What is stress colitis in dogs? We all know the adverse effects of stress on our bodies, resulting in weight gain, headaches, etc. Similarly, stress can also be harmful to animals. Dogs can also suffer from stress due to many reasons.
Stress can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria, weaken the immune system, cause Diarrhea, or develop stress colitis in dogs.
What is Stress colitis in dogs?
Colitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the colon or large intestine. Colitis can be acute or chronic, depending upon the health condition. Stress colitis is acute colitis that can be cured with time. Abrupt changes in diet or infection with parasites are the common causes of acute colitis.
Any form of stress in your dog puts it in danger of getting stress colitis. Any form of stress can cause an overgrowth of gut bacteria, decreasing the benefits. There are microorganisms like bacteria that live inside the stomach and intestine of dogs. The growth of bacteria can lead to diseases like Diarrhea.
What is the Main Cause of Stress Colitis?
The leading cause of stress colitis in dogs is the growth of harmful bacteria. The stressor that causes colitis can result from physical stress such as surgery or exercise. Psychological stress such as moving to a new home adjusting with a new owner can also cause stress colitis.
No specific breed is known to develop stress colitis, so notice your dog’s behavior if you are a pet owner. Dogs that remain anxious all the time are more likely to get this condition than others.
What are the Symptoms of Stress Colitis in Dogs?
Being a pet owner means you notice the daily changes your dog goes through. You might know about some weird dog habits like male dogs start spraying, biting, scratching, etc.
It would help to notice when your dog is going through some stress. Their colon becomes inflamed during the stress period and cannot absorb water. If it stays long, this condition can cause Diarrhea and another disease.
Symptoms of stress colitis in dogs include:
- Straining to defecate
- Small amounts of blood in stool
- Mucous in stool
- Loose or soft stool
- Digestive issues
- Stomach disorder
Effects of stress on your pet
Stress can be caused by any reason as simple as disruption in daily routine. Once your pet becomes accustomed to a habit, it is difficult for them to adjust to a new one which can cause stress. Some other stressors may include loud noises, traveling or even boarding, etc.
Sometimes meeting a new family member can also cause stress because your dog needs time to adjust to the new arrival. This stress can lead to severe problems if not appropriately addressed. If your dog is stressed for a long time, you might notice all the changes in its health and behavior.
Here are some effects of stress on your pet.
1. Weaken the Immune System
When your dog is stressed, the body releases cortisol hormone as a part of the flight and fight mechanism. The hormone helps the body deal with this stress by directing blood flow to muscles. If their stress is chronic, cortisol can cause severe problems like weakening your dog’s immune system.
Your pet cannot fight any infectious disease with a weak immune system, which is a dangerous condition. A weak immune system can also cause demodectic, which demodectic mites can cause an infection.
2. Loss of Appetite
Stress can also cause loss of appetite in your pet. Prolonged stress can cause weight issues due to less intake of food. If a dog is on a poor diet, the lack of nutrition can also cause loss of appetite. Loss of appetite might cause irregular eating habits. Some dogs start eating paper when they don’t get enough food.
When dogs suffer from stress, they start eating non-food items that are highly harmful to their health. If your dog is stressed, make sure to provide him with a healthy and nutritious diet.
Adrenaline can help your pet to survive an immediate danger. During stressful condition body of your dog release adrenaline which is another fight or flight hormone. This hormone increases the heart rate and blood pressure, giving temporary benefits but downsides.
Adrenaline decreases the blood flow in the intestine and stomach, resulting in soft and loose stool or Diarrhea in dogs. Stress-induced Diarrhea comes on quickly, not followed by usual symptoms like fever, vomiting, etc.
4. Inappropriate Urination
Stress can also result in issues in the urinary tract and cause inappropriate urination. A typical example of stress is urination in response to fear. The release of stress hormone will relax the bladder sphincters for urination.
Besides inappropriate urination, stress hormones can also cause defecation anal gland expression as a defensive mechanism. This mechanism might save your dog from a predator, but a prolonged stress condition is not suitable for its health.
5. Behavior Problems
If your dog is acting strange and you notice some strange behavior, it might be the stress. Regularly keep an eye on your dog’s stress symptoms are very clear, and they first appear in the behavior. They sometimes escape and hide in their little corner or become aggressive.
Many behavioral changes such as pacing, panting, licking, scratching, etc., result from stress. Your dog might start digging in your yard because of the stress. You have to look out for symptoms and consult with your vet immediately.
How You Can Diagnose Stress Colitis in Dogs
There is no specific test to confirm stress colitis in the dog. If you notice the symptoms of stress in your dog, then take him to the vet for a physical examination. Your vet knows your dog’s history, and by the symptoms you describe to him, he can diagnose your dog with stress.
To confirm the stress, your vet can also order a test on your dog’s stool to check for parasites. This test requires your dog’s stool sample, and if there is any parasite, it will appear on the microscope.
Another way to diagnose whether your dog is under stress is to look at the history of recent stressful events like shifting your dog into a boarding facility, changes in the environment, etc.
How You Can Treat Stress Colitis in Dogs
Stress colitis is a self-limiting disease that can be resolved on its own without any treatment, but here are some treatment options for your dog.
A few diets and medications can help your dog control this situation. Treatment of stress depends entirely on the severity of symptoms. If your dog is mildly dehydrated in stress colitis, then consult your vet. He will either recommend hospitalization or suggest a fluid.
2. Home Cooked Diet
A home-cooked balanced diet like white rice and chicken is suitable for your dog if they suffer from any digestive issues due to stress. Use this diet during their stress period, and once symptoms are resolved, you can get back to your dog’s regular diet.
Probiotics contain beneficial gut bacteria and can restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. Probiotics may also help shorten the duration of stress in your pet. Don’t use probiotics without consulting your vet.
Prebiotics encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, a treatment often recommended in case of stress colitis in dogs. Many intestinal diets contain prebiotics, and your vet can also suggest one depending upon the stress symptoms of your dog.
The vet often prescribes antibiotics in case of acute colitis. The most common antibiotic that is used is metronidazole. Recent research shows that antibiotics have other harmful health benefits, so don’t use antibiotics on your pet without consulting a vet.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can you prevent stress colitis in your dog?
If your dog has a history of stress, you can use some simple tips to prevent stress colitis in your dog. You can make a list that might trigger a stress-type response in dogs and stop it. Ensure your dog is getting a balanced diet full of nutrients and has an active lifestyle. You can use a calming pheromone spray and always have a prescribed anxiety medication if needed.
2. What Diet can you use if your dog is suffering from Stress colitis?
Every dog has a different stress level, so their symptoms vary. When it comes to diet, provide them with protein, dietary fat, dietary fiber, etc. Consult with your vet and set a diet chart for them full of necessary nutrients and vitamins. Proper hydration will keep your dog active and fit.
What is stress colitis in dogs? Stress colitis is a common condition that causes stress in your dog for various reasons. The stress can occur if your dog has a stress history have a recent change in diet or environment. There are many effects your dog might face if he is going through a stressful period. If you don’t pay proper attention to your dog’s condition, it might hurt your dog’s health. Consultation with the vet on time will save you and your dog from any inconvenience.