Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Dogs

Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition characterised by spasms of the intestines, which result in sporadic episodes of diarrhoea, constipation and stomach distress. Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition that can affect animals as well as people. Stress, anxiety and even certain foods can bring on bouts of irritable bowel syndrome. If your dog suffers from irritable bowel syndrome, a trip to the vet or new addition to the family may cause his symptoms to flare up.

Diarrhoea and Constipation

The main symptom of irritable bowel syndrome is sporadic bouts of constipation and diarrhoea. It is normal for a lack of consistency in bowel movements, which may frequently vary from loose and runny to hard and dry. Stool may also contain mucus. The dog may also strain during defecation.

Abdominal Pain

Although it may not always be apparent to the observer, the dog may experience cramping and abdominal pain before or during defecation and at other times as well.


Nausea and vomiting are also common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Vomiting associated with diarrhoea, constipation and general abdominal distress can be an indication of irritable bowel syndrome.


If your dog seems to suffer from excessive flatulence, it could be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome. Gas and bloating are common symptoms of abdominal distress associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

Frequent Elimination

Dogs that suffer from irritable bowel syndrome may experience more frequent episodes of defecation than usual.


A dog with irritable bowel syndrome may experience an urgent need to eliminate and he may not be able to hold it. If your dog has irritable bowel syndrome, it is important to take her out as soon as she indicates that she needs to go, otherwise she may have an accident. If accidents do occur, it is important to realise that the dog may not be able to control her bowels.


Because stress can cause the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome to flare up, provide your dog with a calm, relaxed environment. Foods that are high in fat can affect your dog's sensitive digestive system. Feed him a regular diet rather than scraps from your plate or leftovers. Your veterinarian may prescribe a special diet and/or an antispasmodic medication to alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

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About the Author

Darlene Zagata has been a professional writer since 2001, specializing in health, parenting and pet care. She is the author of two books and a contributing author to several anthologies. Zagata attended the Laurel Business Institute to study in the medical assistant/secretarial program. She earned her associate degree through the U.S. Career Institute.