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Diarrhea (cha cha cha)

Brenda Tobin-Flood


Pet diarrhea may not be a very pleasant topic to discuss, but it’s a necessary one. It’s the second most common pet problem I’m asked about, after allergies.
Pets get diarrhea because their digestive tract has to deal with a huge amount of toxins and bacteria every day, which can stress the gastrointestinal mucosa. Even with its protective barrier, the mucosa can become aggravated from bile, bacteria, undigested food and/or chemicals such as food additives and drugs. The constant state of toxins and bacteria in the gut creates a constantly fluctuating level of inflammation of the gastrointestinal mucosa. This inflammation becomes problematic when it reaches the level of intestinal tract disease, which changes the way liquids and gasses pass through the intestinal membrane and creates the conditions for vomiting and diarrhea.
To protect itself against this, the pet’s body can produce prostaglandins – hormone-like substances that protect and strengthen the gastrointestinal mucosa. But anti-inflammatory drugs – which include drugs often used to treat pain – can inhibit the production of prostaglandins.

One of the best ways to prevent this unhappy spiral of events is to keep your pet on a controlled diet. This can reduce mucosal inflammation by controlling what is in the intestine. In my opinion, an organic and species-appropriate diet is more effective than drugs for controlling inflammation. Drugs can cause unpredictable side effects, and can also prevent peristalsis, which is the involuntary constriction and relaxation of the muscles of the digestive tract. By constantly pushing food through the digestive system, peristalsis protects the mucosa against bacteria build-up, which can be a breeding ground for disease.

What foods can help with diarrhea?

Glutamine - an amino acid found abundantly in proteins. Glutamine increases blood flow and energy in the intestinal mucosa, and helps prevent injury to  the mucosa during chemotherapy in cancer patients.

Pureed organic pumpkin – NOT pumpkin pie filling. Plain pureed pumpkin is an insoluble fiber that absorbs water and attracts excess moisture from inside the colon, thus forming a more solid stool. This fermentable fiber also produces good bacteria, which creates short chain fatty acids that can help a dog’s colon repair itself.

Turmeric (Curcumin) – a spice used for thousands of years. Turmeric helps with inflammation and improves digestion. It’s been shown to reduce or prevent some cancers. Look for a high quality, organic product and consider giving cats about 100 milligrams twice a day. Small to medium-sized dogs can be given 250 milligrams twice a day, and large to giant breeds should get 500 milligrams two to three times a day.

Virgin Coconut Oil – another great food source that helps with inflammation and digestion. It contains a medium chain fatty acid that is metabolized quickly, and it’s known to help fight viruses and bacteria build-up. Simply place a teaspoon or tablespoon (depending upon the size of your pet) into your pet’s food daily.

Lastly, I always recommend a good daily probiotic for pets, such as green tripe. Green tripe is loaded with probiotics and live enzymes, which are great for intestinal health. It can be purchased from a natural pet supply store, either in cans, or frozen as one- or two-pound chubs.

Brenda M. Tobin-Flood, Cert. C.N.

Please fill out the contact form below if you have any questions, or  to request a questionnaire for a wellness program for your pet

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