Constipation is the inability to pass a normal stool. This common health problem occurs among dogs and can often get their owners very worried. Constipation occurs due to many reasons and can typically be fixed easily. However, the problem is that some canines may experience chronic constipation, which can lead to obstipation and their stool becomes drier and harder, making it incredibly difficult for a dog to defecate.
Cause of Constipation in Dogs
During normal digestion, waste contains water and electrolytes as it passes through the intestines to the colon. Colon absorbs this water and pushes out the waste as stool. When this process is impaired, the colon absorbs the water completely, making the stool harder, drier, and more compact. We have outlined here: the most common causes of constipation in dogs.
Symptoms of Constipation in Dogs
As a dog parent, it’s important to keep a close eye on your canine to ensure that they aren’t struggling with any pain or discomfort. Here are few symptoms of constipation in dogs to watch out for:
- Lack of or no defecation for a few days
- Hard stool
- Difficult defecation
- Painful defecation
- Mucus with stool
- Bloody stool
The primary purpose of the colon is to store waste, which can do for many weeks. You may feel alarmed or worried if your dog hasn’t passed a stool in a few days. Although that’s a very normal reaction to your pup’s discomfort, it isn’t a huge deal. Correcting your dog’s diet and exercise routine will probably help your dog’s excretion improve within a few days. However, if it doesn’t improve within a few days, the best option would be to take your canine to the vet.
11 Ways To Treat Constipation In Dogs
Occasional constipation can usually be cured through at-home treatments that mainly include lifestyle adjustments. You can probably help your dog’s constipation with a simple remedy, but it’s always preferable to consult a vet.
Here are some simple ways to treat a dog’s constipation at home.
1. Pumpkin Puree
Packed with moisture and fiber, pumpkin puree regulates the digestive tract, making it easier for your dog to push out their stool. Make sure only to give your dog 100% pumpkin puree, and avoid giving them pumpkin pie filling. Feeding your dog straight from the can will make them believe it’s a nice treat.
2. Canned Dog Food
Canned dog food is typically soft and contains high moisture content, which can help regulate a pup’s digestive system and soften their stool. It’s best to mix canned dog food with their regular food to avoid upsetting their stomach.
3. Wheat and Bran
Adding small quantities of wheat or bran to your dog’s food can make it easier for them to pass their stool. Just like pumpkin, bran and wheat are packed with fiber, which can help prevent constipation. However, you must ask your vet about how much bran or wheat is best for your dog.
A small bowl of goat or cow milk for dog constipation works great to relieve your canine. Cow and goat milk are known natural laxatives that can help your dog pass their stool easily.
Premade gravy is one of the best canned foods for your dog that can help relieve constipation. Just a few tablespoons of gravy should be more than enough to get your dog’s stool moving.
6. Olive Oil
An olive oil drizzle on your dog’s food can be a great way to get things moving. However, you will have to be very careful not to overdo it.
7. Dietary Fiber Supplements
Giving your dog dietary fiber supplements can help increase the fiber content in their bodies, softening their stool and regulating their bowel movement. Ask your vet for recommendations regarding the types and dosages of these supplements.
8. Fresh Water
Water is an essential element that impacts the health of the colon. Providing your canine with a constant supply of clean and fresh drinking water can help ensure that they are well-hydrated at all times, easing your dog’s constipation.
Dogs require a lot of exercise as a part of physical and mental stimulation. Taking your dog for a long way or engaging them in fun exercises, such as running or playing fetch, can help get their bowels moving.
10. Stool Softener or Laxative
If changing your dog’s diet doesn’t help, your vet will probably recommend a stool softener or laxative for your dog. Never give your dog a laxative or stool softener yourself, as long-term use of laxative solutions can cause dehydration.
A vet may recommend an enema to your dog for constipation relief. An enema helps inject fluid into the lower bowel through the rectum, helping in bowel movement. It isn’t recommended to perform an enema by yourself, as you risk injury to your dog. It is important to leave this procedure to your veterinarian to perform.
When to See a Veterinarian
If you find your dog tirelessly circling around, dragging their butt across the ground, frequently squatting, or crying out in pain, chances that they’re constipated. If you notice your dog struggling to defecate, keep a close eye on what they’re able to produce. You can also press your canine’s abdomen lightly to feel if it’s painful for them.
It is essential to pay attention to your canine’s daily bowel movements. Generally, your dog’s constipation issues should resolve with 48 hours with a well-balanced diet, adequate water, and some exercise. However, if that’s not the case, and your dog still shows signs of discomfort and starts vomiting, it’s time to schedule your vet appointment immediately.
A vet will conduct a physical exam to identify any abnormalities and irregularities, such as tumors or a distended colon. They may also run some blood tests, ultrasounds, and x-rays to identify the cause of constipation so that they can determine the proper treatment.
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