Constipation, one of man’s worst nightmares. And, dog constipation is one of Fido’s worst nightmares as well. Constipation in dogs can mean anything from difficulty in passing stool, infrequency in passing stool (where they could go several days without pooping), or in extreme situations, absence of bowel movements for long periods of time.
Constipation is one of the most common problems veterinaries and animal health care centers face on a day to day basis. mainly because of poor decisions we as dog owners sometimes commit against our dogs.
But, luckily enough, we can control and change all of that so we kick constipation far, far away.
What Causes Dog Constipation?
Here are some of the most common reasons that cause constipation in dogs:
- Fiber: Not eating enough amounts of fiber
- Water: Not drinking enough water throughout the day and becoming dehydrated
- Exercise: Lack of exercise and not being physically active enough
- Anal Problems: Such as a blocked anal sac
- Prostate Gland: Problems with dog’s prostate glands are a very common cause of constipation, most commonly of which is prostate gland enlargement
- Weight Problems: Such as obesity
- Blockages: Most commonly caused by ingestion of stuff that block their digestive tract, such as bones, stones or toys
- Tumors: On the anus or in the rectum which leads to obstruction
- Medicine: Possible medication side-effect
- Old Age: As senior dogs are more prone to constipation than younger, healthier dogs
- Young Age: Growing puppies are also more susceptible to constipation than more mature dogs
- Grooming: If you excessively groom your dog and your dog ingests hair in the process
- Kidney disease
- Eating grass
- Stress: If your dog is living a stressful period of their life with stressful events taking place, such as moving into a new environment and struggling to get used to it, constipation is very common in these cases
Symptoms Of Constipation In Dogs
Some of the most common symptoms of constipation in dogs are:
- Dry stools
- Dog strains real hard when trying to pass stool
- Dog cries/whimpers when trying to pass stool
- Mucus is sometimes passed along with the stool
- 2 or more days have gone by without your dog defecating
If your dog shows any of these signs and you suspect that they’re suffering from constipation, you should immediately tell your veterinarian about it so that they determine the cause of constipation in your dog and the necessary course of treatment.
I Have A Constipated Dog, What Should I Do?
Listed below are some sure-fire ways to ease your dog’s constipation and get their stool back to the smooth way it used to be:
- Fiber: Feeding your dog food high in fiber (such as whole wheat bran) is one of the best, if not the best, ways to ease constipation and improve bowel functions in both you and your dog alike.
- Supplements: There are supplements available (such as Metamucil) that can be given to dogs to cure constipation, however you should be sure to ask your veterinarian first about their recommendations so you make sure your dog’s health is not put at risk.
- Enema: Back in the day when I used to be strongly constipated, enema worked like a charm, each and every single time. While it may also work like a charm for your dog, you have to also check with your veterinarian on this one. Also, it’s best that you have a professional inject your dog with Enema and that you don’t do it yourself, because the margin for error is really small on this one, and you risk getting your dog poisoned or injured if anything goes wrong in the process.
- Daily Exercise: Dogs that don’t get daily exercise are much more prone to constipation than dogs that are active day in and day out. So, make sure that your dog is being active on a daily basis so that their bowel functions are in tip-top shape, not to mention the many health benefits dogs also get from exercise.
- Laxatives/Stool Softeners: Talk to your veterinarian about the possibility of giving your dog a laxative or a stool softener and see if your dog can handle it.
- Medicine: There is dog-friendly medicine out there that serves to improve the large intestine functions in dogs, and thus improve bowel functions as a result.
- Mineral Oil: Adding some mineral oil to your dog’s food can go a very long way in helping cure constipation. Start off by giving your dog 1 tablespoon of mineral oil for every 11 pounds of your dog’s weight per day.
- Probiotics: Probiotics can work wonders in curing constipation in dogs. Ask your veterinarian about what probiotic you should give to your dog and the required dosages, and watch the constipation go away in no time.
If constipation in dogs is left untreated for a long period of time, your dog’s colon becomes filled with very large amounts of feces, which can lead to:
- Gradually increasing straining
- Gradual loss of appetite and refusal to eat
In more serious cases of constipation, your dog may even need to be hospitalized, or even operated on, to properly cure constipation.
Ideally, you should not try to be your own veterinarian, and contact a professional that knows what they’re doing, because that’s the safest way to go about solving this problem.