IBS Treatments for Dogs Rayne LA
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Ask Daisy—Treat IBS in Dogs
We suspect our black Lab Dexter may have irritable bowel syndrome. How can we tell, and how can we treat it naturally?
On behalf of dogs everywhere, let me first thank you for being so observant of your Dexter’s health. And second, let me tell you that—although it might not be evident when you’re cleaning up after his messes—you’re in luck: Of all the conditions Dexter could have sprung on you, irritable bowel syndrome (call it IBS for short) is one that can be well managed through a holistic approach.
Perhaps you’ve noticed your Dexter hasn’t had much of an appetite, suffers from diarrhea, constipation, or even vomiting, and has gradually lost weight. These are all possible signs he has IBS, a condition marked by inflammation in the lower intestinal tract (large bowel). As the symptoms of IBS can be similar to those of a more serious condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease, you’ll need your veterinarian’s help to determine if, well, you’re barking up the right tree. “A diagnosis of IBS is made when all other causes of large bowel diarrhea are ruled out,” says my trusted friend Tom Cameron, DVM, who notes other possible causes of IBS-like symptoms, such as intestinal parasites, ingestion of unusual foods, internal organ disease, food sensitivities, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and bacterial or fungal infection.
Once you’ve confirmed Dexter’s symptoms are from IBS, a good way to begin treatment, Cameron tells me, is to get rid of any inferior dog food and switch over to fresh foods and high-quality whole-food supplements to help restore digestive function and replace important nutrients. See if you can slip him some herbs, such as alfalfa, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, peppermint, and slippery elm; they all help reduce inflammation, stimulate healing, and improve digestion. You can also supplement Dexter’s kibble with fiber, glucosamine, L-glutamine, rice bran, and digestive enzymes.
After modifying his diet, pay attention to your dog’s temperament. I’m not necessarily saying he needs to lie down on a therapist’s couch, but a nervous, high-strung dog is a typical IBS candidate. Events such as traveling, boarding, and the loss of a beloved family member can be quite stressful for us dogs, so give Dexter two to six drops of stress-relieving flower essences (or a blend like Rescue Remedy) three times a day to curb his anxiety. “IBS can be a difficult disease to control,” says Cameron. “A holistic approach is best because IBS can have both physical and psychological causes. Internal health, emotional health, environment, personality, diet, health history, vaccination history, and other factors all need to be considered.”
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