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Best dog food for Colitis in 2021

dog waiting at the vet

This food review gives you a definitive guide to some of the best dog food for colitis that you can find on the market. 

Colitis is not a rare condition. Colitis literally means inflammation of the colon and can happen due to a number of different reasons. Treatment will vary depending on what is causing the problem in your dog’s colon. In most cases of colitis, an appropriate diet can go a long way. 

As a veterinarian, I see several dogs with colitis every week. I, therefore, spend a significant amount of time researching appropriate diets to help with the recovery of my patients. 

The characteristics of the diet I choose to prescribe my patient often depend on what is causing the colitis; the kind of dog food I would choose for colitis caused by a food intolerance would be different from that caused by an infectious agent.

Not all colitis cases are the same; some are mild while others are quite serious.  It takes a trained eye to evaluate your dog’s health issue in its early phases and stop the disease from getting serious.

We advise you to always get a veterinarian’s opinion if you suspect that your dog is suffering from colitis. 

This article will explain or discuss:

  • What you’re looking for when buying food for dogs with colitis.
  • What is the best dog food for different types of colitis.
  • How certain ingredients can help manage colitis.

Let’s get started!

Our Best Dog Food For Colitis

  1. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal High Fiber Dog Food
  2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dog Food
  3. Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Dog Food
  4. Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Low Fat Dog Food
  5. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Low Fat EN Gastroenteric Dog Food
  6. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Hydrolyzed Formula Dog Food
  7. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Adult HP Dog Food
  8. Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Original Skin/Food Sensitivities Dog Food
  9. Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet GI Gastrointestinal Support Low Fat Dog Food
  10. Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet NP Novel Protein Alligator Grain-Free Dog Food
  11. Jiminy’s Good Grub Dog Food

11 Best Dog Food for Colitis

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal High Fiber Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal High Fiber
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Chicken Fat, Powdered Cellulose, Corn
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Management of acute or chronic colitis.

This Royal Canin veterinary diet is ideal for those dogs suffering from acute colitis. It contains moderately low levels of fat and moderate levels of readily digestible chicken protein. 

It is also fairly high in fiber a significant portion of which is readily fermentable by the gut bacteria. Fermentable fiber promotes healthy gut microbiome proliferation and helps the inflamed digestive tract with the recovery process.

This diet contains Psyllium seed husk which is well known for being rich in fermentable fiber. 

The diet also contains a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect and are thought to have a soothing effect on the inflamed gi tract such as in these cases. [1]

This diet also has a wet food alternative.




Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat
  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Wheat, Barley, Natural Flavors
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Management of acute or chronic colitis.

This is another diet by Royal Canin that aims to help your dog relieve gut inflammation and have an easier time digesting food.

It aims to do so by having low-fat content. Fat content makes food more palatable. However, it is also relatively hard to digest and results in the food taking longer to pass through the digestive system. This could increase gut inflammation in some cases. 

Like the High Fiber variety, this food also benefits from the inclusion of psyllium seed husk which contains a wealth of readily fermentable fiber that helps foster a healthy gut microbiome. 

This diet also contains omega 3 fatty acids to help modulate the inflammatory processes happening in the large intestine during colitis.

This diet also comes as canned food.




Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet id Digestive Care
  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Corn, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Egg Product
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Management of moderate or chronic colitis.

This Hill’s prescription diet would be ideal for those cases of colitis that do not become worse when moderate amounts of protein and fat are incorporated into their diet.

The protein in this diet is highly digestible and has a high biological value. This is particularly true for the protein found in egg products

Like the diets above this dog food contains psyllium seed husk and omega 3 fatty acids to help regenerate a healthy gut microbiome and modulate the inflammatory processes of the digestive system respectively.

This diet also has a wet food alternative.




Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Low Fat Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet id Digestive Care Low Fat
  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers Rice, Corn Starch, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Chicken By-Product Meal
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Management of acute or chronic colitis.

This dog food contains a moderate amount of easily digestible protein, a moderately low-fat content, and a generous amount of fiber. This diet would be good for dogs suffering from acute colitis. 

Unlike the diets mentioned above, this dog food does not contain any psyllium in its ingredient list.

However, the beta-glucan fibers found in oats and barley are also fermentable and are more than adequate to promote a healthy gut biome proliferation. 

This dog food also contains a good amount of essential omega 3 fatty acids that help calm down the inflammation of the gut.

This diet also comes as canned food.




Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Low Fat EN Gastroenteric Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Low Fat EN Gastroenteric
  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers rice, barley, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meal, animal digest
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Management of acute or chronic colitis.

This low-fat dog food is also one of the best dog foods to help with colitis. It works in a similar way to the low-fat diets previously mentioned in this list. 

However, unlike the diets previously mentioned, Purina doesn’t use psyllium in their product.

This is however replaced by inulin which is another non-digestible fiber oligosaccharide that promotes colonic bacterial fermentation.

This leads to the proliferation of healthy gut flora resulting in the alleviation of symptoms of colitis and prevention of its future recurrence.

This diet also has a wet food alternative.




Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Hydrolyzed Formula Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Hydrolyzed Formula
  • First 5 ingredients: Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein Isolate, Vegetable Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Partially Hydrogenated Canola Oil (Preserved with TBHQ)
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Management of mild or chronic colitis stemming from food sensitivities.

This hydrolyzed protein dog food is easily digestible and eliminates a number of food allergens.

This makes it one of the best dog foods for colitis in those dogs suffering from certain food sensitivities.

This dog food is also quite low in fat. As previously mentioned, this reduces the time the food takes to pass through the digestive system. This beneficial as it makes it less demanding on the gut.

This diet also comes as canned food.




Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Adult HP Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein HP
  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers Rice, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Chicken Fat, Natural Flavors, Dried Plain Beet Pulp
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long-term management of chronic colitis stemming from food sensitivities.

This Royal Canin veterinary diet uses hydrolyzed soy protein as its main protein source. This makes dog food more digestible and less likely to cause adverse reactions. 

This dog food, however, contains a high amount of fat. This makes it better suited to prevent future episodes of colitis caused by food sensitivities rather than to treat acute cases. 

The fibers found in dried beet pulp and the prebiotic properties of fructooligosaccharides promote healthy gut microbe proliferation. This is an important step in preventing future episodes.

This diet also comes as canned food.




Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Original Skin/Food Sensitivities Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet zd Original Skin Food Sensitivities
  • First 5 ingredients: Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Chicken Liver, Powdered Cellulose, Soybean Oil, Calcium Carbonate
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long-term management of chronic colitis stemming from food sensitivities.

This is good dog food for those dogs prone to recurrent cases of colitis. This product is low in protein and average in fat

The bulk of the protein content comes from hydrolyzed chicken liver. The hydrolyzation process makes the chicken liver protein more digestible and less likely to cause colitis. 

The diet also contains a good amount of essential fatty acids that help with regulating the inflammatory processes in the gut.

This diet also comes as canned food.




Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet GI Gastrointestinal Support Low Fat Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet GI Gastrointestinal Support Low Fat
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Whitefish, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Potatoes, Tapioca Starch
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Management of acute colitis.

Blue Buffalo’s Low Fat Gastrointestinal diet is a good choice for those cases where the colitis is not caused by food sensitivity.

The protein sources used in this diet are not novel (chicken being a common food allergen) and these could cause reactions due to food sensitivities. 

The diet is low in fat and has an adequate composition to manage cases of acute colitis.

The diet is rich in essential fatty acids, soluble fiber, and other prebiotic components. These ingredients help with the management of inflammation and re-establishment of a healthy gut microbiome.

This diet also comes as a wet food.




Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet NP Novel Protein Alligator Grain-Free Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet NP Novel Protein Alligator
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Alligator, Peas, Pea Starch, Alligator meal, Pea Protein
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Management of chronic colitis due to food sensitivities.

This dog food is ideal for those dogs whose colitis stems from food sensitivity. The diet contains alligator meat as its only animal protein source.

Alligator is not commonly used in dog food and has a lower chance of causing allergies. 

This diet is not ideal for those dogs going through an episode of colitis. This food has an average fat content which makes it a challenge to digest to an already compromised intestinal system.

This also makes it hard to settle down the irritated intestine despite its essential fatty acid and fermentable fiber content.

This diet also comes as a wet food.




Jiminy’s Good Grub Dry Dog Food

Jiminy's Good Grub Dog Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Dried Black Soldier Fly Larvae, Oats, Potato Protein, Dried Sweet Potato, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols)
  • Type of product: Commercial Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Management of chronic colitis due to food sensitivities for environmentally aware owners.

Who said that you can’t take care of your dog’s sensitive tummy and take care of the planet at the same time?

While this food is primarily formulated to tackle pet food sustainability concerns, its main protein source comes from black soldier fly larvae and makes it a great alternative for those dogs experiencing colitis due to food allergies after eating most commercial diets.

The diet contains around 12% of fat which makes it not ideal for those dogs suffering from an acute bout of colitis. However, this dog food should be adequate to maintain recovering dogs and to avoid future episodes. 




white border collie dog

What is Colitis and What Causes it?

Colitis is defined as the inflammation of the colon. However, despite this very simple definition, colitis in dogs happens for many different reasons.

Depending on the cause, colitis can be acute or chronic. An infection of the colon can lead to an acute bout of colitis that could be cured.

However, there are other causes like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), food sensitivities, and diseases of the immune system that could lead to recurrent episodes if not managed well. 

In my experience, lots of dogs diagnosed with colitis have a worm infestation. It is always best to rule out that your dog has a worm infestation before thinking of any more serious causes. 

Are there any Breeds Prone to Colitis?

The dog breeds prone to colitis are as varied as the different forms of the condition itself.

Boxers, Basenjis, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, French Bulldogs, Doberman Pinschers, Mastiffs, and Alaskan Malamutes are all prone to develop the more chronic forms of the condition. [2]

Despite this, I personally find that colitis itself can happen in any breed and is particularly common in those dogs being fed a raw diet (due to parasites) and those that often raid the trash can (often containing food items that they should not eat).

What are the Symptoms of Colitis?

The symptoms of colitis depend on the severity and time it was allowed to fester.

Mild or early cases of colitis often present with diarrhea. In more serious cases the diarrhea is accompanied by some clear mucus. This can be accompanied by different amounts of red, fresh-looking blood.

A dog suffering from colitis will show abdominal discomfort when its belly is pressed. They will sometimes be flatulent and try to pass stools very frequently and often in small quantities. 

When colitis is allowed to go on for too long, your dog might become dehydrated due to the constant fluid loss.

In those cases, blood tests might be needed to confirm the extent of dehydration in order to evaluate whether or not they need fluid therapy. [3, 4]

What is the Best Dog Food for Colities?

What can I feed my dog if they have colitis? What ingredients should I be looking for?

The above diets are good to feed in such a case. However, you need the expert opinion of a veterinarian to guide you in your decision on which of the above diets are best in your dog’s case. 

There are a number of ingredients that can help with the management of colitis. [5] These are:

  • The B vitamins (mainly cobalamin and folate)
  • Essential fatty acids ( Omega 3s and Omega 6s)
  • Soluble, fermentable fiber. 
  • Prebiotics

The bottom line

There are many food options available for a dog with colitis. This is because dog colitis can happen for many different reasons; each of these reasons needs to be addressed before your pet can recover fully.

These prescription diets for dogs with colitis aim to soothe the digestive tract, promote colon health and re-establish normal bowel movement in your pet.

It is often difficult for pet owners to investigate the root of canine colitis. Colitis caused by a parasitic infestation does not look much different than inflammatory bowel disease to most pet owners.

It is very important to take your pet to the veterinarian if your dog is having persistent loose stools or is straining to pass small amounts of soft stools. Your veterinarian can help you diagnose, treat your pet, and help you choose the right food for your dog’s bowel problem. 

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