Colitis in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

icon August 11, 2023

Colitis, an inflammation of the colon, is a common gastrointestinal issue that can affect our canine companions. Just like in humans, colitis in dogs can cause discomfort, distress, and changes in bowel habits. Colitis is most commonly used to describe diarrhea or loose stools associated with the large bowel. Large bowel diarrhea is another term for colitis. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for colitis in dogs is essential for responsible pet ownership and ensuring the well-being of our furry friends. If you suspect your dog has colitis, keep reading to find out about the symptoms of colitis in dogs and the current treatment options available.

Colitis in Dogs

Related: Gastroenteritis in Dogs

Types of Colitis in Dogs

Allergic colitis in dogs

Allergic colitis in dogs is a condition where the colon becomes inflamed due to an allergic reaction. This can be triggered by specific foods, environmental allergens, or other substances that the dog's immune system reacts to. Common symptoms might include

  • diarrhea
  • mucus or blood in the stool
  • abdominal discomfort
  • sometimes vomiting

Bacterial colitis in dogs

Bacterial colitis in dogs occurs when harmful bacteria overgrow in the colon, leading to inflammation. This can result from consuming contaminated food or water, or it might be a secondary infection due to an underlying issue. Symptoms may include diarrhea (which might be bloody), abdominal pain, and lethargy.

Bloody colitis in dogs

Bloody colitis, as the name suggests, involves the presence of blood in the dog's stool. This can be associated with various causes, including infections, inflammation, dietary issues, and more serious conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or even tumors. The presence of blood in the stool is a concerning sign and requires prompt veterinary attention.

Stress colitis in dogs

Stress colitis occurs when a dog experiences significant stress or anxiety, leading to inflammation of the colon. Stress can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system and lead to gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea. Changes in routine, travel, boarding, or other stressful events can trigger stress colitis.

It's important to note that these are not the only types of colitis in dogs, and there can be other underlying causes as well. Such as:

  • Parasites: Intestinal parasites like giardia, hookworms, and roundworms can lead to colitis. These parasites interfere with the normal functioning of the colon, causing inflammation and discomfort.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): IBD is a chronic condition characterized by long-term inflammation of the digestive tract. It can lead to colitis and other gastrointestinal issues.
  • Foreign Bodies: Ingestion of non-food items, such as toys, bones, or even pieces of clothing, can cause blockages in the colon, leading to colitis.

How Long Does Stress Colitis Last in Dogs?

In many cases, stress colitis can be acute and short-lived, resolving within a few days to a week once the underlying stressor is identified and addressed. If the stressor is removed and the dog's environment is stabilized, the symptoms often improve relatively quickly.

However, in cases where the stressor is ongoing or if the dog is prone to anxiety, stress colitis can persist or recur. Chronic stress colitis might require more comprehensive management, which could include behavioral modifications, environmental changes, and even medications to help manage the dog's anxiety.

How to Diagnose Colitis in Dogs?

If you suspect your dog may have colitis, it's crucial to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of your dog, including palpating the abdomen, checking for signs of pain or discomfort, and assessing their overall health.

A fecal exam and a blood test are also required. The fecal exam involves providing your veterinarian with feces for a fecal exam to check for the presence of parasites, bacteria, or other pathogens that can cause colitis. 

Blood tests can help assess your dog's overall health, check for signs of infection, and evaluate organ function. Elevated white blood cell counts or changes in blood chemistry may indicate inflammation or an underlying problem.

In more severe or chronic cases, your veterinarian might recommend an endoscopy or colonoscopy. These procedures involve inserting a small camera into the digestive tract to visualize the colon and collect biopsy samples for further analysis.

How to Treat Colitis in Dogs Naturally?

Dietary Changes

You might consider a bland diet of boiled chicken or lean ground turkey with cooked white rice or sweet potatoes. Gradually transition back to your dog's regular diet once its symptoms improve.


Probiotics can help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which may alleviate colitis symptoms.

Puainta™ Probiotic Supplements


Soluble fiber can aid in regulating bowel movements and soothing the colon. Pumpkin puree (plain, canned) or cooked oatmeal can be added to your dog's diet in consultation with your vet.


Ensure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times. Dehydration can worsen colitis symptoms.

Herbal Remedies

Certain herbs may have anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. Slippery elm and marshmallow root, when recommended by a vet, might help alleviate inflammation in the digestive tract.

Exercise and Stress Management

Regular exercise can promote healthy digestion, and stress management is important since stress can exacerbate colitis symptoms. Maintain a calm and consistent environment for your dog.

Small, Frequent Meals

Feed your dog smaller meals throughout the day rather than one or two large meals. This can help reduce the workload on the digestive system.

Identify Triggers

If you notice that certain foods or situations trigger your dog's colitis symptoms, try to identify and avoid them.

Metronidazole, Tylosin, and Sulfasalazine

Metronidazole, tylosin, and sulfasalazine are antibiotics that might also have some anti-inflammatory properties. Courses of these are often tried in the beginning to help resolve colitis, and if it does not improve, then your dog will undergo a diet trial and further diagnostics.

Does Pumpkin Help Colitis in Dogs?

Yes, pumpkin is rich in dietary fiber, which can help regulate bowel movements and support digestive health. The fiber in pumpkin can help firm up loose stools and promote more regular bowel movements, which can be helpful for dogs with colitis.

Does Colitis in Dogs Go Away?

Yes, mild cases of colitis might resolve on their own, especially if the cause is temporary, such as dietary issues. However, more severe or chronic cases might require veterinary intervention and treatment. 

How to Prevent Colitis in Dogs?

Avoid Table Scraps

Human food, especially fatty or spicy foods, can lead to digestive issues in dogs. Avoid giving them table scraps or foods that are not specifically designed for canine consumption.

Parasite Control

Keep your dog up-to-date on parasite prevention and control measures. Parasites like worms can contribute to gastrointestinal issues.





At around 2 to 3 weeks old. Deworming is then repeated every 2 to 3 weeks until they are about 8 to 12 weeks old. pyrantel pamoate and fenbendazole

Adult Dogs

In general, dogs are often dewormed every 3 to 6 months to prevent common internal parasites like roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms.

Albendazole, pyrantel pamoate, praziquantel, and milbemycin oxime.

Heartworm Preventives

monthly  Abamectin B1, milbemycin oxime, and moxidectin.


Puainta® Topical Deworming Drops to Kill Fleas & Ticks in Dogs/Cats

Abamectin B1 treats and prevents 7 veterinarian-recommended pests, including fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, Mites, roundworms, threadworms, and lice.

  • Topical application to kill or remove fleas, flea eggs, ticks, lice, and even mosquitoes on skin.
  • The drug penetrates into the capillaries from the skin to the whole body and treats Mites, roundworms, threadworms in the body.
  • Prevents heartworm.
  • Strong and lasting protection: Prevent pets from mosquito or tick bites and lice or flea infestations, with application once a month.
  • Abamectin B1 30-day treatment and prevention protects dogs and cats from fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and lice.
  • Kills fleas within 12 hours of application
Puainta® albendazole for dogs

Buying albendazole online is convenient and Puainta products are effective in killing various common parasites in pets such as roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. 

  • Effective deworming, esp. the parasites inside pet’s body, including roundworm, tapeworm, nematode, hookworm, whipworm, trichinella.
  • Tapeworm Medicine for Dogs/ Cats.
  • Schistosoma lung is a parasitic organism called trematode, which is quite common in dogs in North America and is called Paragonimus kellicotti. Albendazole is widely used to treat this infection.
  • Puainta® Albendazole Anthelmintic tablets will remove the common tapeworms, Dipylidium caninum and Taenia taeniaeformis, from dogs and puppies.

Avoiding Toxic Substances

Keep your dog away from toxic plants, chemicals, and other substances that could potentially lead to gastrointestinal issues if ingested.

Regular Exercise

Regular physical activity supports overall health, including gastrointestinal health. However, avoid vigorous exercise right after meals.


Make sure your dog always has access to clean and fresh water. Proper hydration supports overall gastrointestinal health.


Colitis in dogs is a common gastrointestinal problem that can cause discomfort and distress. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options is essential for ensuring the health and well-being of your furry companion. If you notice any signs of colitis in your dog, consult a veterinarian promptly to provide appropriate care and relief from their symptoms.



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