What to Know About Stress Colitis in Dogs

Do you know what to look out for when it comes to stress colitis in dogs?

Our dogs can experience physical manifestations of stress just like we can. That’s because stress has a direct impact on the immune system and its ability to fight off dangerous invaders. And while there are quite a few issues that may occur as a result, stress colitis is perhaps one of the most common.

Colitis refers to inflammation in the colon, and has a number of different causes. Here’s what to know about stress colitis and why it happens, as well as the symptoms and home remedies you should be aware of.

Symptoms of Stress Colitis in Dogs

Could your dog’s tummy ache be stress colitis? Symptoms of colitis include:

  • A sudden onset of diarrhea
  • Straining to defecate
  • Loose stools
  • Mucousy stools
  • Frequent need to defecate
  • Straining to defecate and/or experiencing pain during defecation
  • Blood in the stool
  • Changes in the amount of gas your dog is producing

What Causes Stress Colitis in Dogs?

There is a strong connection between the stomach and the brain, including in dogs. And when your dog experiences acute or chronic stress, it can result in an imbalance of good and bacteria in the gut – a condition that can in turn lead to intestinal inflammation and discomfort.

Stress is not the only potential cause of colitis, but it is one of the most prominent. All sorts of situations can stress out our pets, and they don’t always have a way to communicate that stress to us so that we can help them manage it before it turns into something physical. Stressful situations that could lead to stress colitis in dogs include moving to a new home, traveling (with or without your dog), abruptly changing your routine, or bringing home another pet or a new baby.

You know your dog better than anyone, so you know if they are already susceptible to stress and anxiety. If they are, you should also know that this puts them at a higher risk for stress colitis, and that it’s up to their benevolent human – you – to minimize their stress whenever possible and help prevent it from turning into something more serious.

Aside from stress, other potential causes of colitis include diet changes, internal parasites, bacterial infection, pancreatic issues, and food sensitivities, all of which warrant a visit to the vet.

Home Remedies for Stress Colitis in Dogs

Now for some good news: you may be able to clear up stress colitis all on your own, without the need for medication or an invasive procedure. Do call your vet, but know that they may recommend these tips for treating stress colitis at home.

Fast Your Dog for 24-48 Hours

Fasting gives your dog’s digestive system a chance to slow down and take a break, which could be exactly what the colon needs to reset and bring down the inflammation. If you fast your dog, just be sure to take it slow when you start reintroducing food so they don’t eat too quickly or too much.

Feed a Low Residue Diet

Low residue foods are easy for your dog to digest and produce a minimal amount of waste as they move through the body. Examples include fish, chicken, rice, eggs, and certain fruits and veggies such as melon, bananas, carrots, and potatoes.

Feed a High Fiber Diet

A fiber-rich diet can make a very positive difference in your dog’s digestion. High fiber foods that are safe for dogs include apples, carrots, kale, broccoli, pumpkin, and wheatgerm.

Again, always call your vet if you suspect colitis. But do know that relief is often quick and easy, and by acting fast your pup could be feeling like themselves again in no time.

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