Hi Dr. A. I am going out of town and am boarding my dog at a boarding facility. Without fail, he always gets diarrhea when I board him. I was wondering why he gets sick, and if there is anything I can do to help prevent this for the future.
Hi and thank you for writing in. This is a great question and something I see all the time at my animal hospital. Dogs commonly get a condition called stress colitis. This is just a fancy word for inflammation of the large intestines due to stress, resulting in diarrhea. In fact, stress is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in dogs. Boarding, traveling, new visitors, thunderstorms, a trip to the vet, etc. are all common reasons dogs get stressed and develop diarrhea.
I utilize probiotics are preemptively if I know my patients will be stressed, such as boarding or traveling. A healthy gastrointestinal tract involves a balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria. When there is an imbalance in this bacteria and more “bad” bacteria over rides “good” bacteria, this can result in illness such as diarrhea, vomiting, suppressed immunity, and an upset stomach. By supplementing your pets with probiotics, you are boosting the amount of good bacteria that competes with the harmful bacteria for nutrients and intestinal binding sites, and helps the immune system fight off pathogens. I place them on a pro biotic supplement 3 to 5 days before boarding, or other situations that may be stressful for your pet. For my more severe patients, I will prescribe anti-anxiety medications, or mild sedatives. Speak to your veterinarian whether this may be helpful for your pet. Your veterinarian is always the best resource for medical advise. Hope this helps:)