Digestive System: Colitis Dog Food
Dog Food and Nutrition QuickLinks
Dog Food and Management of Colitis:
Colitis is inflammation of colon or large intestine. Major symptoms of this disease include vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. In this situation, it is always recommended to control the gastrointestinal symptoms by withholding food from an affected dog for 24 – 48 hours. Withholding dog food for said period will keep the bowel at rest, reducing the chance of diarrhea and vomiting. Reduced symptoms indicates that food intolerance was in fact the problem
Once the affected dog is able to tolerate food, this implies that any signs of diarrhea or vomiting are resolved. initially, soft food containing water combined with high fiber should be provided followed by a prescription diet. To hasten the recovery process, the diet should contain high fiber, essential carbohydrates (fructose) and probiotics. Once the dog feels better, it should be kept on a combination of food and select supplements to prevent any chance of recurrence.
Components of Colitis Dog Food:
Usually a colitis dog food diet is formulated to control symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting or constipation. Moreover, a prescribed dog food can also be used for the long-term management of canine colitis, as drug administration, especially anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids are not recommended for long periods of time. The following is an overview of some of the recommended components of canine colitis food, which can help to treat and prevent canine colitis.
- Fiber: Fiber is added to
colitis dog food for two major reasons. First, it
controls the symptoms of diarrhea by helping the dog retain water in
tract, thus ensuring that fecal content passes through the body
and easily. Second, fiber helps to promote the growth of micro
flora or microbial organisms which are helpful in
regulating the digestive mechanism.
Fiber absorbs bacterial toxins while the fiber helps the fecal content remains intact, which keeps the digestive physiology normal. In this context, fiber is highly recommended, not just during the initial management of colitis but also it is recommended for use after recovery.
Carbohydrates provide energy to the body. They are converted into a
form, i.e. glucose that is absorbed into the blood stream and is
transported to every cell in the body. Colitis dog food should contain
additional carbohydrates. These may be in the form of glucose or
fructose (generally fructose is recommended). Fructose is relatively
complex, and not all of it is absorbed into the blood stream.
fructose passes into the large intestine, where it is consumed by micro
flora or friendly bacteria, which will help to promote digestive
smoothness in the large intestine. Fructo-oligo-saccharides also help
reducing the population of harmful bacteria, by acting on cell
Probiotics are an organic product comprised of microorganisms. In fact,
a form of micro flora, which help in the growth of microorganism in the
stomach, small and large intestines. They help to maintain normal
physiology of the body. In the large intestine, where the population of
micro flora declines due to the inflammatory response, probiotics help
to recover these levels. The most convenient source of probiotics is
yogurt which can be added to commercial dog food.
In some colitis cases, dog food is considered to be the main cause of the problem. It is usually treated by eliminating the main causative components of commercial dog food. Commercial dog food contains preservatives, lactose, dyes, contaminants etc. that can cause canine colitis, or may act as promoters for colitis symptoms in dogs. For effective treatment, these components should be either eliminated or reduced in any prescribed colitis dog food. This is done by eliminating the disease causing components gradually, then confirming causative component, which would then be restricted.
This exercise of elimination and confirmation usually takes around 8 – 10 weeks and during this trial period, the use of no other supplements, meals or feasts are recommended.
Supplementation and Therapeutics:
Fiber is a basic food component for colitis. Dog food should be used as an effective preventive measure as well. Regular dog food can be supplemented with fiber rich components, which will not only keep the digestive physiology normal, but will also help to prevent any recurrence of colitis. At home, adding 1 – 4 tablespoons of coarse wheat bran to regular dog food can act as effective supplementary fiber. Another fiber choice is Metamucil with 1 to 5 teaspoons per day per the direction of your veterinarian. One prescription diet with higher levels of fiber is Hill's Prescription Diet w/d
In some cases, to speed up recovery or to control symptoms rapidly, some anti inflammatory drugs and motility modifiers can be added to the dog food. These should be added with the advice and prescription of a veterinarian, but only if the dog is able to tolerate the food. There is also a natural remedy available called RunnyPoo Relief. that may also help relieve symptoms of diarrhea.