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As dog owners, If there is one thing you can count on, it is lots of love….and lots of poop. When us humans have bowel issues, many of us rely on Metamucil. But can we use Metamucil for dogs too?
You are responsible for giving your dog all the care they need. This includes making sure that what goes in comes out in a timely and healthy way.
Unfortunately, dogs, like many people, can be prone to digestive upset from time to time. Constipation and diarrhea are two symptoms that there is something amiss inside your dog’s intestinal tract.
This article is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Please contact your vet right away if your dog is displaying any abnormal symptoms.
When your dog gets constipated or has diarrhea, they can get very uncomfortable. So of course you want to help your pup feel better fast.
In this article, we talk about whether Metamucil for dogs can help your dog regulate their bowel movements.
What Is Metamucil?
Metamucil itself is simply a brand name for psyllium, a type of soluble fiber. This type of fiber absorbs water but cannot be digested for use as food.
Basically, this means it goes in, passes through, and comes right out the other side of your dog’s intestinal tract.
Metamucil is a popular supplement for people who have diarrhea or are feeling constipated.
Metamucil for dogs isn’t a different product. It is still psyllium. That said, it is free from any additives like flavorings or sweeteners. This means ingredients like chocolate or xylitol) which are toxic to dogs.
You can choose to purchase psyllium products for pets, or plain psyllium for people. In any case, make sure it doesn’t have any other ingredients that could put your dog in harm’s way.
Is Metamucil Safe for Dogs?
As we mentioned, make sure the Metamucil you buy is simply plain psyllium and doesn’t have any additives.
These include flavorings, sweeteners or other ingredients on the canine no-no list. In essence, Metamucil by itself is not considered to be harmful to dogs.
However, it is wise to talk with your dog’s vet first before dosing your dog with Metamucil.
Chronic constipation, diarrhea or strange bowel movements can also be a sign of other health issues. Your vet may want to examine your dog to determine if further care is needed.
Is Metamucil Good for Dogs?
Your dog can’t just tell you how they feel. However, you know from personal experience that getting constipated or having diarrhea is never pleasant. You don’t have to be a canine to know it doesn’t feel too great!
Interestingly, as Vet Info points out, the FDA has approved psyllium as a laxative for treating constipation in many animals, but not dogs.
However, many vets do still recommend psyllium for dogs. Often this is to treat canine diarrhea, constipation or strange bowel movements.
One reason is because psyllium, the active ingredient in Metamucil, is also a prebiotic. Prebiotics help to maintain healthy digestive flora and fauna (in other words, the “good” gut bacteria).
Using Psyllium for Dogs to Treat Canine Diarrhea
PetMD explains that there are two basic types of canine diarrhea. First, there is diarrhea of the small intestine. Second, there is diarrhea of the large intestine.
It can be important to know which type of diarrhea your dog is suffering from so you can offer the right diet and treatment.
Diarrhea of the small intestine.
If your dog is suffering from diarrhea of the small intestine, vets typically recommend a bland diet.
Basically, a bland diet is made up of palatable, easily digestible foods. This includes things like boiled chicken, white rice and cottage cheese or tofu.
In this case, the diet should provide both soluble fiber and non-soluble fiber. The former feeds the good gut bacteria that colonize the colon. The latter helps regulate bowel function and movements.
Psyllium can be added to this diet as an extra source of soluble fiber. Basically, it can to help make digestion more stable and regular.
Diarrhea of the large intestine.
For dogs that suffer from diarrhea of the large intestine, adding enough insoluble fiber can be very helpful.
It isn’t always easy to tell what type of diarrhea your dog has, however. The good news is, psyllium can help with both types of diarrhea.
Using Metamucil for Dogs to Treat Canine Constipation
It may be hard to understand how the same product could help treat canine diarrhea and canine constipation.
The reason is simple. Metamucil for dogs is a regulator. If there is too much water in the gut, the psyllium will absorb the excess water to keep movements regular but not excessive.
In the same way, if there is too little fiber in your dog’s diet, psyllium adds back helpful soluble fiber. Essentially, this aids in pushing waste matter through the intestinal tract and out the other end.
What Are the Benefits of Metamucil for Dogs?
Metamucil for dogs has a lot of benefits to offer your pup.
1. Adds back soluble fiber to your dog’s diet.
We live in an era of boutique, homemade and high-protein canine diets. Unfortunately, it is easy to overlook your dog’s need for fiber.
Psyllium be an important addition for homemade or raw food diets. This is especially the case as your dog’s gut is making the adjustment to a new food type. In addition, Metamucil can help ensure your dog is getting enough daily fiber intake.
2. Eases symptoms of canine IBS.
As the Veterinary Information Network (VIN) points out, all kinds of co-occurring health issues can potentially cause erratic bowel habits.
Many issues can all lead to chronic canine IBS. These range from bowel disease to hernias, back injuries to spinal fractures, rectal cancer to prostate problems.
Psyllium can be an important part of chronic disease care for your dog. Overall, it can aid in easing discomfort and promoting overall regularity.
3. Provides an extra source of prebiotics.
As Dogs Naturally Magazine points out, a full 80 percent of your dog’s functional immune system makes its home in the canine gut.
When your dog’s gut is healthy, your dog is much more likely to be healthy as well.
4. Aids in weight control.
As Vet Innovations emphasizes, more than half of all pet dogs in the United States today are overweight or obese.
Today’s Veterinary Practice highlights how adding enough fiber to your dog’s diet can help regulate weight and reduce between-meal cravings for snacks or treats.
This can be especially important to know since many commercial pet food products may not actually contain as much added fiber as the brand label claims.
The lack of oversight in the pet food/products industry means that labels are meant to serve more as guidelines rather than a set of hard facts.
Are There Any Risks or Side Effects of Metamucil for Dogs?
As with any supplement you give your dog, it is important to talk with your vet before you start self-dosing your pup.
In this section, learn about the known risks or side effects of giving your dog psyllium.
1. Giving the wrong dosage of Metamucil.
You want to be sure you are using the Metamucil psyllium properly for your dog’s age, gender, weight, size and daily eating, water intake and exercise habits.
For example, you wouldn’t want to give a toy-sized dog breed the same does of psyllium that you would give to a Great Dane. It is vitally important to find out the right dose for your dog’s breed size.
2. Metamucil can cause diarrhea.
If you give your dog too much Metamucil, it can lead to diarrhea. You especially want to avoid this if you are trying to treat your dog’s diarrhea with psyllium!
3. Psyllium can cause an internal blockage.
If your dog isn’t drinking enough water, psyllium intake can actually cause a dangerous obstruction in the esophagus or in the digestive tract.
If your dog is gagging or dry heaving after being given Metamucil, give them plenty of water right away. If it doesn’t subside quickly, call your vet.
In some cases, you may find it easier to give your dog psyllium capsules instead. However, due to the number of capsules in each dosage, this may be impractical.
If you do decide to use psyllium capsules, check out this handy guide on giving your dog a pill.
4. Metamucil can cause increased farting.
Many dog owners are not happy to hear this, but one known side effect from taking Metamucil is increased flatulence, or farting.
5. Using psyllium may mask the presence of larger health issue.
Psyllium fiber is considered a relatively safe and effective remedy to add back more soluble fiber to your dog’s diet. That said, it isn’t always the right remedy, either.
One of the biggest risks that can arise from using Metamucil is to assume the diarrhea or constipation are the main issues.
As we mentioned here earlier, sometimes there can be a more serious issue underneath that is actually triggering the digestive issues.
What Is the Correct Metamucil Dosage for Dogs?
As the National Library of Health (NIH) explains, past research studies that have looked at the use of Metamucil for canine constipation typically recommend a dose of two tablespoons per day for large breed dogs.
This information can help you use Metamucil for dogs to regulate digestion while adding back prebiotics for gut health.
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