Dog Constipation: Preventions and Treatments

Dog Constipation: Preventions and Treatments

By Andrew Gora

Dog Constipation: Preventions and Treatments

The problem of constipation is not just limited to humans, but dogs as well. Constipation occurs when your pet has issues with their bowel movements. They might be difficult, infrequent, or even absent. If your canine companion is having difficulties defecating or is passing blood or hard stools, then this may indicate they are suffering from constipation.

A trained dog should poop at regular times daily. Constipation not only indicates digestive issues, but can also cause tremendous physical distress. There could be matted feces, grass particles, or maybe some other objects around or in the anus that lead to constipation. 

With constipation, the size of the feces gets abnormally small and hard like pellets. Once the condition progresses, your canine friend may experience loss of appetite, lethargy, and vomiting.

With that in mind, it's vital to detect constipation and to treat it right away. At Dope Dog, we provide CBD products to help improve your pet’s quality of life. Here’s everything you need to know about dog constipation.

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What Causes Constipation?

What causes constipation in dogs
  • Lack of exercise
  • Obesity
  • Lack of grooming leading to matter hair around the anus
  • Abscessed or blocked anal sacs
  • Side effects of medication
  • Any illness that leads to dehydration
  • Any trauma to the pelvis
  • Ingestion of any bones, pieces of toy, stones, gravel or any other thing which is caught in the intestinal tract
  • Obstruction from a tumor located within the rectum or anus

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How do you know if your dog is constipated?

How to know if your dog is constipated?


If you notice that your dog is finding it difficult to defecate, then this is a clear sign of constipation. There may be other symptoms like:

  • Crying while passing stool
  • Crouches or excessive straining
  • Not producing stool for over two days
  • Similar symptoms in the urinary tract
  • With all these symptoms, it is essential to see the veterinarian before administering treatment. 

Related: CBD vs. THC for dogs - What’s the difference?

What leads to constipation in dogs?

There are many reasons that could contribute to your dog’s constipation, and sometimes there may be more than one at the same time. Below are some common reasons, but not this is not a complete list.

  • Tumors and other intestinal obstructions
  • Medications which can include constipation as a side effect
  • Fears and anxieties which hinder bowel movements

Lack of exercise

Age can also be a factor. Older dogs are most vulnerable to constipation. Therefore, it is vital to take special care of dogs in their senior stage. Osteoarthritis and other conditions can make it difficult for dogs to defecate.

What To Give A Constipated Dog?

It is highly recommended to consult your vet before starting any treatment for the dog's constipation. From administering medications to changes in diet, there are several ways to treat your dog's constipation as follows:

1. Pumpkin

To cure the constipation of your dog, feeding them a small amount of pumpkin can help. The high fiber and water content in pumpkin helps in relieving constipation. You can use fresh pumpkin or even a canned pumpkin puree for this. You can also check out our Pumpkin Turmeric Dog Treats.

Pumpkin can be used to treat a constipated dog

Related: Best Safe Fruits for Dogs

2. Laxatives

Mild laxatives have been proven to be beneficial in treating constipation as well. Consult your vet to determine the required dosage as it depends on the size and weight of the dog.

3. Supplements

Vegetable enzymes, acidophilus, and folic acid are some effective supplements that can cure your dog's constipation and they’re readily available. Check with your vet to identify the best supplement for your dog.

4. Aloe Ferox

This is a natural system cleanser that benefits the digestive system. It is highly useful in treating your dog's constipation.

Aloe Ferox be used to treat a dog's constipation

5. Milk of Magnesia

This can be another useful trick to get rid of constipation. However, you need to check with your vet before giving it to your dog.

6. Enema

Consult your vet to find out if this option will work for your dog or not.

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7. Increased activity

If you are finding your dog to be lethargic due to illness or age, it could be the reason for constipation. Keep them engaged with their favorite exercises to boost the blood flow in the colon and other internal organs. It can help to relieve constipation gradually.

8. Bran (oat or wheat)

A diet lacking in fiber can be a significant contributor to your dog’s constipation. Therefore, introducing a sufficient amount of fiber by providing wheat or oat bran can help. You should seek advice from your vet on how much bran should be added to your dog's diet.

Adding bran (oat or wheat) in diet can help treat a constipated dog

9. Mineral oil

By lubricating the stool, your dog will find it less difficult to defecate. Constipation is a vicious circle. Once your dog finds pain in defecation, it will try to avoid it, which will adversely affect its bowel movements and lead to severe constipation.

10. Powdered psyllium seed

By pulling water into the stool, psyllium seed can soften the stool and makes it easy to pass.

11. Canned dog food

The high moisture content present in canned dog food can be beneficial for your four-legged friend's digestive system.

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Hydration

Hydration is necessary to help avoid your dog's constipation

Besides electrolyte supplements, ensure that your dog drinks the right amount of water to avoid constipation.

Food and herbs

Foods such as fig, oils, and ginger are also helpful in relieving constipation. A study which was conducted in 2011 concluded that fig paste is an effective way to help your dog defecate better. You can incorporate oil into your dog’s diet with our Dope Dog CBD oils.

Related: High fiber foods for dogs

When Should I Bring My Dog To The Vet For Constipation?

Source Alt Text: a greyhound lays with a blanket

It is always best to consult your vet as soon as you realize that your dog is suffering from constipation. There are other health issues that may have similar symptoms. If not treated in time, constipation may get worse and lead to several other serious health issues.

If your dog is suffering from chronic constipation for a long time, it will lead to dried fecal matter buildup in the digestive system that can get stuck in the colon over time. This condition is called obstipation. 

If your dog suffers from obstipation regularly, it may lead to megacolon, a situation where the dog cannot defecate frequently. Gradually, the colon will lose its ability to transfer the feces to the rectum.

What is the crucial information I need to share with the vet about my constipated dog?

We have listed all the essential information that you need to keep track of before taking your dog to the vet:

  • The color and consistency of the stool
  • The last time the dog passed a stool
  • The extent of pain or strain during defecation
  • If your dog is undergoing any drug treatment
  • Any previous normal bowel movement that your dog may have
  • Any injuries
  • Any non-food item eaten up by your dog ( this includes bones and kitty litter)
  • Any sign of discomfort or distress
  • Any sign of bloating, vomiting, or lethargy.

What are the various exams conducted by the vet to inspect a constipated dog?

Related: Foods your dog should NEVER EAT

Source Alt Text: a greyhound lays with a blanket

There are several exams conducted by a vet, depending upon the severity of the problem. Some of the required reviews are:

  • Barium enema
  • Abdominal palpation
  • Complete Blood Count
  • Rectal exam
  • Neurological exam
  • Colonoscopy or Ultrasound
  • Radiographs of the abdominal area
  • Urinalysis

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Most of the cases are treated with a higher intake of dietary fiber and other mild treatments. Only a veterinarian will be able to ensure if laxatives suppositories and enemas are required or not.

However, in extreme cases of constipation, the vet will have to initiate medical interventions like:

  • Activation of normal colon function with drugs
  • Blocking the production of certain enzymes using drugs
  • Removing impacted feces manually
  • Surgery in extreme cases such as megacolon

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Frequently Asked Questions About Constipation

1. What is an excellent laxative for a dog?

The laxatives for dogs are different from the laxatives meant for humans. Canned pumpkin is an excellent home remedy worth considering. You can also find a Psyllium or Docusate sodium 100gm tablet with a consultation from a vet.

2. What food can I give my dog for constipation?

The food, as recommended above, such as pumpkin, psyllium seeds, and milk of magnesia, can help to alleviate constipation. 

3. Is milk an excellent laxative for dogs?

Yes, milk is an excellent laxative to consider giving your dog. However, it should be given only in small quantities. It can have a negative impact if it ends up being a regular part of their diet.

4. How can I fix constipation fast?

Keep your dog hydrated, and add as much fiber to his or her diet as possible. It also helps if you try to include some of his favorite activities to its schedule. In addition to that, make sure to walk your dog for 30 minutes to 1 hour daily to improve gut motility. 

5. How to determine the severity of constipation in dogs?

You will notice that the dog is in significant discomfort. If your dog is vomiting, reluctant to eat, not pooping for 2-3 days, appears to be weak, has blood in his stool, or appears lethargic and thin, then you should consult your vet immediately.

Related: Why do dogs drag their butts on the floor?

NEW META DESCRIPTION: What do you do when your dog is constipated? Our guide will teach you the best preventions and treatments to keep your pet healthy!

a dog owner in an orange shirt holding their dog and petting their head

Is Constipation Common In Dogs?

You may be startled and worried when your dog becomes constipated. Rest easy knowing this health issue is widespread and easily treatable.

One of the most pervasive issues veterinarians see in the vet's office is constipation, diarrhea, and skin rashes.

How Many Days Can a Dog Go Without Pooping?

If your dog occasionally misses a day on their usual bathroom schedule, that’s nothing to worry about. On average, dogs will relieve themselves every twelve to twenty-four hours.

If your dog is stressed out or moving into a new environment, they may feel a delay in their regular bathroom schedule. Pay close attention to your dog’s mood, environment, and diet to determine if anything is out of the ordinary.

A dog that’s in visible pain when they go to the bathroom is a major warning sign to see a vet.

Related: How To Deal With Dog Wetting The Bed

a dog owner with blonde hair holding their dog and walking outside

What Foods Constipate Dogs?

We’ve mentioned that several factors increase your dog’s risk of becoming constipated, such as age or a diet lacking in fiber. As it stands, there are a few other factors to be aware of.

Eating Random Objects

Dogs are very curious creatures. When they want to learn more about something, their instinct is to sniff or chew. Sadly, this instinct leads them to chewing and sometimes digesting what they shouldn’t.

Puppies aren’t the only ones who feel the need to investigate objects by eating them! Common items that all dogs eat include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Hair
  • Small toys
  • Kitty litter
  • Pinecones
  • Cloth

Monitor your dog’s behavior closely and consider cleaning your house more than usual. A cluttered home has a higher likelihood of creating objects your dog will chew on and swallow when bored.

Too Much Kibble

Dogs suffer from dehydration just like we do. While most dog food tends to be in a dried out form for convenience and storage, this food is often very dehydrating.

Consider giving your dog wet food more often to hydrate them and give them a happier digestive tract. The breed and age of your dog will determine the mixture that suits them best. We also recommend keeping your dog’s water bowl filled with fresh water, since stale or dirty water may be less appetizing. 

Related: Guide To The High-Fiber Diet Your Dog Will Love

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Conclusion

Constipation might be a constant issue for some dogs, so it's vital to pursue a fiber-rich diet, regular exercise, and keep them hydrated. In the case of more prolonged constipation, laxatives and enemas could be considered. 

If you noticed the issue at its initial phase, then there's a good chance that constipation can be treated quickly and effectively. Prolonged constipation leads to serious health issues. Surgical procedures are only advised when other remedies are not producing the desired results.

Consult the vet as soon as you notice the first symptoms of constipation. There are chances that the dog might be suffering from other severe health issues, and these might be misinterpreted as constipation. Constipation is quick and easy to treat in its earlier phases, but if left untreated, can lead to severe problems down the road. 

For more information about dog health and CBD for dogs, check out Dope Dog today! 

Please note that this article does not intend to provide medical advice. Go to your pet’s veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and medical information.