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Best Dog Food for IBS - Here are Our Top Picks in 2021

IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Minichunks Dry Dog Food

IAMS Proactive Health Minichunks Dry Dog Food, Chicken

4.8/5
Whole Earth Farms Grain Free, Natural Dry Dog Food

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free, Natural Dry Dog Food

4.7/5
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food

4.7/5
Certified Veterinary Dr. Veronica Heller

Are you searching for the best dog food for IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is as common in dogs as it is in humans. It is something your furry friend can recover from once you figure out what the underlying cause is.

In most cases, switching to a different diet helps.

Do keep in mind that IBS is a medical condition that requires veterinary supervision. Your dog needs to be on a special diet until the issue is resolved–then, he’ll be able to go back to his regular diet.

In this article, we will review the top three best foods for dogs with IBS and go through a few things you need to know about the condition.

Let’s get started!

A Quick Crash Course: IBS in Dogs

best food for dogs with irritable bowel syndrome

Most people don’t know the difference between Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD). While the latter is a consequence of inflammation of the intestinal lining, IBS is a psychosomatic disease caused by chronic stress and anxiety.

IBS is treatable and even curable.But, if left untreated, it can develop into IBD, which is trickier to treat.

However, if your dog has had IBS in the past, the chances of him developing it in the future are high. So, it is always a good idea to stick to a healthy diet–even though, in theory, your dog can eat any kind of food.

Experts agree that dogs that have had IBS do best on a highly digestible, high-fiber diet.

IBS in Dogs: Let’s Take a Look at the Causes and Symptoms

Experts believe that IBS has the following causal factors:

  • Stress
  • Changes in the neurochemical regulation of the colonic functions
  • Dietary intolerances
  • Low dietary fiber
  • Abnormal colonic myoelectrical activity and motility

    Symptoms of IBS include intermittent yet consistent diarrhea, constipation, mucus, frequent attempts to pass stool. Less common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, bloating, and abdominal pain.

    Here’s How IBS in Dogs Is Diagnosed

    Several gastrointestinal issues must be ruled out in order to diagnose your dog with IBS. 

    Why?

    Well, most GI disorders have similar symptoms, so serious diseases such as cecal inversion, intestinal worms, bacterial or fungal infection, parasites, or intestinal worms. Since IBS and IBD are so similar in nature, your vet will also check for IBD.

    If there’s something wrong with your dog’s digestion, your dog will be vulnerable to developing secondary infections since digestive issues lead to a compromised immune system.

    Here’s the Deal: Dog Food and IBS

    Working with an integrative vet is an excellent choice if your furry friend has been diagnosed with IBS. In addition to addressing dietary issues, the vet will prescribe probiotics and supplements, improving gut health.

    best dog food

    Gut Health and Your Dog

    Good gut bacteria is a natural antibiotic and has antiviral as well as antifungal properties. So, it helps fight invaders along with your dog’s immune system.

    If there’s an unbalance of bacteria, the immune response gets compromised.

    In a study, dogs with IBD have low bacterial diversity as well as distinct microbial communities. Improving this helps improve the symptoms of IBD.

    Why Supplements Are Crucial

    To reduce the symptoms and inflammation, your vet will recommend digestive enzymes–some even recommend nutraceutical and homeopathic medicines.

    You need to ensure that your dog has access to freshwater that’s free from chlorine and fluoride.

    Do Not Restrict the Protein Intake

    Don’t fall prey to outdated research which suggests you reduce your dog’s protein intake. For years people believed that dogs with heart issues should go for a low protein diet as it helps reduce metabolic stress on kidneys and liver. 

    This results in your dog losing muscle mass, which is replaced with fat. 

    As I explained earlier in this blog post, a high body fat percentage in dogs has been linked to heart diseases. So, instead of helping, a low-protein diet was only making things worse. 

    So, what can you do?

    Researchers believe that dogs need at least 25-30% meat-based protein in their diet–especially those with heart issues. 

    Fiber Can Help

    Constipation or diarrhea are the most common symptoms of IBS in dogs. Supplementing your dog’s diet with fiber can help resolve them. Here’s what you can add to your dog’s diet:

    • Green leafy vegetables
    • Coconut oil
    • Psyllium husk
    • Acacia fiber
    • Aloe juice
    • Pumpkin

    Adding some bone broth to Fido’s food will also prove to be a great idea!

    Managing Stress in Dogs With Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    One of the biggest triggering factors of IBS in dogs is stress. So, managing underlying anxiety and stress is a good way to resolve IBS in dogs. Stress affects your dog’s wellbeing in many ways, and can even shorten his lifespan.

    When Fido is stressed, his body will release higher amounts of norepinephrine, the hormone responsible for the fight or flight response. This hormone interferes with your dog’s GI tract motility and alters gut bacteria–worsening the IBS symptoms.

    Go for Antioxidants

    According to research, dogs with IBD have more oxidative stress which is a result of an imbalance between the production of antioxidants and free radicals. By adding more antioxidants to your dog’s diet, you can improve his condition.

    Ingredients in Dog Food that Cause Upset Stomachs in Dogs

    While some dogs can eat almost anything and get away with it– even inedible things like paper, plants, etc.– others experience extreme discomfort due to the smallest changes in their diet.

    Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients in dog foods that may cause your dog to have an upset stomach.

    best foods for dogs with ibs

    Protein

    Certain types of meats and protein sources don’t do well with dogs that have a sensitive stomach. If your dog has been on a lamb-based diet for a while, you should consider switching the protein source to chicken, fish, beef, etc. to see whether or not the issue is resolved.

    Fiber

    As mentioned in the previous section, supplementing your dog’s diet with additional fiber is a good idea. You should go for highly digestible dog foods that contain fiber-rich ingredients such as psyllium husk, beet pulp, or inulin.

    Fat

    High-fat diets are less digestible than high-protein diets. Go for a dog food that doesn’t have oils and fats listed as its first four ingredients.

    The list of ingredients is sorted by weight. The larger the quantity of an ingredient used, the higher up it will be on the list–that’s why people look for meat to be the number one ingredient.

    Good for High-Quality Ingredients

    You should go for dog foods that contain human-grade meat and high-quality sources of carbohydrates. Steer clear of kibbles that may contain filler ingredients like soy, corn, wheat, etc.

    Let’s Talk About Vitamins and Minerals

    Commercial dog foods contain more than adequate micro-nutrients in their formula. So, you don’t have to supplement your dog’s diet with vitamins and minerals. However, if your dog is on a special diet, consult the vet to ensure your  dog isn’t suffering from any deficiencies.

    A Quick Look at The Best Dog Food for IBS

    We hope that by now, you know everything that you need to about IBS in dogs. Let’s take a quick look at some of the best food for dogs with irritable bowel syndrome and figure out which one is the best for your furry friend.

    For this review, we have chosen only the best of the best available.

    Best Dog Food for IBS
    Here’s Why You Should Get It
    Our Rating
    Price
    IAMS Proactive Health Minichunks Dry Dog Food, Chicken
    Contains a blend of fiber and prebiotics, making it highly digestible, Made with farm-raised chicken, High-quality protein source helps build muscle and is easily digestible, Contains L Carnitine to ensure a healthy metabolism, Contains wholesome ingredients
    4.8 Stars
    Check now
    Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free, Natural Dry Dog Food
    Chicken and Turkey are excellent sources of protein, Grain-free, making it a good choice for dogs with IBS, Made in the United States, Doesn’t contain poultry or its by-products, No filler ingredients such as corn, soy, wheat, artificial coloring, flavors, etc.
    4.7 Stars
    Check now
    Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
    High-quality salmon used as a single source of animal protein, Limited ingredient diet for sensitive stomachs, No artificial or filler ingredients used to formulate the kibble, Highly digestible, Contains Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids along with fish oil
    4.7 Stars
    Check now

    Now, let’s take a closer look at each one of these, shall we?

    IAMS was founded by animal nutritionist Paul Iams in 1946 and has since become one of the top players in the dog food industry. They make high-quality pet food that passes strict quality and safety tests before making it on to the supermarket shelves.


    High-Quality Animal Protein

    We feel that this kibble is the best dog food for IBS as it contains high-quality animal protein. This particular recipe lists farm-raised chicken as its number one ingredient, which helps your dog build muscle.

    Wholesome Ingredients

    The kibble contains high-quality premium ingredients to ensure that this is a complete and balanced meal for your furry friend. The dog food is made using no artificial preservatives, filler ingredients, coloring, and flavors, making it a good pick for dogs with IBS and other GI issues.

    Nutritional Breakdown

    This dog food formula contains:

    • 28% protein which is near-average
    • 16% fat which is near-average
    • 49% carbohydrates which are near-average

    It also contains a moderate amount of meat, which is a good idea for dogs with IBS.

    PROS
    CONS
    Highly digestible
    Contains grain
    Made with premium ingredients
    Doesn’t contain filler ingredients
    Offers 100% complete and balanced nutrition
    Excellent for all ages

    Dedicated to making high-quality and nutritious dog food, Whole Earth Farms uses natural ingredients to make complete and balanced meals for your dog. The food is cooked in the United States and doesn’t contain artificial or filler ingredients.

    Grain-free Recipe

    This recipe doesn’t contain any grains, making it one of the best foods for dogs with irritable bowel syndrome. The recipe contains only high-quality ingredients–wheat, soy, corn, and other filler ingredients aren’t used to make this dog food.

    Chicken and Turkey Recipe

    The recipe contains protein from multiple sources—chicken and turkey, which is a safe choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs. The kibble is cooked in the United States in facilities that follow all FDA regulations, making it a safe choice.

    Easily Digestible Meal

    What makes this dog food an excellent choice for dogs with IBS is that it is easily digestible and contains probiotics for a healthy and happy gut.

    Nutritional Breakdown

    This dog food formula contains:

    • 29% protein which is near-average
    • 15% fat which is near-average
    • 48% carbohydrates which are near-average

    The kibble also contains a moderate amount of meat. Plant-based ingredients such as peas, alfalfa beans, and dried potato also have a protein-boosting effect.

    PROS
    CONS
    Contains a moderate amount of meat
    Some dogs lose interest in it after a while
    Easily digestible
    Grain-free formula
    Contains probiotics
    Made in the United States

    The inspiration behind this premium pet food company was a dog named Blue, who suffered from cancer. The company is dedicated to making high-quality pet food using the best ingredients and the freshest meat.

    Single Source of Animal Protein

    The limited ingredient recipe is one of the best foods for dogs with IBD as it uses one high-quality source of protein–salmon, lowering your dog’s chances of having an adverse reaction to the food.

    Helps in Proper Digestion

    This kibble uses carbohydrates from such as peas and pumpkin to provide excellent nutrition as well as help with proper digestion—making it an easily digestible meal.

    The formula also contains flaxseeds and fish oil that provide Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids for excellent skin and coat health.

    Nutritional Breakdown

    This dog food formula contains:

    • 24% protein which is average
    • 17% fat which is near-average
    • 51% carbohydrates which are above-average

    It comes with a moderate amount of meat and micro-nutrients for a healthy coat and skin.

    PROS
    CONS
    Enhanced with minerals and vitamins
    May cause a smelly breath
    Excellent for sensitive stomachs
    Doesn’t contain poultry
    Easily digestible
    High-quality ingredients

    Let’s Take a Look at Some FAQs

    We came across a lot of questions when researching the best foods for dogs with IBS. In this section of the article, we aim to answer all of them in detail.

    Let’s begin.

    Yes, there are various holistic and natural remedies available for IBS. Some of them include:

    • Probiotics: They help restore and maintain the good intestinal bacteria, boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation and discomfort

    • Digestive Enzymes: Enzymes work by breaking down the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in the food so that they get absorbed by the intestine. They improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients while fighting swelling and inflammation

    • Slippery Elm: The herb coats your dogs’ mucous membranes and soothes them as it absorbs the toxins that may be causing the intestinal imbalance

    • L-glutamine: The amino acid works by reducing the inflammation and promoting cell renewal in the intestinal lining

    • Pumpkin: It is an excellent source of fiber which helps absorb excessive moisture in the intestine and reduces inflammation

    • Homeopathic remedies: Nux-vomica, as well as, Arsenicum works wonders for gastrointestinal issues. You’ll need to visit a homeopath or holistic veterinarian to determine whether or not they’ll work for your furry friend

    While boiled and cooked rice can irritate your dog’s bowel, it is usually safe for your dog to consume the grounded rice used in kibble.

    Yes, dogs with IBS can live normal and happy lives with the right treatment and medication. In most cases, the dogs need to follow a strict diet for several months before you slowly introduce new foods in their diet.

    Some dogs need to stay on medication for extended periods of time.

    Yogurt is completely safe for dogs to consume and offers several health benefits–it contains calcium, protein, and other essential micro-nutrients, making it an excellent treat! It also contains probiotics which are great for your dog’s gut.

    In Conclusion: The Best Dog Food for IBS

    Did we help you figure out the best food for dogs with Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a psychosomatic disorder in dogs diagnosed by a medical professional when all other possible causes of gastrointestinal disturbances have been ruled out.

    These dogs need to be put on special, allergen-free diets to ensure the best results.

    In this article, we went through three of the best foods for dogs with IBS and reviewed each of them in detail.

    Certified Veterinary Dr. Veronica Heller

    Dr. Veronica Heller

    Born and brought up in Grand Marais, Minnesota, ever since she was a little girl, Dr. Veronica Heller dreamed of becoming a vet thanks to
    Sruffy, her family pet. She graduated from College of Veterinary Medicine, Minnesota and began her veterinary career in Larpenteur Animal Hospital in St. Paul as an emergency Veterinarian. Since then, she has worked with Minnesota Veterinary Hospital, Small Animal Hospital, and Blue Pearl Pet Hospital. Her interests in the field include preventive medicine, internal medicine, nutrition, and surgery. She’s also a loving pet mother to two cats and a Golden Retriever.