Needing Advice for My Shih tzu's Constipation and Narrow Intestines

by Cera
(West Palm Beach, Florida)

I Don't Feel So Good

I Don't Feel So Good

I recently adopted an 8 year old female shitzu and she is chronically constipated. Took her to vet, did Xrays, and Barrium. Vet said her intestines are very narrow. He will relook at all exams and call me back tomorrow. Has anyone had a Shitzu who has or had very narrow intestines? Want to know what treatments you took if any. would appreciate any info anyone can send. thanks.

Karen Says:

I feed my dogs food with sweet potatoes as one of the ingredients. try some & see if that helps. I think it might be the roughage that helps.
I use taste of the wild dog food. Hope this helps.

Anonymous Says:

feed my tzu pumpkin every day. It is supposed to keep them regular. He loves it too. I get the organic and sometimes the stores own brand. I hope your tzu feels better.

Our Answer

The general diagnosis of colitis often includes inflammation of the colon which can be interpreted as narrowing of the intestines; as the inflammation worsens, the intestines become narrower. According to Pets WebMD, signs of colitis include prolonged straining and squatting which can be mistaken for constipation. But instead of being hard and dry, stools might be loose and mixed with mucus and blood.

Without knowing exactly what the results of your veterinary tests were I can only speculate. An inflammatory disease called prototheca colitis or one caused by parasites or an immune deficiency may be helped by antibiotics. But if your furbaby has narrowing of the intestines caused by irritable bowel disease a change in diet can be extremely helpful.

And I’m speaking from first-hand experience on this one.

Coincidently, two years ago I also adopted a female Shih tzu that was eight years old at the time. She’s now ten and in the last two years her mild colitis symptoms were getting worse. Or they were getting worse until I gave all three of my doggies a major diet overhaul. Gypsy was straining a lot when she defecated, often had messy stools filled with mucus and frequently vomited. Her vet suggested a wheat-free diet which seemed to help at first.

A couple of months ago I decided to feed my dogs only homemade food – except for their high-quality, grain-free dry food. I reward them with crunchy cracker treats I make myself from peanut butter, apple and toasted oat bran and each night at dinner they get a chicken-yam meatball with their kibble.

Yam, sweet potato and pumpkin are all recommended for dogs that have difficulty digesting, such as those with colitis. “Bulk laxatives” like pumpkin or bran help to soften the feces and encourage regular elimination and they’re safe to use indefinitely without unwanted side effects.

In the first two weeks of our dietary change I saw a major improvement in Gypsy’s symptoms and nearly two months later she’s hardly exhibiting any problems at all.

Committing to a (mostly) homemade diet is a big move and not everyone has the time, but if it turns out that your Shih tzu does have colitis even the addition of a spoonful of canned pumpkin every day could be helpful.

If you’d like to try them, here’s my recipe for chicken-yam balls:

  • 2 lbs. ground chicken or turkey (if your Shih tzu is allergic to poultry you could also use ground fish or bison)
  • 2 cups cooked, mashed yam or pumpkin
  • 1 cup strained plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup oat bran
    Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place the yogurt in it. Twist the cheesecloth closed and place a saucer or item of similar weight over the bundle. Rest the strainer on top of a bowl. Let the yogurt drain in the refrigerator overnight. The point is to remove as much of the liquid as possible. Discard the liquid or let your dog drink it if she will.

    Mix all the ingredients together and form into meatballs approximately the size of a walnut. Bake on an oiled cookie sheet at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

    Allow the balls to cool and slide them in the freezer, cookie sheet and all. Freeze until just firm, about 30 minutes. Once the balls are solid you can place them in freezer bags without them freezing together in one giant clump. Take out a few day’s worth of meatballs from the freezer as you need them and keep the rest frozen for up to three months.

    Yields approximately 60 meatballs

Comments for Needing Advice for My Shih tzu's Constipation and Narrow Intestines

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Apr 14, 2013
8 year old tzu
by: Anonymous

i just want to thank you for adopting an older animal. i think that is wonderful, i give mine pumpkin. he likes it and it makes him poop. i started it when he had surgery and he couldn't go. good luck with that little doll. don't give up!!

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