Colitis is inflammation of the large intestine caused by autoimmune disorders, food allergies and conditions that interrupt proper blood flow to the intestines. Signs of colitis include diarrhea, increased flatulence, abdominal bloating and obvious pain. Colitis is increasingly common in pets. Cats can be affected, but dogs are more likely to have colitis. It is a painful condition that requires prompt medical attention. Dietary changes can speed healing and prevent a relapse.
Diets that are hypoallergenic have helped some dogs with colitis. Hypoallergenic food means the ingredients aren't as likely to provoke an allergic reaction in dogs. Hypoallergenic commercial dog foods avoid ingredients like corn and wheat, both of which are major allergens for dogs. Instead, the companies often use easier to tolerate sources of fiber, such as rice, barley, oatmeal and even sweet potato. If you are purchasing a commercially prepared hypoallergenic dog food, ensure it doesn't have preservatives like BHT, or additives like beet root pulp, which can interfere with normal digestion.
Protein and carbohydrate sources can make a big difference for dogs with colitis. If your vet suspects a food allergy triggered the colitis, she might ask you to undergo a food trial. This involves feeding your dog foods that have novel sources of protein and carbohydrates it hasn't eaten before. For example, if your dog has been on a chicken and wheat dog food, your vet might suggest duck and sweet potato, lamb and rice or kangaroo and barley. If your dog's colitis doesn't improve within a week or two, your vet will likely suggest a new combination.
Some dogs are simply unable to tolerate grains and need a diet composed mainly of protein, along with yogurt, eggs and cottage cheese. Vegetables are a good source of fiber, which is essential to proper digestive health, if your dog tolerates them. Vegetables should be finely chopped or juiced for optimal digestion in dogs. Supplements can enhance this type of diet plan. Fish oil can reduce inflammation of the large intestine. Bromelain and quercetin aid with digesting food, making less work for the dog's inflamed gastrointestinal system. Yucca, boswellia and turmeric can reduce inflammation and all have analgesic properties to reduce pain.