IBS and IBD in Dogs

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic irritation caused by inflammation in the large and small intestine of the gastrointestinal tract causing diarrhea and vomiting.  The cause of IBD is unknown but is thought to include bacterial and environmental factors, genetic predisposition and gut dysbiosis (1). Signs of IBD can also include weight loss, flatulence and a change in appetite. Some breeds are more predisposed to IBD such as boxers, French bulldogs and Dobermans (3).

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects the intestinal muscles in the large intestine causing diarrhea and constipation and painful gas.  IBS, a motility disorder is not caused by a bacteria or virus but rather brought on by stress or food intolerances (2).   The symptoms of IBS are similar to many other diseases and your veterinarian will need to rule those out before diagnosing your dog with IBS (2,3).

Diagnosing of IBS and IBD are both commonly done through the process of exclusion and may include:

Routine blood work and urinalysis

Imaging of the abdomen and intestines

Biopsy of the GI tract

Fecal testing for parasites

Elimination diet


IBD in dogs is often treated with immunosuppressives and anti-inflammatories which help to reduce inflammation as well as diet changes.  Additionally, probiotics have are beneficial in restoring and maintaining the GI microflora (4).

Treatment of IBS in dogs can be treated similarly to IBD through diet changes aimed at controlling the gut inflammation.  With IBS antidiarrheal medications and probiotics are used to stop the diarrhea and replenish the gut microflora that can be lost through diarrhea.  For dogs with IBS, its important to control their stress as stress, of the big triggers of IBS.


For dogs with digestive issues, be it from IBS or IBD, probiotics such as Caniotic can be helpful in replenishing the good gut bacteria that can be lost due to the diarrhea.




Malewska, K et al. “Treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in dogs and cats.” Polish journal of veterinary sciences vol. 14,1 (2011): 165-71. doi:10.2478/v10181-011-0026-7 https://journals.pan.pl/dlibra/show-content?id=98919 (1)

Fassbaugh, A. “Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Dogs (IBS)” https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/c_dg_irritable_bowel_syndrome (2)

Collins, B. “Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)” https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments/riney-canine-health-center/canine-health-information/inflammatory-bowel-disease-ibd?utm_content=275071830&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&hss_channel=tw-3042808852 (3)

Kearley, M. “IBD in Dogs” https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/c_dg_inflammatory_bowel_disease (4)

Katja Kalenyak, Anitha Isaiah, Romy M Heilmann, Jan S Suchodolski, Iwan A Burgener, Comparison of the intestinal mucosal microbiota in dogs diagnosed with idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease and dogs with food-responsive diarrhea before and after treatment, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Volume 94, Issue 2, February 2018, fix173, https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fix173