Irritable Bowel Syndrome in dogs and cats treatment options, recommended remedies and helpful information has been provided by certified Master Herbalist Philip Reich and certified Canine Nutritionist Maria Reich. Philip and Maria specialize in medical herbalism and nutrition for animals with conditions like IBS. They approach this situation in a holistic manner with the main priority being the health and safety of your animal.
On this protocol page we will talk about your dog's or cat's IBS treatment options, what happens to an animal with this condition, lifestyle changes that can improve the disease, and supplements & remedies for canines and felines that can help with this holistic therapy to manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life for your family pet with irritable bowel syndrome.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a general term for a group of chronic inflammatory disorders that share many common features. IBS may be referred to as Crohn's Disease or Colitis both of which have similar causes and symptoms. The primary difference is that with Crohn's disease the inflammation occurs primarily in the ileum (the last portion of the small intestine) and with Colitis the inflammation is limited primarily to the lining of the colon (large intestine).
There are a number of possible causes of your dog or cat's Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The more common causes are listed below.
Another condition that could be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome is called osmotic diarrhea. This occurs when certain substances cause excess water to be retained or drawn into the bowels based on the principles of osmosis. Excessive sugar (as with lactose intolerance - a milk sugar) or salt intake can cause osmotic diarrhea as can the use of too much water-soluble molecules, like magnesium or vitamin C, that result in increased fluid retention in the bowel.
Symptoms of IBS in canines and felines are caused by the animal not feeling well due to inflammation in the digestive tract and include:
Your veterinarian will examine your dog for underlying illnesses and assess for dehydration. He or she may take a stool sample to check for the presence of internal parasites, as well as conduct blood tests to identify a possible cause of your pet's symptoms. Other diagnostic tests might include radiographs, ultrasound, cultures, endoscopy and biopsy. The diagnostic tests performed will depend on how long the symptoms have been going on and the severity of your pet's condition. Treatment recommendations will be determined by the results of x-rays or other diagnostic tests that determine if any abnormalities are present in the GI tract.
In our experience it is most common for a veterinarian to prescribe an antibiotic even when the cause of the diarrhea or other symptoms is unknown. Overusing antibiotics in this way is dangerous and leads to imbalances in your dog or cat that can lead to lifelong disabilities as well as the possibility of stronger, antibiotic resistant bacteria strains in the future. Your vet may also prescribe a steroid medication in an effort to reduce inflammation within the digestive tract. This may be necessary for some very short term needs but if the symptoms are not life threatening then other more natural approaches will be more suitable with less undesirable side effects.
Bring your dog or cat to the vet if severe diarrhea continues for more than a day, or if you observe lethargy, vomiting, fever, dark-colored or bloody stools, straining to defecate, decreased appetite or unexplained weight loss. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice your puppy has diarrhea, as it can be an important indicator of serious diseases in young dogs.
The goal of our Holistic IBS Protocol is to support the health and proper functioning of your pet's digestive tract by reducing inflammation, improving digestion and replenishing beneficial flora.* At the same time, in a holistic fashion, we want to address any contributing factors whether these are in your pet's diet, environment or are related to medication side-effects. Since we do not necessarily know the root cause(s) of the imbalance in your particular animal, we do know from our research and experience what are the primary culprits.
Core Recommendations Suggested products are included in the Core Irritable Bowel Package found below.
Our "Core Recommendations" form the backbone of our IBS Protocol. They consist of supplement recommendations that we feel are the most important to provide to your animal companion for this condition. They are displayed as a package and individually at the bottom of this page along with other helpful products from which you may make additional selections. Pet foods can be purchased at your finer, local pet stores. If you desire more individualized attention please feel free to use our Consultation Form to provide detailed information about your dog or cat so we can better help you.
Core Recommendation #1 - Diarrhea Relief Formula
IBS is caused by inflammation in the digestive tract that results in diarrhea and other uncomfortable symptoms. Our Diarrhea Relief contains organic herbs known for their anti-inflammatory benefits as well as soluble fibers and a special bacteria that provide benefits such as:
Core Recommendation #2 - Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics
One of the possible causes of your dog or cat's Irritable Bowel Syndrome relates to the poor digestion of their meals. When molecules like proteins are incompletely broken down into their smallest size (amino acids) they can often cause inflammation in the digestive tract and throughout the body. The enzymes in this formula will help to quickly and completely break down your pet's meals. The probiotics and whole food prebiotics will help to restore a healthier balance of beneficial flora to the digestive tract as well as a stronger mucosal lining.
Core Recommendation #3 - Repair and Strengthen
This formula contains a cold-processed whey protein isolate supplying the important amino acid glutamine, colostrum that provides anti-inflammatory proline-rich polypeptides and healing growth factors that help to repair damaged tissue along with organic Aloe vera that provides soothing, anti-inflammatory and healing benefits. All these nutrients are important to the growth and maintenance of intestinal cells and can greatly benefit dogs and cats with irritable bowel issues.
Whole Food Nutrition
With a condition like Irritable Bowel Syndrome your dog or cat needs the highest value nutrition possible to provide the body with what it needs for maintenance and repair. Because of this we highly recommend a whole food diet, which just means real food not processed. We normally recommend raw food because this is how carnivores, like canines and felines, have evolved to eat and they do best on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. However, some animal's with conditions like IBS may have an initial problem properly digesting raw food so you will have to see what works best for your particular dog or cat. Fortunately there are now many quality premixes to choose from to which you can add your own raw or cooked meat.
Be aware that kibble diets are harder for an animal to digest and most contain many highly processed ingredients that can contribute to inflammatory conditions in the digestive tract and this is the last thing your dog or cat needs at this point. Poor digestion can contribute to the symptoms we generally see in animals with IBS like like diarrhea and even arthritis and allergy issues. In addition, because commercial pet foods contain so many different ingredients that are often poor quality, it can be difficult to determine which ingredient may be contributing to your pet's condition.
If you decide to make a homemade diet please research the proper way to do this and make sure to add a calcium source like our Seaweed Calcium. For more information and some product recommendations read our article How to Feed Your Dog or How to Feed Your Cat that can be found in our Education section.
This is a great remedy to have on hand for those times your dog or cat gets an upset tummy. The organic herbs in this formula work wonderfully to relieve gas, indigestion and nausea that can make your pet feel awful. This can be given daily before or after meals or kept in the fridge to use as needed.
We highly recommend you transition to this product to replace our Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics when your animal's condition has improved. Our Daily Multi Plus is formulated with organic, whole foods that are extremely important to an animal's nutritional needs but are often missing from the majority of canine and feline diets. This special formula provides the enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics, glandulars, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that are so beneficial to the body's daily maintenance and repair needs for healthy aging. In this formula you will find the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants recommended by the veterinarian community for this condition - only in an organic, whole food form!
Many animals we work with are having problems with insufficient stomach acid (hypochloridia). Feeding a kibble diet raises the alkalinity of your pet's stomach resulting in incomplete digestion, but dogs and cats can have problems properly digesting other foods as well. This contributes to many inflammatory issues in the body such as diarrhea, arthritis and allergies. Our Herbal Digestive Tonic contains organic herbal bitters tinctured in organic apple cider vinegar that helps to acidify the gut and stimulate gastric, intestinal and gall bladder (bile) secretions to supercharge digestion. *Liquids like these are usually more difficult to get into cats.
When your dog or cat is suffering with an imbalance there will be an increase in free radical production that can further damage tissue and cause premature aging and possibly other disease. We want to provide your animal with high quality antioxidants to neutralize these free radicals along with other nutrients to aid the body's healing and rebuilding processes. This specialized blend of microalgae is able to travel directly into the cells lining the digestive tract providing nutrients on a cellular level. In addition, nutrients from the microalgae are able to cross the blood brain barrier and the retinal barrier for amazing effects on the brain and eyes as well as the entire body. This is truly an amazing and beneficial supplement we recommend to all of our clients.
If you feel that your dog or cat has come into contact with a microorganism that is causing diarrhea, either because you recently went for a hike or to the dog park, then providing this antimicrobial formula could be of benefit. Our formula contains organic herbs that help to stimulate the immune system while providing antimicrobial activity effective against bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi. When your animal's condition is not considered to be life-threatening, this formula can make a great alternative to broad spectrum antibiotics that eliminate beneficial organisms throughout the entire body possible leading to imbalances like chronic diarrhea or urinary tract infections that can last the lifetime of your dog or cat.
Are the chelated proteinate minerals added to my pet food I use better than a non-chelated form of a mineral? Retrieved from http://www.natureslogic.com/bl_faq/are-the-chelated-proteinate-minerals/
Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
Kidd, R. (2000). Dr. Kidd’s guide to herbal dog care. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.
Messonnier, S. (2001). Natural health bible for dogs & cats: You’re a-z guide to over 200 conditions, herbs, vitamins and supplements. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.
Murray, M. T., & Pizzorno, J. E. (1998). Encyclopedia of natural medicine (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.
Pitcairn R. H., & Hubble-Pitcairn S. (1995). Dr. Pitcairn’s complete guide to natural health for dogs & cats. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, Inc.
Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition (3rd ed.). Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Puotinen, CJ. (2000). The encyclopedia of natural pet care (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Keats Publishing.
Tilford, G. L., & Wulff, M. L. (2009). Herbs for pets: The natural way to enhance your pet’s life. (2nd ed.). Irvine, CA: BowTie Press.
Thibodeau, G.A., & Patton, K.T. (2008). Structure & function of the body. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
My name is Chris and I am a police k-9 officer in North Carolina. I have been a handler for over ten years. My current partner, is a 4 year old German Shepherd who I've had since he was 18 months old. He was recently diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, July of 2017. My vet, who is awesome, suggested an antibiotic to combat this along with a prescription diet dog food. As I stated, love my vet but really didn't want to put my partner on a long term medication. I spent about 7 hours one day in late July researching alternatives to aid in this condition. In my research, I discovered a website and company by the name of The Pet Health and Nutrition Center. I read all the available material and was very impressed. The next day I contacted the company by phone. I spoke with Maria who answered the phone. I explained to her exactly what I was dealing with. Maria and I talked for approximately 30 minutes on that initial call. I placed an order for three products, repair and strengthen, enzymes and probiotics and diarrhea relief. I have also added the daily multi recently. I only used the diarrhea relief for my partner for 2 to 3 days. I will tell you that these products are nothing short of amazing. God sent. Prior to July, my dog's system was perfect. Then this condition was diagnosed. Diarrhea, vomiting and aggressive grass eating. After the supplements I mentioned were added to his meals, my k-9 partner is back to his normal self- even better!! The results happened very fast, 6 to 8 days. Since the supplements are so healthy and natural, I will continue to add them to each meal. I need my dog to perform at a high level. He needs to look good and feel good. There is no doubt that the products from The Pet Health and Nutrition Center greatly aids to the overall health of your dog or cat.