Has your dog been experiencing a lot of stress that it’s already affecting its bowel movement? If your dog starts to have difficulty passing its waste or you notice small red spots on its stool, your dog might be showing signs of stress colitis. In this blog, we’ll discuss its causes, symptoms, and the remedies available to help your canine with stress colitis. 

What is Canine Stress Colitis?

Stress colitis refers to the large intestine or colon inflammation caused by physical or mental anxiety from stress. Just like in humans, stress can have harmful and adverse effects on the health of your dog. This can weaken their immune system and make them more susceptible to colitis and other bacterial infections. 

This inflammation can also be either acute or chronic. Whether your dog has acute or chronic colitis, it can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and frequent defecation.

What Causes Stress Colitis In Dogs?

One of the effects of stress on your dog is colon inflammation. If dogs are put under constant stressful scenarios, their immune system can get severely impaired, making them more prone to getting infected with harmful bacteria. This can then lead to stress colitis.

Common triggers of pet stress include physical distress from major surgeries, injuries, intensive exercise, and other external factors. Emotional stress can also come from moving to new places, having another child or pet in the family, or exposing them to unfamiliar scenarios.

How to Tell If Your Dog Has Stress Colitis?

If your dog’s colon becomes inflamed due to stress, it won’t absorb as much water as it used to. This can lead to intestinal abnormalities and changes in bowel movement.  Here are some signs you can watch out for if you suspect your dog has stress colitis:

Diarrhea

Your pet may have abnormal bowel movements if his digestive tract is affected. For example, his stools may be soft, semi-formed, runny, and loose.  

Rapid Weight Loss

If your dog has chronic diarrhea from colitis, it can lead to weight loss and dehydration. Since your pet is always defecating watery stools, they may lose their appetite due to the uneasiness of their stomach.

Frequent Bowel Movement  

Another sign that he may have colitis is when you notice your canine defecates more often than usual. This can be caused by the colitis or diarrhea that goes along with it.

Blood and mucus in the Stool 

You may also find bloodstains and mucous-like fluid in your canine’s stool when he goes to the bathroom.

Difficulty Releasing Stool

Having an inflamed colon may make bowel movement more difficult. Your dog can strain and linger longer when it’s trying to defecate. This may come with painful sensations as your dog struggles to defecate.

How Do You Diagnose Stress Colitis?

If you suspect your dog has stress colitis, taking them to the vet is your best option since early detection can help your pet recover faster and safer. It can also help prevent other internal conditions and digestive tract complications such as constipation.

While there are no specific tests for canine stress colitis, your vet can still perform several diagnostics to determine the condition of your dog. Along with providing your doctor with the complete medical history of your dog, they can also get a stool sample from your dog and give your pet an x-ray to check its digestive system and know the best approach to treat its condition.

How To Treat Stress Colitis in Dogs?

Your vet may give your dog anti-inflammatory medicine and antibiotics to fight off the bacteria to help manage its colitis. Your canine may also need to take up probiotics that contain bacteria that are good for his stomach. This can also boost your pet’s immunity and resistance. The presence of good gut bacteria may help your dog relieve itself better and counteract the effects of diarrhea.

Home Remedies for Stress Colitis

The good thing about colon inflammation is that, in most cases, it naturally goes away. This means that medication may be optional, and other alternatives may be done to treat this condition. Here are some tips that you can follow to treat your dog’s stress colitis at home:

Introduce Fasting

Fasting helps the digestive system take a break. It can minimize inflammation and help your dog digest its food better. Your vet may recommend putting your dog on a fast for up to 48 hours. Keep them from eating anything within this timeframe to maximize its effect. You can then slowly reintroduce other types of food in their diet so as to not shock their stomach. 

Increase Their Fiber Intake

Dogs with colitis have difficulty absorbing water in their digestive tract. This leads to dehydration, rapid weight loss, and diarrhea for your pet. Increasing the fiber content in their diet can help keep them hydrated and prevent the manifestations of colitis. You can also opt to give your dogs fiber supplements to go along with their fiber-rich diet.

Give Them a Low-Residue Diet

Another healthy alternative that you can do to manage canine colitis is giving your dog a low-residue diet.  Food that is low in residue refers to those that can be easily digested so they can be absorbed into the body better.

This helps reduce the amount of waste it has to pass, which also assists their digestive system. In other words, less residue means the stomach of your dog will have less digesting to do, making your dog eat and move their bowels easier. Examples of foods that are low in residue include:

  • Chicken 
  • Fish 
  • Eggs
  • Rice
  • Vegetables such as squash, carrots, and potatoes
  • Fruits like bananas and melons
  • Healthy oils such as omega-3 and 6 acids

Be sure to check out the TLPOInfo blog to learn more about how you can take care of your dog and treat other conditions that they may have.

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