Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

It is not always clear what causes IBS, but genetics, food allergies, stress and infections can all be to blame. Your dog may suffer nausea or an upset stomach, a loss of appetite, diarrhoea and weight loss among other signs. With the help of your veterinarian, the first step is to determine the cause of the problem and then providing the right solution to correct the condition.

Irritable bowel syndrome is described as a persistent upset within your dog’s stomach or intestines causing unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating and many others.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Average Cost

From 418 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$2,000

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in Dogs

The most common symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, but as these symptoms are seen with many other diseases or disorders, you will need your veterinarian’s help to find out what is ailing your pet. 

  • IBS can affect any breed, age or sex 
  • Your dog may look depressed and not have much energy 
  • If your dog shows a continuing disinterest in food, then there is is a problem 
  • Your dog may have chronic diarrhea, or may strain at times to pass stool 
  • In severe cases of IBS, blood may show in the feces
  • If your dog does eat, he may gulp down the food only to vomit it back up; if this happens continually then your dog needs help
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss and poor coat quality

Types  

  • There can be many types of factors which can trigger the condition
  • Usually associated with inflammation affecting digestion, and described by the symptoms and causes of why it is happening
  • Often environment and diet are the causative effects that trigger this condition, but it may also be an allergen towards a food product that may affect your dog
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Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in Dogs

Inflammation of the lining of the intestine wall is the overall factor for this condition. But important to note is that it can be aggravated and worsened by the following factors. 

  • Bacterial infections 
  • Tumor growth within the intestines 
  • Obstructions within the gut 
  • Environmental causes such as chemicals consumed (young dogs will eat anything) 
  • Diet plays a large part in aggravating the condition
  • Some foods that are good for human consumption are not good for your dog, even though they may beg you to share 
  • Allergy to some foods which has built up over time, and now due to constant exposure of a product,  is having effect on the stomach and intestines of your dog
  • Too much food can cause irritation within the digestive system or irritate an existing sensitivity
  • Too many antibiotics can affect the balance in your dog’s system and trigger IBS 
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Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in Dogs

Your dog will need to visit the veterinarian to enable your dog’s clinical caregiver to determine that they are suffering from IBS and not another disease or condition such as worms or infection. Blood tests and a stool analysis will be performed. Even though tests may confirm IBS the tests cannot reveal what the cause was. Advanced tests, such as radiography, biopsy and endoscopy, may be needed in most cases. 

Your veterinarian will need you to supply a history of your dog’s bowel movements for information such as how often does your dog defecate, and what your dog’s stools are like. If you can take a sample along for analysing it would help. He will also want a record of your dog’s eating habits. He will want to know the foods your dog eats, and how often.  Other areas that your veterinarian will look for are any changes to your pet’s diet, or new product that you are feeding him and special new treats that have been introduced.

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Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in Dogs

There are drugs that can help. Your veterinarian may prescribe antispasmodic medications to assist with calming the stomach and intestines, or anti diarrhea drugs to help bind the stool. Medications are available that will help reduce the gastrointestinal gas and relieve bloating, which will be a comfort for your dog. You may need to change what your dog eats. No more table scraps, as human food is too rich for most dogs. No sweets or biscuits (unless they are dog biscuits). Also check the labels for what is in your dog’s food as some added food colourings or added artificial flavors may cause inflammation in the gut. For many, a hypoallergenic diet will be advised and should be strictly stuck to. 

Some over the counter products such as probiotics may help. Check the market for products that soothe the inflammation or normalise bowel movements. Stress may be a factor or can be an additional irritant, so try to keep your dog’s environment calm, consistent and safe to reduce anxiety. Keeping a record of the things your dog eats and how he responds afterwards is time consuming but is worth it to see if there are any trends developing that will help you to eliminate foods that cause a reaction. This condition can take a while to improve and dogs often suffer from flare ups.

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Worried about the cost of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Ibs treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Recovery of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in Dogs

Home treatment entails giving all medications to your dog that the veterinary caregiver prescribes. These medicines are necessary to calm the inflammation in the gut and to stop the diarrhea so that your dog will feel better and start to heal. Your dog may have been prescribed a bland healthy diet and it is advisable to stick to this for the time stated, which may be lifelong. 

Otherwise known as elimination diets, the veterinary team will reduce your dog’s diet to two or three basic things such as one meat item and perhaps potato. Keeping to a basic diet as directed help your dog’s system to recover, and then you can slowly introduce other foods one at a time and observe over a couple of days to see if your dog reacts to the reintroduction. If your pet is  outside or at the beach, make sure he doesn’t eat anything he shouldn’t. Some dogs are notorious for eating anything, so watch your companion carefully.

Make sure your dog has plenty of fresh clean water for drinking at all times. When you are out and about, take a small plastic container and a bottle of water with you. If you have a puppy, make sure the things he chews on are good for him and don’t break off and get swallowed. With IBS it takes time and careful monitoring of your dog’s diet to enable healing.

IBS can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your dog is at risk of IBS, start searching for pet insurance today. Wag!’s pet insurance comparison tool lets you compare plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Embrace. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Average Cost

From 418 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Yorkie

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Three Years

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4 found helpful

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4 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Gurgling Stomach, Depressed, Skinny Dark Bowel Movement’S

Took Bella in for treatment of a lump on her snout. Vet have pain meds and antibiotic which he said caused her to go into a pancreatitis attack. That was 4 weeks ago. She never had pancreatitis symptoms which what they say is vomiting, dehydration, loss occurs appetite. She never lost her appetite as of now. She just has the gurgling stomach and seems like she is depressed. I’m so confused. We are schedule to have an ultrasound in 2 weeks.

July 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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4 Recommendations

Hello, Some dogs with pancreatitis never lose their appetite. There is a lipase test that most vets run to check for pancreatitis. This would give your vet information on the pancreas. An ultrasound is also great at telling if your dog has pancreatitis or if this is something else. You can discuss all your concerns with your vet. Since they have examed your dog, they may be able to answer your questions easier.

July 30, 2020

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Wolseley

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Yorkshire Terrier

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3 Years

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

What can I feed him as he won't eat rice, rice water or boiled chicken? He has been drinking water the last two days and his last meal was this morning where he ate boiled chicken and rice with water. He was on a raw dehydrated chicken diet previously. He does a downward facing dog for a sustained period. He had one bowel movement today that was firm. He refuses to eat any solids. He moans when I carry him. He has been under a lot of stress due to the fact that a one year old is over 2 days a week and a newborn was here for a month. There was a lot of noise. He was treated 2 weeks ago with meds for IBS and had probiotics for a week. It cleared up but came back yesterday. I will be calling the vet tomorrow but wanted another opinion. Thank you.

June 8, 2018

Wolseley's Owner

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0 Recommendations

You should still try to feed the boiled chicken and rice for the time being, he may not like it but you shouldn’t give him much choice and he will eat it out of hunger and follow up with your Veterinarian in the morning. If Wolseley doesn’t eat that much, he’ll be alright until you see your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 8, 2018

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Average Cost

From 418 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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