What are Bowels?
The animal body is like a machine – taking in fuel (food) and discharging waste (urine and solid waste). During the process of digestion, your pet takes nutrients from food and breaks them down into usable components in the body. Digestion and absorption of nutrients first takes place in the stomach and then in the small intestines.
However, fiber and roughage cannot be broken down and digested and therefore passes unchanged through the small intestine to the large intestine (also known as the colon). When this matter first enters the colon, water is extracted from it and is re-absorbed back into the body – the matter left behind loses water and becomes more solid.
This solid waste is then propelled along the colon by rhythmic contractions of the muscles. When solid waste enters the largest part of the colon, known as the rectum, animals get the signal that they need to empty their bowels.
Conditions related to the bowels:
What Causes Bowel Problems?
Animals need to follow a healthy diet – with the correct amount of fiber and roughage. Too little roughage will lead to loose stools (diarrhea) while stools that have too much fiber will be hard to pass and lead to constipation. Regular bowel movements are key to the health of your pet.
Diagnosing Bowel Problems
If your pet is struggling to pass tools – or passing frequent loose, runny stools, consult with your vet about possible bowel problems. If your pet passes excessive amounts of gas, this may also indicate a bowel problem.
Help for Bowel Problems
If your pet has loose stool, your vet may prescribe a medication to help ‘bulk up’ their fecal matter. Similarly your vet may prescribe a stool softener to help loosen hard, firm stools that may be backing up in the bowel.
Keep in mind these medications may come with other side effects. If you suspect your pet may have an irritable bowel, be constipated or suffering from diarrhea – consult with your vet and research different options.
There are many safe and natural herbal and homeopathic remedies to help promote healthy digestion and healthy bowel movements for your pets. Psyllium nigrum husk is a very high source of dietary fiber and has been used for centuries to support regular bowel movements.
Avena sativa has been used to naturally bulk up stool while Aloe ferox is well known for its beneficial effect on digestive functioning and acts as a natural system cleanser. Always be sure to use natural remedies from a reputable source or consult with a natural health consultant.
More Information on Bowel Problems
Tips for bowel health
- Keep garbage cans closed and put away – eating something that your pet is not used to can also cause gas to accumulate, diarrhea or constipation
- Remove your pet’s food after a while if it is not finished. Periods of fasting throughout the day are very important for effective digestion and detoxification.
- Ensure your pet is eating a balanced, high quality diet with plenty of raw and unprocessed food (preferably organic). Flatulence and digestive problems are often solved by a change in diet.