Diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, vomiting, and gastroenteritis are occasional irritants affecting all pets and people from time to time.
But for some patients, these problems and other bowel diseases like colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, viral enteritis, and reflux can be either very serious or long term problems that can make your pet miserable. And it's no fun to be the owner of pets with chronic bowel problems either.
Some cats and dogs have immune systems that don't keep the quantity of intestinal bacteria in check. Some are sensitive to certain foods.
And sometimes the medications we use to treat other problems in your pet (like antibiotics, steroids, cancer drugs, anti-inflammatories and pain medications) cause stomach or bowel irritation.
It should make sense to you that what a pet eats is a big factor in bowel diseases. What you eat can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. At any rate, it's amazing how many pets that have chronic bowel disorders improve drastically with the diets we are going to discuss below ... and how often the problem recurs when we stop using the prescription intestinal diets. They really work.
If your pet suffers from bowel disorders, we will consider using special diets designed to help or cure the problem. We may recommend these diets for a short period or as long term management of the disease.
Here are the diets and supplements we recommend for pets with gastrointestinal problems:
Royal Canin HE for dogs and cats:
I'm not quite sure why this high fat diet works so well at helping pets with diarrhea and inflammation of the bowel but it does. This diet is amazing.
High energy density
High levels of dietary fat
Moderate levels of high quality, highly digestible protein Highly digestible
Optimal levels of mixed soluble and insoluble fiber
Enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, FOS, MOS, and zeolite to help optimize intestinal health
Acute and chronic diarrhea Gastroenteritis Viral intestinal disease
Intestinal parasites (e.g., giardia, worms) Diarrhea due to dietary indiscretion
Short bowel syndrome
But because of the high levels of fat, NOT recommended for Pregnant or lactating bitches, Lymphangectasia, Pancreatitis, or Hyperlipidemia Available in dry and canned.
Hill's I/D Intestinal Diet for dogs and cats:
Hill's I/D diet is also good as a treatment for chronic intestinal problems and is my first choice for treating lymphangectiasia, hyperlipidemia, and pancreatitis.
Supplements Helpful In The Treatment of Chronic Bowel Disorders:
Digest-Rite is often effective for chronic diarrhea, gas, and other inflammatory bowel diseases. It contains digestive enzymes (amylase, protease, cellulase, lipase, and pectinase) that break down fats, starches, and proteins ... something that most pets do naturally but something that a lot of pets don't do well ... especially after middle age sets in. And it also contains beneficial amino acids, Yucca schidigera, and probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium thermophilum and Bifidobacterium longum, and Bacticillus subtilus), all of which reduce bowel inflammation, gas, aid in various digestive disorders and often stops stool eating. And even helpful with weight problems. Digest Rite is a flavored powder you spoon over your pet's food once a day.
A probiotic, sometimes referred to as good or friendly bacteria, is a microorganism necessary for a healthy and balanced intestinal tract. The prevailing theory for using probiotics is that there are two types of bacteria found in the intestinal tract, good and harmful bacteria. Good bacteria, or probiotics, ensure good health as they supposedly:
1. Produce natural antibiotics, which can fight harmful bacteria.
2. Regulate and increase hormone levels.
3. Manufacture B group vitamins, biotin and folic acid.
4. Stimulate the immune system.
5. Reduce food intolerance.
6. Increase energy levels.
7. Inhibit the growth of some yeast.
8. Absorb nutrients, antioxidants and iron from food that is eaten.
9. Reduce inflammation.
10. Increase digestibility of food.
Several things can destroy the intestinal bacterial balance in a pet’s gut. Antibiotic and other prescription medications may destroy good bacteria as well as bad. Stress, poor diet, pollutants in the air, water, and environment may also deplete beneficial bacteria.
Herbal Supplements for the treatment of digestive disorders:
There are all kinds of plant or herbal treatments for GI problems that have faded in and out of popularity in various Asian, Indian, African, Aboriginal, and Western civilizations since recorded history.
Personally, I know very little about herbal medicine, and my experience in terms of successfully helping my patients has been hit and miss. One product I like, while maybe not an herbal product is a combination of "natural" ingredients. That product is dia-robe:
Dia-Robe is a flavored paste containing anti-oxidants, high quality* probiotics, pectin to help with diarrhea. But what makes Dia-Robe paste so effective for digestive flare ups is that it contains 4 different digestive enzymes* that break down starches, proteins, cellulose, and fat.
* When it comes to probiotic cultures and enzymes, there is a wide variation in quality. According to the professors of internal medicine that lecture about treating digestive disorders are proponents of probiotics but always warn us that the vast majority of these unregulated products are either outright frauds containing non toxic but ineffective things like corn starch, or more often containing the lactobacilli and other "good" bacteria for the bowel that the label claims ... BUT... these bacteria are inactive. Obtaining high quality bacterial cultures and keeping them alive and active in the container is an expensive challenge.
We use a lot of Dia-Robe for stress diarrhea in both cats and dogs in our boarding and shelter facilities. We use it a lot because because it works.
Fiber supplements: The right amount and right type of fiber in the diet can be very helpful in treating pets prone to diarrhea as well as pets prone to constipation. This is because fiber regulates the amount of moisture in the bowel... Not too much and not too little.
Fiber supplements often help with hair ball problems, irritable bowel syndrome, colon cramps, and gas pains.
Fiber supplements designed to ferment slowly can aid in weight loss programs helping to make your pet feel full
Fiber supplements are also used in the treatment of dogs with diabetes helping to control the "swings" in blood sugar. Click here to go to our page about the nutritional treatment of diabetes.
This page is about the diets we recommend for pets with frequent or chronic diarrhea, constipation, hairball problems, gas, reflux, pancreatitis, and other problems involving the gastro-intestinal tract.
On Other pages we discuss the special diets and supplements use to treat:
FoxNest Hairball Treats:
Hairball Treats are an intestinal lubricant that helps eliminate hairballs and their symptoms, including constipation, straining during a bowel movement, dry cough and vomiting associated with hairballs. It is also a gentle laxative against the formation of hairballs.
Cats really, really like these treats.
Cat Lax and CatNip flavored Cat Lax: These products are toothpaste like tubes full of flavored petroleum jelly and cod liver oil. Nothing is more successful at evacuating the bowel
We recommend Cat Lax when cats or dogs are suspected to have acute GI upset or clogging.
Don't forget to check for parasites at least once a year. Many worms have become resistant to deworming products.
Vetasyl is the brand of fiber we recommend.
It encourages natural elimination without the aid of chemicals, while providing gentle, effective relief from constipation. Often works wonders for pets troubled by hair balls. Good for both cats and dogs.
• A natural remedy for digestive issues
• Returns normalcy to your pet’s elimination
• Convenient, and easy to administer
• Contains 100% natural fiber sources
• Formulated without preservatives, artificial flavors or colors
• No reported side effects
How it works:
Vetasyl is sprinkled over food every day to aid in better digestion. The natural fiber source, which includes psyllium and barley, encourages natural elimination without the aid of chemicals.