Colitis in Dogs: Is Their Diet to Blame?

Do you know someone who suffers from colitis? This is an inflammation of the colon, and it's a tricky condition, simply because the symptoms can be wide-ranging, from mild discomfort to acute pain. Of course, someone with this condition can easily describe their symptoms to their doctor, but this isn't the case with all sufferers.

Dogs can be affected by colitis too, although it's not going to be as straightforward to identify.

The Struggle

The key indication of colitis in dogs is a disruption to the defecation process. Your dog might struggle to defecate, and might do it more often, only producing a minimal amount of faecal matter each time. Their actual faeces will be inconsistent (varying from hard to soft) and can contain blood. Your dog might also display signs of discomfort while defecating, as though the process is painful. 

The Causes

There are numerous causes of colitis, and your dog might have been exposed to a bacterial or parasitic element that has led to the condition. It can also be genetic, related to their kidney function, or can even be the result of an allergic reaction. Your vet needs to determine the cause of your dog's colitis in order to formulate the best treatment plan. This treatment plan is likely to include changes to your dog's diet.

The Diet

Your vet will discuss the type of pet food that your dog consumes, and whether this is the most appropriate diet. It might be that your dog will benefit from a variety of pet food formulated by a veterinary nutritionist. At the very least, your vet will likely recommend a fibre supplement to be added to your dog's food to encourage healthy colon function and defecation. Your vet might also suggest a specific diet in order to assess any food allergies that might be contributing to your dog's colitis. 

The Fasting

In order for a new diet to be effective, you might be required to give your dog's digestive system a short break before proceeding with their new, vet-recommended diet. This involves not feeding your dog for a predetermined period of time, which is usually only a day. Your dog will be distressed and hungry during this time, but their enforced fasting will not cause them any harm. Be sure to keep your dog out of the room whenever you and your family are eating, as this can be an unwelcome reminder of what your dog is (temporarily) missing.

Colitis requires prompt treatment as soon as the condition is suspected, and upgrading your dog's diet is going to be one of your most effective tools in managing the issue.