Psyllium Fiber for Cats: A Natural Remedy for Constipation
Did you know that you can add fiber to your kitty’s diet? Let’s talk about psyllium fiber for cats and how it can help.
Taking a holistic or natural approach to your cat’s care is certainly possible. If your pet is dealing with constipation, for example, you might consider psyllium fiber as a potential remedy. But what is psyllium fiber, and how does it work? How should you use it in your cat’s diet, and are there any precautions that you need to take?
We’ve compiled some helpful information on psyllium fiber below to give you greater insight into what it’s used for and how it might be able to help kitties that have certain digestive issues.
Note: If you’re thinking about trying psyllium fiber, such as to help your pet have a bowel movement when constipated, we recommend consulting with your veterinarian first. Professional veterinary guidance can help ensure that you’ll choose the appropriate remedy at the right dose for your pet, especially if your feline friend is taking other supplements or medications or has been diagnosed with a medical condition.
What Is Psyllium Fiber?
Psyllium fiber is a natural fiber from the plantago ovata plant, and it is a source of insoluble and soluble fiber. It is also the main ingredient that is used in the popular over-the-counter fiber supplement, Metamucil.
Insoluble fiber won’t dissolve in water, and it can add some bulk to your cat’s stool to help increase the speed at which it will move through your pet’s digestive system. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, will dissolve in water, so it will form a gel within the animal’s digestive tract, and it can encourage smoother movement. So, in other words, both of these types of fiber can help when it comes to maintaining healthy digestion and avoiding constipation.
Related: Can Your Cat Be A Vegetarian?
What Can Psyllium Fiber Do to Support Your Kitty’s Health?
There are a few things that psyllium can do to help your kitty feel better, particularly when it comes to your furry friend’s digestive system. Here are some of the reasons why it might be worth asking your veterinarian if your fur baby would benefit from psyllium fiber:
- Constipation: Your vet might recommend psyllium fiber if your kitty has been diagnosed with constipation. The supplement may help increase the bulk of your cat’s stool, thereby stimulating movement in the intestines to get the stool out, and it may also help boost the water in your cat’s stool to make it easier to pass.
- Diarrhea: In addition to potentially helping your cat if she is constipated, psyllium fiber might also be a good natural remedy if she is experiencing diarrhea. Your veterinarian might recommend taking steps like fasting your kitty for a short amount of time before giving her small amounts of food to see if the diarrhea resolves. And you might also be told to try psyllium fiber, which can be added to a bland diet or to your pet’s usual food, to see if it helps your companion feel better sooner.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease: If your cat has been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), working closely with your vet is imperative, as you want to be sure you can give your kitty everything she needs to feel better. Psyllium fiber might be recommended in this case because it may be helpful when tackling problems like diarrhea and constipation.
Note: Whenever you give your cat psyllium fiber, it’s super important to also provide your pet with plenty of water because an obstruction might occur in the intestines if the psyllium fiber is ingested without adequate amounts of water. So, adding it to your companion’s wet food, and providing a bowl of fresh, clean water at all times, is the best way to go when trying this remedy.
How Do You Give a Cat Psyllium Fiber?
To help your kitty get more fiber to relieve her constipation, you can try adding psyllium powder to her wet food. Contact your veterinarian to figure out how much you should be adding to her food, and how often you should give her the psyllium fiber. The dose may depend on your cat’s condition and weight, and your veterinarian may tweak his or her recommendations based on how your kitty responds to this treatment.
Closely following your vet’s instructions regarding how much psyllium fiber to give, and how often to give it, can help ensure you get the best results possible. But it is also important to keep in mind that this remedy might not work immediately. For example, it might take upwards of 72 hours before you begin to see improvements in your kitty’s condition. Your vet can advise you on what signs to look for to figure out if the psyllium is working or if you should stop giving it to your pet.
Experts note that psyllium fiber is often best used on a short-term basis. Including it in your pet’s diet long-term might cause it to lose its effectiveness. Your vet will be able to guide you when it comes to how and when to use psyllium fiber. And if your kitty is dealing with chronic constipation, know that there are also other strategies that you could implement to help restore and maintain digestive health.
Are There Any Precautions to Take?
First off, provide psyllium fiber with your pet’s wet food, and ensure your cat is getting enough moisture from her food and clean water. Maintaining proper hydration is another way to help your kitty remain constipation-free, but, as mentioned above, you also want to make sure your cat is getting plenty of moisture throughout the day and night when you’re giving her psyllium because this can help you avoid problems like obstructions that may occur if the animal isn’t getting enough water.
Secondly, keep an eye out for side effects. When giving a cat psyllium fiber, side effects such as gas, stomach discomfort, or loose stools might occur. And it’s a good idea to ask your veterinarian about any other side effects that might develop as well.
Be sure to contact your vet if vomiting occurs, if your pet has trouble having a bowel movement, or if she starts to have loose stools. Report all side effects to your veterinarian right away so you can figure out what steps to take to help your cat.
Finally, psyllium fiber isn’t always safe for a cat to take. For example, it shouldn’t be given if the kitty is suffering from fecal impaction. It might also interact with certain medications. Therefore, it’s best to ask your vet before giving your cat any psyllium fiber. And you might need to have your pet examined to determine the cause of the constipation or other digestive ailments before psyllium fiber is prescribed.
The Bottom Line:
Psyllium might be just what your cat needs if she is experiencing digestive problems like constipation. As long as it’s appropriate for your kitty, it might be the remedy that helps to get things moving again.
Just bear in mind that it’s better to be safe by working under the guidance of your vet, even when using a natural product like psyllium powder. Plus, your vet can direct you to the products that are best for your cat, as you can find foods, treats, and supplements that contain this ingredient too.