Editor-s Choice: Oxy-Powder®

Constipation in Dogs

Constipation in dogs is more common than many pet owners realize. Being able to recognize the symptoms is the first step toward bringing relief to your canine friend. And, once you have recognized your pet has a problem, there are a number of things you can do to help your canine friend get back to normal.

Recognizing Dog Constipation

For the most part, dog constipation is not difficult to recognize once you know what to look for. If your canine friend strains while attempting to have a bowel movement, it may be suffering from constipation. Straining while having a bowel movement can be a sign of other problems, however, such as infections caused by viruses, parasites, or E. coli bacteria. You should also look more closely at the way the resulting stool looks. If it is hard and dry, your pooch is probably constipated. If it is covered in mucus or blood, you might have a different problem altogether and should consult your veterinarian.

What Causes Canine Constipation?

A number of things can cause canine constipation. Eating old bones, for example, can cause your pet to become constipated because small parts of bones are sometimes difficult or impossible to digest. Some other possible causes include:

  • Making sudden changes to your pet’s diet
  • Increased stress or anxiety levels
  • Eating objects that should not be eaten
  • Neutering (as a side effect)
  • Prostate disease or dysfunction
  • Worm or parasite infestation
  • Lack of regular, stimulating exercise

Problems Associated with Pet Constipation

Constipation in dogs can lead to more serious health issues. With the waste building up in your pet’s colon, the toxins in the waste have nowhere else to go but back into the body. This can lead to a loss of appetite, bloating, and abdominal discomfort. After repeatedly failing to have a successful bowel movement, your pooch may start developing exceptionally hard stools and it may experience full bowel impaction.

Preventing and Treating Constipation in Dogs

Since a poor diet is the most common cause of constipation in dogs, changing your pet’s diet is usually the best method of treatment. Be sure to feed your pet only food that is raw and that has not been processed in any way. Changing the way your pet eats can also help fend off constipation. Rather than leaving your pet’s food available throughout the entire day, keep it available for only a period of time and then remove it. Short periods of fasting throughout the day will provide your pet’s digestive system with a much needed break.

Another method for avoiding doggy constipation is to make sure they have plenty of fresh water to drink at all times. A dehydrated pet is more likely to become constipated. Similarly, it is helpful to increase fiber in your pet’s diet. Oat bran sprinkled on your pet’s food can work wonders. Depending on the size of your dog, you should only need to sprinkle about ½ to 2 teaspoons of oat bran in order to get the job done. Grape-Nuts Flakes® can also be helpful, as can adding a tablespoon or two of canned pumpkin to your pet’s diet now and then.

Many pet owners have heard it is best to stay away from feeding them milk because it can cause diarrhea. In the case of constipation however, milk can be the solution you need. Adding 1/8 to ½ cup of milk to your dog’s food should be sufficient. A tablespoon of mineral oil can also help make your pet’s bowel movements more regular. Or, you can perform an enema on your pet if the stool has become hardened and needs help in being removed.

Environmental factors can also lead to constipation in dogs. Herbicides, pesticides, and second-hand smoke, for example, can aggravate normal digestion. Even those products you use to help your pet in other ways, such as flea collars, flea powder, and insecticides, can make it become constipated.

Getting regular exercise is also helpful in treating constipation. Take your pet out for walks every day or go outside and throw the ball around with your dog, but make sure the play is energetic. Movement of the entire body encourages movement of the bowels as well. In addition, regular exercise will help keep your pet fit and healthy in every respect.

Have a question? Ask an expert.
[contact-form-7 id="1477" title="Ask An Expert"]