Constipation in dogs occurs when a pet dog has difficulty passing a bowel movement or is unable to pass stool. The stool left by the dog is usually dry and hard. Larger dogs are more prone to constipation than smaller dogs. But this problem can be seen in any breed of dog of any age.
Causes of constipation in dogs
In normal digestion, water is filled with electrolytes or waste. It is pushed through the animal’s intestines into the colon by an automatic muscular motion, a process called peristaltic waves. The water is later absorbed in the colon, and waste passes out as stool.
If for any reason this process of the pet slows down or gets worse, the colon will continue to absorb water and the stool will become dry, hard and possibly compacted.
Most Common Causes of Constipation in Dogs
- Lack of exercise, poor diet and not enough fibre
- Blockages from eating non-food items such as garbage, bones, gravel, or plants
- hair accumulation in the stool due to excessive self-grooming
- Age, hypothyroidism, kidney problems, an enlarged prostate
- Anal gland problems, dehydration and spinal cord injury
- History of strain, tumours, trauma to the pelvis and constipation
dog constipation symptoms
Symptoms of canine constipation include:
- lack of defecation for a few days
- hard, pebble-like stools
- strain without producing much stool
- discomfort, painful defecation, and difficult defecation
- mucus with stool
- bloody stool
The purpose of the colon is to store waste within the body, and it can be stored for several weeks. You may feel anxious if your pet dog hasn’t had a bowel movement in a few days. It may not be a serious dog problem though. You may just have to wait a few more days for it to return to normal.
Treatment for Constipation in dogs
Most of the time, occasional constipation in a pet dog can be easily treated at home by making lifestyle changes. You can help your dog’s constipation with your home remedies, but be sure to talk to your vet before trying home remedies. Constipation can be a sign of other serious conditions.
Simple canine constipation remedies often include:
- Canned pumpkin
- Bran cereal
- Metamucil, Sibalin, or a similar product
- Canned dog food to increase moisture
- Excess water
For chronic constipation, the vet may recommend other treatments with some variations. These may include:
- Low residue diet
- Enzyme-inhibiting drugs
- Nerve stimulators
- Manually deleting if the colon is affected
How will the vet diagnose severe canine constipation?
Diagnosing constipation in dogs usually involves examining your dog’s rectum and stomach. Your vet may also ask if your dog has a history of eating an unusual diet.
Your vet may also consider other potentially relevant factors, including recent past pelvic trauma, surgery, and possibly radiation therapy. An abdominal ultrasound, X-ray or blood tests may be needed to identify any underlying cause of a dog’s constipation.
Feed your dog prescription dog food
Start by feeding your dog a prescription dog food that contains more fiber than a mix of regular dog food.
If your dog doesn’t get back to normal with any of these treatments, you may need to take him to the vet for an enema. This treatment should never be done at home and should always be done by a professional doctor. It can also be fatal for your dog.
Home remedies for Constipation in dogs
If you are eagerly looking for ways to treat your dog’s constipation at home, take a look at the remedies below:
One of the easiest and most common home remedies for constipation in dogs is to feed them canned pumpkins. Pumpkin is a high-fibre food and is considered completely safe for a dog to swallow. For the sake of caution, no additional ingredients have been added to it. Buy a can of 100% pure pumpkin in the baking aisle and add some to your dog’s food.
Make sure your dog is properly hydrated
Lack of proper water is a common cause of constipation in dogs. Therefore, dogs with constipation need to be kept adequately hydrated for their digestive system to function properly. It is recommended that a normal-weight dog drinks one ounce of water per pound.
Help stimulate your dog’s digestive system
Make sure your dog is comfortable.
Gently massage their abdomen in small circular motions counterclockwise and clockwise for four to five minutes
After the initial five-seven minutes are over, continue massaging in broad circular motions for an additional five minutes.
Give your dog more exercise
Another suggestion from vet experts is to give your dog more exercise for a few days and see if that helps. Many times, dogs will improve their defecation habits by this process if they are taken for long walks. Lack of exercise can be a significant contributor to constipation in dogs.
Use coconut oil
In addition to being a great ingredient for cooking, coconut oil can be used as a stool softener to relieve dog constipation symptoms. You can add coconut oil to your dog’s food, and feed him with a spoon.
Add olive oil for Constipation in dogs
Olive oil can also make your dog’s bowel movements easier, as can coconut oil. This is because the oil can soften the dog’s stool and lubricate the interstitial tract. However, make sure you are not giving your dog olive oil too often as it can lead to diarrhea.
Fibre is fermented into fatty acids by the bacteria stored in your dog’s intestine, which makes it supports a dog’s digestion. From reducing the symptoms of constipation, there are many benefits to increasing your dog’s fibre intake.
Foods that can help increase a dog’s fibre intake
Final notes: Constipation in dogs
If there is any change in your dog’s defecation habits, you should notify your nearest vet. There are many different reasons why your dog may be constipated, which makes it important to get a diagnosis.
If your dog is suffering from constipation due to anxiety, stress and other behavioural problems, our guide may be a convenient and effective alternative. Learn how care4dog helps your pet feel better in no time