THE DANGERS OF CHRONIC DIARRHEA
Much more commonly than you’d think, dogs and cats suffer from chronic diarrhea. Though the subject is somewhat uncomfortable and unpleasant to discuss, its implications can lead to the detriment of our animals’ health. There are a myriad of reasons why cats and dogs have chronic diarrhea. Diarrhea is just as uncomfortable for cats and dogs than it is for humans. Some of which require serious medical attention while others can be looked at closely and solved at home. As always, looking up solutions online can raise all kinds of new questions and many new and potentially unfounded fears.
Caring for a dog or cat with chronic diarrhea can be frightening, irritating and disconcerting. There are so many origins of digestive upsets that it can be overwhelming at times. There are several common reasons why your companion animal may have chronic diarrhea. Here are six of them along with commonly helpful treatments:
- MAJOR ILLNESS- the most harmful reason why your cat or dog has consistent diarrhea is that her/his body is responding to an inner body imbalance. Diarrhea is often a symptom of a major illness such as organ failure, severe dehydration, severe inflammation, cancer or other severe illnesses and should be examined by a veterinarian immediately. Once your veterinarian has ruled out a terminal or life-threatening illness, you can begin to look at other possibilities.
- STRESS- Believe it or not, stress is a main cause of chronic diarrhea in cats and dogs. Stress can come from dozens of sources. Particularly if an animal’s person (you) is going through a stressful time in your life, your animal is more than likely going to take on the stress as well. That’s because animals are like sponges and unconsciously take on all of the energies and stresses of their people and environments. (For more information on the companion animal response to energy, read ‘Animals & Energy’ by J Morgan Saifer- Animal Communicator & Medium). If an animal has recently moved homes or has recently experienced any changes in the home such as new family members or animals in the home, new residence or any other changes, this is often a cause of stress. Very importantly, loud music, loud, screaming children; especially ones who are unpredictable and are allowed to climb on them or pull their ears and tail and those children who are not appropriately taught respect and boundaries are a MAJOR cause of stress. These stress sources can cause anxiety within the animal which often exhibits itself through the bowels. To relieve this stress, allow your companion animal a quiet space where they are not disturbed so that they are able to relax, even for an hour or two. It may help to play meditation music while they rest so that they’re able to let go of their anxieties and stresses.
- TOO MUCH FAT IN THE DIET- If you are feeding your companion animal a source of food that has too high of a fat content, the fat will run unprocessed through the body. The fat will be undigested and come out in the stool. Not only will your animal gain weight with high fatty foods, but the animal’s stool will become runny and highly uncomfortable for the animal. Too much fat is bad for the stool. However, this need not be confused with a diet rich in EFA’s (essential fatty acids). EFA’s are a very necessary aspect of an animal’s diet that promotes healthy absorption of water and nutrients. It is crucial to find the balance between healthy fats and unhealthy fats. As an example, kitten and puppy foods are much higher in fat than adult or senior food. This is because kittens and puppies are still growing and require enough fat to stay healthy as they grow. If you were to feed an adult cat or dog kitten or puppy food several days in a row, you would find that they would have diarrhea. It is important to study the breed, age and weight of your cats and dogs to determine what is an adequate percentage of fat in the food they are fed for them to have healthy bodies and digestive systems.
- TOO MUCH PROTEIN IN THE DIET- Much like the issues of too much fat in the diet causing diarrhea, so does a diet that is too rich in proteins. Kitten and puppy foods have higher protein content than do adult and senior formulas. This again is because kittens and puppies are growing- their bones, joints and tissues are still forming which means that they require a higher volume of protein in their diets. Additionally, adult cats require higher protein content in their diets than do adult dogs. If dogs were to eat cat food, they would almost always get diarrhea- this is largely due to the higher volume of protein. Many large breed dogs cannot digest high protein foods as they have very sensitive tummies. It is always important to research the breed, age and weight of your animal and feed protein accordingly.
- NUTRIENT POOR FOOD- Unfortunately in this day and age, many consumers fall prey to poor marketing schemes. Many people listen to their cat and dog food professionals without questioning and researching their own information, many people believe the ads they see in the media. Because of this consumer blindness, many healthy cats and dogs are fed nutrient poor food which, after time, renders them helplessly unhealthy. Just like humans, when animals do not absorb an adequate volume of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, it wreaks havoc on their digestive systems. Malnutrition is a very serious illness than can, through prolonged exposure, cause terminal illness and painful fatality. Symptoms of malnutrition are easily overlooked in companion animals as many become asymptomatic. This means that without a trained eye, symptoms of malnutrition may be invisible. One common symptom is chronic diarrhea. Without the appropriate nutrients required to promote healthy assimilation of food, food goes either improperly digested or undigested at all. When an inadequate volume of nutrients pass through the body and come our as loose stool, this is a telltale sign that the diets that we are feeding our companion animals are not right for their bodies. By researching food labels thoroughly, we can familiarize ourselves with exactly what ingredients our animal companions are eating.
- POOR BODILY ABSORPTION- Sometimes, even if we are feeding our animals healthy choices of foods, balanced diets and clean water sources, they can still have chronic diarrhea. It is more common than we might realize to find kittens and puppies who have been weaned from heir mamas too early. Generally, when cats and dogs are weaned from their mamas too early, their little digestive systems are unable to fully form while growing to adult in the healthiest of ways. When they are weaned too early, they generally do not receive enough nutrients from their mother’s milk to grow into healthy and strong adult cats and dogs. More often than not, this means that their gastrointestinal systems reject vital nutrients. We can very clearly note of their bodies are rejecting vital nutrients when our cat and dog companions have chronic diarrhea. In cases such as these, adding a simple source of probiotics is the best way to aid them in digesting vital nutrients from their healthy food sources. There are several healthy sources of probiotics for cats and dogs; some of which are found at healthy cat and dog food stores, some of which can even be found at human grocery stores. A few readily available sources of probiotics include; canned pumpkin, kelp, goat’s milk, acidophilus, among others. To find a probiotic that is best suited to your animal and proper feeding instructions seek guidance from your local holistic animal care practitioner or holistic veterinarian.
To reiterate, these are only six of many reasons why companion animals have chronic diarrhea. If your animal has diarrhea and you have tried the above ways to treat it, seek veterinary care immediately. Chronic diarrhea is often a symptom of severe dehydration which is leads to kidney failure. Prolonged chronic diarrhea can be extremely painful and often lead to organ failure. Paying attention your you companion animal’s bathroom habits can mean the difference between life, chronic illness or death. Remember to do your research before changing any food or eating habits as changing any dietary habits can be detrimental to your animal’s health
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For those who love their furry companions….