Effects of Stress on your Pet

Stress Colitis is a common issue among pets and a frequent reason for treatment with our patients. Just as it is in humans, colitis is an inflammation of the large intestine that results in bacterial overgrowth (an imbalance of good and bad bacteria).

  • Symptoms Include: Soft to liquid diarrhea and frequent attempts to defecate.

  • Stool with blood and mucus. Sudden sense of urgency.

  • Straining to defecate or vomiting reported in some cases.

The causes of colitis include stress, infections, parasites, trauma, allergic colitis, and primary inflammatory bowel disease. Colitis may also occur after ingesting contaminated food, being in contact with infected dogs, or after chronic exposure to a wet environment. Stress colitis is one of the leading causes of diarrhea in dogs; common stress inducers include boarding, holiday guests, moving, fireworks, etc.

Additional causes of diarrhea can be colonic tumors or polyps, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. Should we determine either of these to be the case, then additional testing would be needed.

Treatment consists of a temporary change in diet and medication to resolve the inflammation or infection in the colon. Most pets are back to normal within three to five days.

As mentioned, stress being the most common cause of colitis in dogs, we suggest being diligent in preparing for stressful situations, such as; boarding, holiday guests, moving, fireworks, etc. Preparing your pets digestive system to handle the onset of bacterial overgrowth is key to minimizing the risk of occurrence.

We prefer to address both the mental and physical aspects, as they pretty much go hand in hand, and find that most times natural supplements can be helpful. The key is to begin giving the supplements days prior to the stressful event. The following supplements are natural and need no prescription.

Reducing anxiety/stress with Zylkene works well. Zylkene is a natural supplement that contains casein, a protein in milk, known to promote relaxation in newborns after breastfeeding. Zylkene causes the same relaxing effect on dogs and cats. It’s best to start them at least two days prior to the stressful event.

Regarding the physical aspect, much like we humans, probiotics are a key factor in gut health. We suggest Proviable or Fortiflora, both are pro-biotics that increase the level of good bacteria in your pet’s digestive tract; preventing bacterial overgrowth that causes diarrhea.

If you would like to see if these supplements can improve your pet’s wellbeing, give us a call, we have plenty on hand.

It is important to know that every pet is different, therefore, some pets may need a prescription medication for prevention, which our doctors can prescribe if it’s found to be needed.

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