Pet Wellness Guides > Stress Colitis in Dogs - Signs, Treatment and Prevention - Pet Insurance Review

Stress Colitis in Dogs – Signs, Treatment and Prevention

Posted: 12/14/2023 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Health problems , Pet care

Stress colitis in dogs is very common. While other things such as allergies, parasites, and diet can all cause colitis, stress is a major culprit!

In this blog post we’ll take a look at what colitis is exactly, signs of the disease and ways to treat and prevent stress colitis in dogs.

stress colitis in dogs

What Is Colitis in Dogs?

Any time “itis” is attached to a word, it means inflammation. In this case, colitis refers to inflammation of the colon or large intestine. 

The colon, in dogs and in people, has a lot of functions. It is responsible for maintaining proper water-electrolyte balance, housing healthy gut bacteria, and absorbing nutrients. When a dog’s colon experiences inflammation, its functions go out of whack, and that can result in diarrhea, dehydration and poor nutrient absorption. 

As mentioned earlier, many things can cause colitis, including parasites, food allergies, poor diet and definitely stress.

Symptoms of Stress Colitis in Dogs

It’s not uncommon for dogs to experience occasional diarrhea. Especially those dogs that tend to eat things they shouldn’t, like the slice of pizza you set down to grab your phone or that rotting squirrel by the dog park. 

Usually these bouts of diarrhea will resolve on their own within 24 hours. When diarrhea lasts for more than 2 days, it’s a sign your dog has something else going on, and that something else may very well be colitis.

Other signs of colitis include:

  • Constipation
  • Straining to poop
  • Blood or mucous in the poop
  • Weight loss 
  • Vomiting

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important that you take your pup in to see the vet. While colitis can resolve on its own, it’s advised to support your dog, particularly if they have been vomiting or had diarrhea for 48 hours or more. This can quickly lead to dehydration.

It’s also important to mention that other health issues mimic colitis. Rectal tumors or polyps, foreign body obstructions, intussusception, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, and diseases of the anal sacs all present very similarly to colitis. So never assume you know what may be going on with your pup, always bring him in to get checked out.

What Causes Stress in Dogs?

We think of dogs as happy-go-lucky animals. And while that can be the case for many, there are some dogs that are more sensitive or whose environment may be causing them anxiety.

Here are some things that often cause stress in dogs:


When dogs don’t get enough physical or mental stimulation, they can become bored and anxious. While our dogs seem happy to snooze on the couch all day, they are natural hunters and they require mental and physical stimulation for their health and well-being. 

Be sure to take your pup on plenty of walks and/or hikes, play with them and provide interactive toys to stimulate their minds. 

Negative Discipline

Dogs need a firm but gentle hand when it comes to training and discipline. Yelling at and hitting a dog is NEVER okay and it goes without saying that this kind of behavior from their human will very much stress a dog out. 

New Pets

Bringing a new pet into the home can absolutely cause stress for a dog. Even if the new pet is very nice, it can still be stressful. This is particularly true for older dogs when younger pups are suddenly brought into the mix. It doesn’t mean you can never adopt a new dog or cat, just be aware it can be stressful and be sure to take your time introducing pets and watching dynamics very carefully. 


Many pets are not good in chaotic homes. What does that look like? You know, those homes where there are three children under the age of 10 who all like to run around screaming at the top of their lungs. Or the house where the teenager has friends over and plays loud music or xbox games.

Many dogs like peace and quiet and feel stressed when their environment is loud and chaotic. 

These are just some of the common causes of stress in dogs. If you think your dog is suffering from stress colitis, think about what in their environment might be stressing them out and how you can stop it.

Treatment and Prevention of Stress Colitis in Dogs

Stress colitis requires the physical aspects to be treated as well as the emotional ones. Your vet may prescribe an anti-inflammatory to help calm the inflammation and perhaps an antibiotic if she feels a secondary infection may be present.

She may also suggest you give your pup a quality probiotic to help his gut heal and boost his immune system.

As far as helping your pup not feel stressed, there are a variety of things you can do. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, your vet may want to prescribe a medication to help keep your pup feeling calm. You can also ask about using CBD treats, which have shown to be effective at calming stressed pups.

Find ways of providing a calm environment at home. Does your dog need his own quiet space, away from small children where he can relax and feel safe?

If your dog seems very stressed and anxious and you’re uncertain of what’s causing it, you may want to work with a dog behaviorist who can help you identify the triggers and offer guidance on how to help your pup.

Treating Chronic Stress Colitis in Dogs Can be Expensive

Chronic colitis can sometimes be difficult to diagnose and treat. It often requires blood work, X-ray and even ultrasound. Complicated and recurrent cases may sometimes need to be referred out to a specialist for diagnostics like biopsy and endoscopy. Add to this long-term medical management and you could be looking at costs that range from $1,000 all the way up to $10,000. 

Can you realistically afford to pay that bill?

Most pet parents can’t absorb the costs associated with a chronic health condition. That’s why they turn to pet insurance, with some policies paying as much as 90% of the bill.

If you’ve been thinking of enrolling your fur baby into a pet insurance plan but weren’t sure which provider was the best, here are the top providers based on over 150,000 reviews from pet parents just like you:


Top Pet Insurance Providers of 2024

RatingProviderTotal Review
4.9Healthy Paws7,477
4.8Prudent Pet125
4.5Pets Best7,196
4.3Pet Assure12







The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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