Watching for signs of IBS in dogs

Dogs are considered man's best friend. When they're happy, their tails wag at high speed. When they're curious or interested, their ears perk up. When they're anxious, they avoid eye contact. When they have IBS, their humans will also know that too. The most common signs of IBS in dogs are diarrhea and vomiting.

Like humans, emotional stress can trigger a dog's bout of IBS. Their digestive track may quickly react if:

  • They're anxious

  • There is a change in routine or the environment

  • If their owner passes away or leaves for vacation

Other symptoms to look for include:

  • Mucus in the stool

  • Lethargy or appearing depressed

  • Discomfort when lying on the belly

  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

  • Abdominal pain and sensitivity to touch near the abdomen

  • Constipation

While no one knows what the exact causes are, there are a few potential reasons for IBS in dogs. IBS can be caused by a deficiency of fiber in their diet (such as difficulty digesting grains, having food allergies, or there is an obstruction in the bowel.

A veterinarian should get involved as early as possible if IBS is suspected because the symptoms often overlap with other diseases. Once confirmed, the vet can prescribe antispasmodic medications to calm the stomach and intestines or anti-diarrhea drugs to help harden the stool. There are also medications that can help reduce gas and bloating.

Your pet's diet will need to change once it's been diagnosed to reduce the risk of its IBS worsening. Its important to eliminate “table scraps” because human food can be harmful to their delicate system. Sweets can aggravate their IBS. It may be worthwhile to keep a food log of what your pet consumes for a few days. Note their stools and see if there are certain foods that trigger your pet's symptoms.

To restore the balance of microbes in their GI tract, consider including probiotics into their diet. It may take a few days to get their diarrhea under control, so be patient! IBS can cause dogs to feel a large amount of discomfort so try to keep them as calm as possible. If they have a special blanket they like or a favorite toy, make sure they have it near them.

Dogs are like us in many different ways. They share many of the same emotions and behaviors we have. It comes at no surprise that we experience the same diseases too. It’s important to be mindful of the signs and symptoms of IBS in dogs and to know how to treat them.