If you're still having a tough time finding a natural remedy for ulcerative colitis, then you've come to the right place. Make sure you follow along because I'm going to walk you through the proper treatment options for this health issue—without reaching for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—in just a bit.
So how about we start things off by finding out what exactly ulcerative colitis in dogs is?
What is Ulcerative Colitis in Dogs?
Dog ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that occurs when the colon is subjected to constant irritation and the small intestine experiences persistent intestinal inflammation. What's really alarming about this health problem is that it can eventually affect the whole digestive tract if not give proper treatment.
While all dogs are prone to having inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis regardless of age and sex, clinical trials show that it may be more prevalent in certain breeds. The Miniature schnauzer, French bulldog, German Shepherd and the Boxer have been seen as more vulnerable to ulcerative colitis.
When your dog is suffering from canine ulcerative colitis, he can be susceptible to gastric pain and discomfort, not to mention difficult bowel movements and even bouts of diarrhea in some instances.
However, there is a possibility that your dog could be in for more serious or even fatal adverse effects if this these ulcerative colitis impacts are shrugged off. Besides being at risk of developing peritonitis, severe cases of ulcerative colitis in dogs can also result in sepsis that can potentially lead to organ failure and even death.
A quick note: ulcerative colitis in dogs is entirely different from Crohn's disease and will require different alternative therapies and treatment options. Next, let’s touch on the classifications of dog ulcerative colitis…
What are the classifications of ulcerative colitis in dogs?
There are two (2) distinct classifications of canine ulcerative colitis, namely short-term ulcerative colitis in dogs and chronic ulcerative colitis in dogs. The former refers to cases where this health issue only lingers from 3 days up to a week, while the chronic condition pertains to those that last for more than a couple of weeks.
Although short-term colitis in dogs is usually deemed as the “mild” variant of canine ulcerative colitis, your pet’s likelihood of being prone to the more serious adverse effects of this disease—such as sepsis and peritonitis—is often attributed to the chronic condition.
Now we’ve got that covered, let’s talk about the different kinds of colitis in dogs…
What are the types of dog ulcerative colitis?
Interestingly, this medical condition is very broad and can relate to different types of canine ulcerative colitis, particularly eosinophilic colitis, granulomatous colitis, lymphocytic-plasmacytic colitis, as well as neutrophilic colitis.
While dog UC symptoms may be the same, what distinguishes one from the other is the type of cell that breaches the colon and triggers inflammation. Regardless of the type your pet may be suffering from, knowing how to properly deal with this inflammatory bowel disease is essential for every dog parent.
At this point of our discussion, let me walk you through the possible causes of ulcerative colitis in dogs…
What Causes Ulcerative Colitis in Dogs?
Although there still isn’t a determined exact cause of dog ulcerative colitis, the following are regarded as the possible factors that give rise to this inflammatory bowel disease:
Food-related allergy response
When your dog’s body is allergic to a certain kind of foodstuff, say chicken or dairy products, his immune system “tags” it so his white blood cells get into action whenever he ingests the same. Sudden dietary changes can also inadvertently trigger this.
While getting rid of bacteria, parasites and viruses that cause negative effects are the main function of your dog’s immune system, there will be times when this natural defense mechanism goes on overdrive.
And when this happens, your pet’s colon and large intestine can get irritated and eventually become inflamed, resulting to inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis.
Trauma or injury affecting the colon
Significant trauma or injury, particularly affecting the abdominal region, can lead to more than just nicks, cuts and similar superficial consequences. If the damage is rather substantial, it can also trigger your dog’s body’s immune response to become overexcited.
This potentially results in the irritation of the bowels and can have a detrimental effect to the digestive tract, leading to the onset of colitis or a similar inflammatory bowel disease.
Bacterial, viral or parasitic infection
Various types of white blood cells make up your pet’s immune defense system. Besides getting rid of unwanted visitors like bacteria, viruses and parasites, they also ensure that infections caused by the same are either immediately broken off or prevented altogether.
However, there will be times when your dog’s immune system sends too much of these white blood cells at a given time, causing a rather counterproductive effect If these excessive surplus of white blood cells end up in the intestinal tract, it could result to acute colitis.
An autoimmune disorder is characterized by a dog’s immune system’s inability to distinguish the difference between cells that it should protect from those that it should do away with. This condition can also trigger an inflammatory bowel disease.
When your dog has an autoimmune disorder, his immune system will target even the healthy and friendly cells in his body. This mix-up can lead to an inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis.
Ingestion of foreign objects
As a temporary storage area for fecal matter, the colon can be prone to various issues when foreign objects like pieces of plastic, crayons and small pebbles that cannot be easily digested—or not at all—end up inside of it.
When this happens, the colon gets overworked and may become vulnerable to inflammatory conditions, which may lead to a case of canine ulcerative colitis in some instances. This can also be triggered by abrupt dietary changes.
Excessive stress and anxiety
Surprisingly, your dog’s hormones that regulate certain physiological functions can become unruly when he is going through excessive levels of stress and anxiety. This is one of the reasons why knowing how to help your pet manage stress is crucial.
These functions include digestion and bowel movement, which the colon and the large intestine have key roles. If this surge or dip in hormones persists, it could result in a "UC flare" that is accompanied by abdominal pain and similar symptoms. Moreover, the lack of regular exercise can also set off severe anxiety.
Contact with a dog suffering from mild to moderate UC
Colitis can be transmitted from one dog to another, especially when the cause of the same is set off by a bacterial or viral infection. If a dog suffering from this condition is regularly in contact with another healthy dog , it is likely that the latter could be prone to developing the condition sooner or later.
Now we’ve finished listing down the possible causes of colitis in dogs, let’s touch on the symptoms of this condition that you need to keep an eye on…
Symptoms of colitis in dogs
Here are the common UC symptoms that you should take note of:
Sudden loss of appetite or dietary changes
Unexpected change in eating habits
Constant pawing at the stomach
Weakness and lack of interest in play
Visible pain when moving his bowels
Runny feces that are sometimes streaked with blood
Sudden weight loss
If you observe that your pet is exhibiting three (3) or more of these UC symptoms, chances are he is suffering from this condition. Giving him immediate and proper care is crucial to keep this health issue from getting worse.
And while we’re on the subject, let’s next discuss the natural remedies that you can go for when it comes to properly dealing with this health issue…
The Natural Remedies for Canine UC
Unlike what a lot of people believe, conventional anti-inflammatory medications are not just your only recourse when supporting your pet during UC. Below are the natural remedies that you can go for when this health problem pops up:
Apple cider vinegar helps keep colon inflammation at bay.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains organic chemicals that have the ability to suppress “proteins and molecular processes that trigger inflammation” in the colon. Besides helping reduce inflammation, these natural chemicals also lend a hand in managing ulcerative colitis similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
To use apple cider vinegar for canine UC treatment, mix in half a teaspoon of ACV with his water. It is crucial to remember that his water bowl should be full for this application so the acidity won’t be overwhelming for your pet. Alternatively, you can also go for a direct oral administration using a spoon or syringe for this approach.
Give this mixture to your dog intermittently and switch to plain water as soon as he finishes an apple cider vinegar-laced bowl. Moreover, make sure you don’t give your pet ACV straight since it is highly acidic and can lead to abdominal pain .
Calendula helps boost the colon’s resilience against oxidative stress.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) shares that the herbal medicine calendula is abundant in compounds that act as anti-inflammatory barriers for tissues against oxidative stress.
Research shows that when these compounds reach the GI tract, they don't just help the colon become more resilient against ulcerative colitis, but also reduce inflammation and other UC symptoms.
To use calendula to relieve UC in dogs, soak its dried flowers in cool water overnight to infuse it with anti-inflammatory benefits. Carefully strain the mixture and give it to your pet as a healthy thirst-quencher.
Chamomile helps keep the gastrointestinal tract stay in good shape.
According to another study published in the NCBI, chamomile tea has been seen to have a wide range of beneficial effects against oxidative stress. It is also deemed as one of the herbal remedies that can help inhibit the onset of inflammation, including gastrointestinal disorders and ulcerative colitis.
When using chamomile to help reduce UC symptoms, steep a handful of its dried blossoms in hot water for at least 15 minutes. Let the whole thing cool down completely. You can give this mixture to your dog as a water substitute or as a natural after-meal colon cleanser and relaxer.
Make sure you refrigerate the unused portion to prevent its beneficial compounds that help do away with intestinal inflammation from breaking down.
Fenugreek is a refreshing treat and colon health food in one package.
Considered as another alternative medicine for UC in dogs, fenugreek contains a type of saponin that can suppress intestinal allergic reaction, alleviate diarrhea, as well as inhibit the onset of ulcerative colitis.
To use fenugreek in relieving canine UC, soak half a teaspoon of its seeds in water overnight and mix them with your dog’s food. You may also directly use dried fenugreek seeds for this application, but they could be a bit stringy for your pet to chew on.
According to BioMedCentral (BMC), ginger has been seen to alleviate the adverse effects of ulcerative colitis in dogs by improving the colon’s overall soundness and resilience. It's also rich in dietary fiber.
To use ginger as a herbal medicine for dog UC, peel and grate a thumb-sized piece and directly add the same with your pet’s food. Make sure you thoroughly mix the whole thing before serving to prevent your pet from eating the grated ginger straight, which can be a bit spicy for his taste buds.
Alternatively, you can also steep a few slivers of ginger in warm water for a few minutes to infuse it with anti-inflammatory properties. You can then give it to your dog as a water substitute while helping reduce UC symptoms at the same time.
Peppermint helps relieve gastrointestinal pain and inflammation.
Research reveals that natural oils extracted from peppermint have been seen to help alleviate the pain and discomfort brought about by the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis.
To use peppermint to treat colitis in dogs, bruise the leaves in a container and let them soak in warm water for at least 10 minutes. Give a teaspoon of this liquid to your pet after every meal. You can think of this approach more as a refreshing drink rather than a herbal medicine for canine UC. This application can help reduce stress in dogs as well.
However, under no circumstances that you give your pet peppermint essential oil since this can be toxic to his body.
Saffron: a proven colitis fighter.
A different study points out that saffron is loaded with a natural chemical called crocin, which helped reduce the levels of inflammatory enzymes. Allowing these enzymes to go overboard can lead to digestive tract problems like ulcerative colitis.
Additionally, aside from helping prevent ulcerative colitis, the crocin in saffron can be also used to keep inflammation-associated colon problems at bay. If neglected, these can potentially progress to Crohn's disease or even colon cancer sooner or later.
To use saffron when dealing with canine ulcerative colitis, add a very small amount of this fragrant spice to your pet’s food. For practicality, always keep in mind that a little goes a long way.
Slippery elm bark soothes the gastrointestinal tract.
According to the Mount Sinai’s health library, the inner bark of the slippery elm contains a natural substance called mucilage that can help lubricate the digestive tract. Besides having a protective effect on the digestive tract, mucilage also soothes inflammatory bowel disease symptoms as well as those found in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
As one of the herbal remedies for dog UC, finely grind the inner bark of the slippery elm and let it steep in cool water for at least ten 10 minutes. You can then mix a small amount of this hydrated bark with your pet’s food or use the infused water as a substitute for his regular drinking water.
Turmeric helps hasten ulcerative colitis recovery.
Studies show that turmeric’s curcumin content has a significant therapeutic effect when dealing with inflammatory bowel disease. "Curcumin therapy" has also been observed to help do away with the usual symptoms of canine colitis such as constipation and stomach upsets.
To maximize turmeric's additional therapeutic advantages during canine colitis, peel and grate a thumb-sized amount and let it steep in hot water for at least 10 minutes. When the mixture has cooled down completely, you can use it as a water substitute for your dog.
Alternatively, you can finely slice strips of turmeric and mix it with your dog's meals. Just like I emphasized earlier with ginger when dealing with UC symptoms, make sure you mix it thoroughly with your dog's food since turmeric’s spicy kick can be overwhelming for your pet when eaten straight.
Water helps restore electrolyte balance.
Another study highlights efficient results when UC patients and irritable bowel disorder or IBD patients were given increased water intakes within a three-week period. The researchers emphasized that this may be due to the added lubrication in the gut that helped inhibit inflammatory risks as well as eased disease severity and relevant symptoms.
To take advantage of water's anti-inflammatory properties for UC in canines, increase the daily intake of your dog by at least half. It is normal if he will be observed to urinate more often during this time. Lifestyle changes like regular exercise will also help significantly.
Yogurt helped reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.
A different study stresses that besides having probiotic benefits, yogurt also helped suppress symptoms of colitis in dogs, particularly when the initial symptoms start showing up. It is also one of the natural remedies for canine UC that can help prevent increased risk of disease activity to the bones and heart.
To use yogurt to alleviate canine UC symptoms, add a teaspoon of this natural probiotic into your pet’s meals. It is crucial to remember that you should only use plain yogurt for this application since flavored varieties can already be classified as high-fat foods.
And while we're on the subject of natural remedies and herbal medicines for colitis in dogs, I'm going to share my favorite holistic product when supporting your pet during this health problem...
A High Quality and Natural Product for Colitis in Dogs You Should Check Out
TUMMYPET is a natural and high-quality product that’s designed to not just support your pet's overall gastrointestinal health, but also promote an ideal digestive system to keep issues like colitis in dogs at bay.
TUMMYPET is designed to calm the pain or discomfort associated with gastric irritations such as stomach ulcers, diarrhea, irritable bowel and more. The antioxidant properties of this premium natural product make it a must-have when dealing with inflammation of the colon, digestive upset and gastric hyperacidity.
Moreover, TUMMYPET is one of the natural treatments formulated to not just deal with the symptoms of UC in canines, but also take care of the core factors that cause GI inflammation and irritation.
Next, let’s touch on the frequently asked questions or FAQ’s regarding colitis in dogs…
Is colitis in dogs life threatening?
The short answer is it depends.
While short-term colitis in dogs may cause a bit of pain and discomfort to your canine family member, its adverse effects typically go away after a few days. However, the situation is different when it comes to chronic canine UC.
Besides typically lingering for up to 2 weeks at a time, it is highly possible that some cases of chronic canine colitis may progress into severe cases of diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
There is even a risk that a dog suffering from chronic ulcerative colitis may be eventually prone to peritonitis, sepsis, as well as organ failure if this health issue is either neglected or not properly monitored. Aside from the right treatment, positive lifestyle changes should also be considered for this health problem.
How long can dogs live with colitis?
Dogs suffering from short-term colitis won’t have a problem getting back to their normal lives after a few days since this condition rarely lasts for more than a week. The adverse effects of short-term colitis in dogs are also not that persistent and extensive compared to its chronic counterpart.
However, a dog suffering from chronic colitis can be vulnerable to pervasive symptoms that may progress into more serious health issues if not given the proper care and attention. This is the biggest reason why having the right natural treatment options like TUMMYPET in your home pet care checklist is an advantage.
Apart from being incurable, dogs afflicted with chronic canine ulcerative colitis also require constant monitoring and treatment due to its constantly recurring characteristic. Making sure to manage stress also plays a key role. Different medications like conventional treatments can also have unexpected side effects.
So that ends our discussion on colitis in dogs. I hope you’ve found the alternatives for conventional treatments with regard to canine UC that I shared informative and useful.
In case you’re worried about your dog being afflicted with a different health problem, make sure you check out our ONLINE HOMEOPATHIC CONSULTATION to really take charge of your pet's health.
Besides being specific to your pet, our ONLINE HOMEOPATHIC CONSULTATION also helps get to the root of his problem instead of just treating the symptoms. It works well for all types of conditions—especially for pets dealing with multiple, chronic or behavioral issues, too.
HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA
Suzie Cyrenne has dedicated more than 20 years of her life in making and improving natural animal health solutions in the global setting.
Being the co-founder of Zumalka, Suzie is a forerunner in enhancing the lives of pets through natural and homeopathic options using the knowledge she has gained from the Classical Homeopathy School in Quebec.
Besides immersing herself in books, personal development and visiting new places, Suzie also enjoys keeping herself in tiptop shape by snowboarding and taking daily hikes with her husband and Zumalka co-founder, Matt Lessard, and their Golden-Doodle, Westin.