In a recent study, two veterinarians in Taiwan discovered that small breed dogs living inactive lifestyles and suffering from chronic diarrhea can benefit greatly from regular exercise. While this may sound obvious, the study included dogs who had not previously benefited from dietary treatments or supplements – and the results were conclusively positive.

The twenty-two dogs that took part in the study received a prednisolone treatment for four weeks, and were then assigned to either an exercise or control group. The exercise group took part in structured training three to five days per week. “After 10 weeks of prednisolone treatment with concomitant 6 weeks of complementary exercise, the Canine Inflammatory Bowel Disease Activity Index score had decreased significantly in the exercise group,” says the study’s report. “No such change was observed in the control group.”

Veterinarian and bioethicist Dr. Michael W. Fox has since reported on this study, claiming that it was inspired by exercise program trials designed for humans suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and may be a safe and effective solution to this common canine condition. He explains that inactive “city” dogs are often forced to wait for longer periods of time between bathroom breaks, ultimately leading to bowel inflammation and other related health issues. While the primary solution is providing frequent opportunities for dogs to relieve their bowels, exercise is also a major contributing factor to healthier digestive systems. “Physical activity may also help improve circulation and help alleviate and prevent lymphangectasia, the accumulation of lymph in the bowels seen in some forms of canine IBD,” writes Dr. Fox.

While lack of exercise certainly isn’t the only possible reason for chronic diarrhea, increasing your dog’s physical activity probably won’t hurt. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the best course of action. Need a little help exercising your dog? Check out this article on some of the wonderful pet services available!