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Treating Pets Naturally for Colitis

by Darleen Rudnick, B.S.W., M.H.N., Certified Holistic Nutritionist

If you have a dog or cat suffering from colitis, you will want to read this article on how to control colitis naturally using a high quality diet, life style changes and supplements.

Colitis refers to inflammation of the large intestine (colon) and can be caused by a primary disease, irritation of the bowel, antibiotic use, parasite infestation, ulceration, lack of enzymes, and many other health reasons.


Symptoms of Colitis include:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Diarrhea

  • Dehydration

  • Abdominal bloating

  • Increased intestinal gas


Two Major Types of Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis.  Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disease of the colon, the large intestine, which is characterized by inflammation and ulceration of the innermost lining of the colon. Ulcerative colitis affects only the colon.


Symptoms include:

  • Progressive loosening of the stool

  • Bloody stool

  • Abdominal cramps

  • Severe urgency to have a bowel movement

  • Skin lesions

  • Pain in the joints and failure to grow properly


Ischemic Colitis.  Ischemic Colitis refers to inflammation caused by interference with the blood flow to the large intestine.


Symptoms include:

  • Severe abdominal pain

  • Fever

  • Vomiting

  • Bright red blood in the stool

  • Diarrhea

  • Muscle pain


Treatment for Colitis

Because Colitis can be like Irritable Bowel Disease and can be triggered by many factors, it is important to have a thorough examine done by a veterinarian. If you decide to seek natural methods, For Pet Health recommends a consultation with our on-staff nutritionist.


consultation will include a personalized diet and holistic program suggestions, all custom-tailored to your pet's personal needs. This is particularly imperative with pets suffering from Colitis.


The recommendations outlined in this article are designed for pets that have been diagnosed with Colitis but does not apply to every pet.


Feed What is Right for Your Pet
Good nutrition is essential in any chronic disease but especially when treating pets naturally for Colitis. The most important thing to remember when choosing a food for your pet is to choose a food that is right for YOUR pet, not what other people think is right. Raw diets are great, and home cooking is wonderful, but if your pet doesn't do well on them, you should not feed them.


When choosing a dry food avoid synthetic preservatives such as butylated hydroxyanisol (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), propyl gallate, propylene glycol and ethoxyquin and additives. Avoid animal fats (found in many pet foods), high fat treats, processed foods, spicy foods, sugar and dairy products as these foods may aggravate the problem.


Eating the wrong combination of foods can trigger symptoms. For example, when proteins and grains are eaten together, the grains start to ferment and cause gas. Also, as the combination slows the process down, proteins start to putrefy and cause toxins to be released into the system. Therefore, you may need to eliminate grains.


In many cases, feeding a very simple diet helps. Diets that seem to be beneficial are chicken and one vegetable, or ground meat and one vegetable. Some pets only do well when brown or white rice is added to the diet. In other cases, a dry food containing beet pulp is beneficial because it hardens the stool.


Rule Out a Parasite Infestation.

A parasite infestation is a very common problem with dogs and cats. Symptoms of an infestation are -- vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, inability to absorb nutrients, bad breath, skin problems, chronic ear infections, yeast infections, foul odor to the stool, and many other minor and major ailments.


GIARDIA does lead to Colitis and many other illnesses! Giardia is a gastrointestinal infection caused by a microscopic parasite called Giardia lamblia. This is a common parasite causing gastrointestinal illness. It is found in the stools of many animals, including rodents, dogs, cats, cattle, and wild animals.


A Giardia infection can be acquired when your pet ingests food or water that has been contaminated with the parasite. It then multiplies in the small intestine. The infection can also be spread person-to-person when hands, which are contaminated with an infected person's stool, are brought in contact with the mouth. Swallowing as few as ten parasites can cause the infection.


Symptoms of Giardia are diarrhea, foul, greasy stools, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, weakness, and weight loss. These symptoms are like Colitis, so it is essential that your pet be tested for this parasite. This test is normally not done by your veterinarian, so you need to request it. This simple and inexpensive test can save you hundreds of dollars and invasive testing.

Giardia is usually diagnosed through a laboratory examination of a stool sample. Your veterinarian will forward the stool sample to a laboratory that will use a microscope to look for the parasite. Several stool samples need to be examined to detect the parasite.


If your pet is diagnosed with Giardia, always thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before meals, before preparing food, after having a bowel movement, after changing diapers, and after playing with your pet.


Eliminate Toxins in the House, Yard and on your Pet

Because Colitis can be triggered by stress, it is important to put as little stress on the body as possible by avoiding toxins that may deplete the immune system.


Avoid the following:

Carpet powders

Air fresheners

Plastic bowls - All plastics release some undetectable fumes, especially when heated. This out-gassing means the fumes can pass into the foods that are served or stored in the bowl or container. Stainless steel or glass bowls are recommended.

Cheap ceramic bowls - Cause the same problem as described above.

Fumes from all bathroom cleaners

Fumes from bleach

Fumes from dusting products

Toxic flea products - If the product states "Hazardous to Humans and Domestic Animals", it is hazardous to your pet.

Toxic shampoos

Toxic flea collars

Paint fumes

Paint chips from lead-based paint.

Rawhides - Many are dipped in a solution of salt and bleach

Cheap painted pet toys

Red food dye


For Pet Health does not recommend discontinuing traditional medications cold turkey or discontinuing them at all. This is your decision. We highly recommend you work closely with your veterinarian. Although medications can be very effective, some may cause side effects that can eventually lead to other symptoms. Many pet owners are now looking into other methods for treating Colitis. The correct supplements are very effective in treating Colitis.  


Exercise Your Pet Daily

Exercise increases the efficiency of the immune system and helps with muscle development, digestion and overall health. A well-conditioned body will work and perform better and increase the ability to carry blood and oxygen to muscles. Exercising burns fat and increases your pet's metabolism.

Be sure your pet gets at least an hour of exercise every day. However, age, health and weather should be taken into consideration when exercising. Do NOT over exercise older pets, or pets suffering from hypoglycemia, epilepsy, heart problems, during bouts of diarrhea, etc. Pets suffer from exhaustion just as humans do.


Conclusion and Tips for Treating Colitis

1. Feed what is right for your pet.
2. During bouts of diarrhea, Pedialyte and baby food may help. Plain yogurt replenishes the intestinal tract with friendly bacteria and does help in some cases. Rice can be helpful for bouts of diarrhea, but this is not true in all cases.
3. Large breeds that eat off the floor from a bowl are forced to gulp down their food and this may cause bloating and slow down digestion. Raising the food bowl for them eases the digestive process and causes less discomfort.
4. Feed small, simple meals throughout the day.
5. Test for Giardia and other parasites at least 3-4 times.
6. Eliminate any food or supplement which seems to upset the digestive tract or aggravate the symptoms.
7. Exercise your pet regularly as this helps with digestion.
8. Give supplements to strengthen the immune system.
9. Avoid using toxins on or around your pet.
10. Offer only bottled water.
11. Last, it is important to keep a positive attitude, as your problems and your stress level will affect your pet.

Contact For Pet Health today and get your loved one on the path to good health.  

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