Diet for a Dog with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

by Hope
(Plainfield, Indiana)

Reader Question: Best diet for IBD in dogs

My 9 year old Bichon has been diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel disease. In the past 1 1/2 years, it has been controlled with diet - changing to a different protein and food made from hydrolized protein.

This summer, he has had a setback. He is currently on Prednisone and Metronidazole, however he is not eating much at all, is losing weight and having trouble maintaining his blood protein level.

Is there a more natural diet that I could put him on to get him to eat something? Something that I could make at home? What about soy protein- is this a possibility?

Thank you for your help.

Suggestions from our Veterinarian on a IBD dog diet


I am sorry to hear about your Bichon’s setback. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can be difficult to treat. If your dog were my patient I would first want to make sure that his diet consisted of a prescription, hydrolyzed diet ONLY (no treats, table scraps, flavored medications, etc.). Some dogs respond to a particular hydrolyzed food better than others, so if you’ve switched products, I’d go back to the one that controlled his symptoms initially. Several manufacturers make hydrolyzed diets with soy as the only protein source (Purina HA and Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d) and I have had good luck with both of those food.

I do not usually recommend a homemade diet in cases of severe IBD. The hydrolyzation process seems to be very helpful and there simply is no way to mimic it at home.

Prednisone and metronidazole are not enough to control symptoms of IBD in all dogs. Budesonide, cyclophosphamide, chlorambucil, and azathioprine would all be reasonable choices. Talk to your veterinarian about what treatment options might be best for your dog.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

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