Natural remedy for IBS; useful for dogs with colitis too
My business, Flax Farm produces linseed foods mainly for humans but I have also found it useful for dogs with colitis. People with all sorts of common health issues, such as arthritis, IBS, hormone imbalance find a little linseed gives a lot of relief. I have seen linseed do wonderful things.
I have seen it helping people with their IBS but as a dog owner I was particularly excited to discover it worked like magic on my dog’s colitis and completely changed my attitde to feeding dogs. I have told other people about it and they report it has helped their dogs too.
Having discovered an alternative that’s amazingly different
to treatment with steroids I thought writing this post might help other people’s dogs overcome this terrible condition.
Steroids were a disaster
. When my collie had colitis I went down the steroids, boiled chicken/fish and rice route and it was a constantly recurring battle of cleaning up accidents of diarrhea and trips to the vet. It must have been miserable for her. Her immune system was so impaired by the steroids that when one day she got something in her eye it enabled such an aggressive infection to set in you could see it eating a crater into her eyeball, which had to be removed. In spite of everyone’s best efforts the colitis eventually, aged 18, it beat her and she had to be put down.
Alternative treatment for colitis with linseed
After hearing the boiled fish/chicken and rice advice for years the thought of a very high fibre diet for a dog with colitis seemed counter-intuitive.
A few years on I took on a rescue Chesapeake Bay Retriever bitch, called Ruby, who had colitis. Based on my Flax Farm experience of helping people with colitis and IBS I decided to do things differently this time.
Colitis: ground linseed quick results
I quickly discovered Ruby was prone to constipation and appeared to have mega-colon/rectum and was unable to strain effectively. She duly started a bout of colitis. In a dog that size colitis is a big problem, and an “accident” takes a lot of clearing up!!
I simply gave her a generous couple of tablespoons of ground linseed made delicious in a bowl of homemade bone broth. Within 24 hours she was fine. She then went back on her normal food plus ground linseed and I often added raw sauerkraut and there was no recurrence of the colitis.
I thought maybe it had just been fluke. However when I took her off linseed either she got colitis again or became constipated and then got colitis. But what I learnt was so long as I gave her ground linseed she didn’t get constipated nor did she get colitis no matter what I fed her or she found for herself and oh boy, did she find some choice treats! She used to get hold of some really revolting rotting delicacies in the woods but never was problem for her digestion! On linseed she had a text-book poo and totally resilient good digestion.
I migrated her onto a raw diet and the linseed prevented the bones from constipating her. The only time I didn’t give her linseed was when she was eating deer carcasses complete with guts.
In time the tone of her colon/rectum had obviously recovered and she was able to “push” again when needed.
How to feed linseed (flax)
It is best to introduce ground linseed slowly, starting with a pinch and increasing over a week or even two to the recommended daily helping. Do not stop current veterinary treatment but if the linseed seems to be working you may find you can reduce the dose and your dogs may eventually may be fine without drugs, do discuss with your vet. Always add plenty of liquid to meals containing ground linseed. Flax Farm produces a range of linseed (flax) products for horses and dogs.
Linseed encourages natural gut flora in dogs
In humans we know linseed develops a healthy gut flora, which means lots of big, soft, helpful bacteria which encourage the gut to work. From my experience with my own and my customers’ dogs it seems it works the same for dogs.
Raw for dogs: Linseed is a good addition to a raw diet
When dogs or wolves eat the way they are designed, killing and eating whole animals large and small they enthusiastically eat the guts with all the fermenting vegetation. When we feed raw we usually have to feed a rather sanitised low fibre version, without fur, feathers, guts, digestion-contents of mushed up plant and bacteria.
Linseed seems to replicate that natural missing fibre and naturally prebiotic (provides the right environment for development of good bacteria) .
Omega-3 for a more natural balance
Of course linseed helps in another way with omega-3 which is anti-inflammatory.
Modern production of meat relies largely on grains which contain omega-6, this means it is hard to get meat with a healthy omega-3-omega-6 ratio. Linseed(flax) is one richest sources of omega-3 and puts back into the diet the omega-3 which should be there if all the meat in the dog’s had come from animals which graze naturally.
This is helpful for a healthy the immune system and stops it over-reacting so badly and calm down the gut’s reactions. It is also strengthening and healing. Omega-3 tends to help the body react the way it should.
I give credit to the omega-3 in linseed in helping Ruby’s recovery of her mega-colon, it also gave her a lovely shiny coat which isn’t easy on a crinkly brown coat.