Inflammatory Bowel Disease In Dogs – What Causes It?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease In Dogs

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Some dogs naturally have a sensitive gut. They may get loose motions often or start vomiting and sometimes that may break out into a fit of vomiting and lose motions once every few weeks. Inflammatory bowel disease in dogs is quite severe, but it can be managed with the right care and medication.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease In Dogs

IBD is not a disease but rather a symptom of an allergic reaction to something. It should not be confused with irritable bowel syndrome. Inflammatory bowel disease occurs as a sign of physical intolerance towards something; irritable bowel syndrome is more of a psychological reaction.

Symptoms of IBD include chronic vomiting or chronic diarrhoea for months.

What Causes IBD In Dogs?

Three things can cause Inflammatory Bowel Disease in dogs. It is either a severe parasitic infection, a deficiency or an allergic reaction (usually to a particular protein).

Inflammatory cells invade the delicate intentional lining. These cells usually react as an allergic-type response to either the parasites or the particular protein.

Prolonged IBD can be very painful for the dog. If it is left untreated, it can make your dog very dehydrated and malnourished.


Usually, with IBD, doctors suggest blood and stool testing to get an accurate result.

However, if the small intestine or the upper part of the large intestine is affected, stool samples will not reflect how severe the condition is.

In this case, doctors will suggest an exploratory surgery to find out the part of the intestines that is most affected and collect tissue samples.


If your dog has severe vomiting and diarrhoea, the vet may give some medications to soothe the inflammation. This will provide them with temporary relief. Then the doctor may prescribe deworming tablets and antibiotics.

Sometimes, this is enough to treat IBD for many dogs. In this case, routine deworming may be all it takes to keep it at bay.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to IBD, and usually, a simple blood test is enough to diagnose it.

For dogs that have severe allergic reactions, doctors may prescribe Immunosuppressants which they may have to take for the rest of their life. 

Some dogs are just more prone to allergies than others, and there is nothing you can do about it. But since medication can have side effects, it is best to find out the allergy-causing agent and get rid of it.


Depending on the report, you will have to change your dog’s diet accordingly. In most cases, doctors may ask you to increase fibre intake and reduce fatty foods.

Adding lean white meat to the diet may also be quite beneficial because it is easy to digest and stimulates the production of many digestive enzymes.

If IBD is an allergic reaction to a particular food, you may have to do a little investigation to find out which meal they are allergic to.

Temporarily take them off every formula and give them boiled chicken and mashed potatoes with a bit of water. Don’t add anything to the chicken soup (not even turmeric). Give this to your dog for a week. If your dog starts to have IDB again, change the chicken to another meat and repeat the process.

Keep adding new ingredients every week to find out what is causing the allergy. This is a slow and painstaking process, but it is worth the effort. By the end of it, you will know what is causing the allergies. Now you can eliminate the allergy-causing agent from their diet.

Once you know what is causing the allergy, you can opt for other single meat recipes that don’t contain the allergy-causing agents. Also, stay away from products that have artificial colours and flavours because, more often than not, these chemicals lead to allergies.

Sometimes a good quality dog food is all it takes to solve the problem.


For many dogs, changes in the diet and medication become a permanent change for them. You will have to be careful with what you feed them, but with proper care and medicine, you can manage their IBD.

Unfortunately, in severe cases, Inflammatory Bowel Disease keeps recurring despite all the medication and care. It is one of the leading causes of intestinal cancer in dogs.

Keep an eye on your dog if they have IBD and always be careful with new foods and formulas because many of them can trigger their IBD. Also, make sure that IBD does not hamper their fun and happy personality.

Take them out on walks and make sure they have an active lifestyle. Keep them hydrated and well-nourished, and you will keep their IBD under control.

Does your dog have IBD? What have you done so far to keep it under control? Let us know in the comments section below.

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About Dheepakh

About Dheepakh

Dheepakh is a dedicated pet parent. His love for his dogs turned him into a pet food enthusiast. He has dedicated all his life to understand pet food nutrition and is eager to learn everyday.

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