plenty of fresh, drinking water to your dog all the time to keep him hydrated.

If you go outside, remember to keep a plastic container or water bottle with you for your pet.

Also, some canines are notorious for eating anything when outdoors, so it’s better to keep an eye on them.

IBS is not always preventable, so it is about providing the best possible support for your dog.

Wrapping Up

So, What are the symptoms of IBS in dogs?

IBS is a condition that effects a dogs digestive system.

Although uncommon, IBS in canines is induced by a variety of causes, in particular it is associated with stress.

This can result in vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and other symptoms.

Treating IBS is primarily focused on identifying your dogs triggers and taking preventive measures to keep your dog symptom free.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Food Triggers IBS In Dogs?

If your dog is not consuming a fibrous diet, it becomes hard for their digestive system to function properly.

The type of foods that trigger IBS will vary between dogs.

Wheat, corn, soy, chicken, beef, and dairy products are common IBS-triggering foods for dogs.

What Does IBS Poop Look Like In Dogs?

IBS can result in diarrhea or constipation in your dog.

Their stool may be hard or pencil thin if your dog is suffering from constipation.

Generally, the diarrhea is watery, having some form to no form and is offensive smelling.

How Do Vets Test For IBS In Dogs?

Advanced tests like biopsy, endoscopy, and radiography are required to rule out other causes of your dogs symptoms.

Once other causes have been excluded, a diagnosis of IBS can be made.

Your veterinarian will ask you to give a history of your dog’s symptoms and any triggers you may have identified.

A veterinarian will help you make a treatment plan depending on your dog’s needs.

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