Dog Constipation Symptoms
Are your dog's bowel movements infrequent, difficult for them to pass or absent altogether? If so, your pet is likely suffering from constipation.
Straining when attempting to pass a stool and/or is producing hard, dry stools, are also considered signs that your dog should be examined by a vet as soon as possible.
Constipated dogs may pass mucus when trying to defecate, circle excessively, scoot along the ground, or squat frequently without defecating. If you press on their stomach or lower back, they may have a tense, painful abdomen that causes them to growl or cry out.
If your dog is unable to pass feces or if they experience pain while passing feces contact your vet right away!
Why is my dog constipated?
Much like us, there are a number of reasons why your dog could become constipated. Some of the most common causes of dog constipation include:
- Ingested pieces of toys, gravel, plants, dirt and bones caught in the intestinal tract
- Lack of exercise
- Excessive or insufficient fiber in his diet
- Other illnesses leading to dehydration
- Blocked or abscessed anal sacs
- Excessive self-grooming (excessive amounts of hair collected in the stool)
- A side effect of medication
- An orthopedic issue causing pain when a dog positions himself to defecate
- Enlarged prostate gland
- Sudden change in diet or sampling new foods
- Matted hair surrounding the anus (caused by obesity or lack of grooming)
- Neurological disorder
- Obstruction caused by tumors or masses on the anus, or within the rectum
- Trauma to the pelvis
Senior dogs are more prone to bouts of constipation. Nonetheless, any dog that experiences one or more of the scenarios above could develop constipation.
What can I give my dog for constipation?
Never give your dog medications or treatments formulated for humans without consulting your veterinarian! Many human medications are toxic to dogs.
If you believe that your dog is constipated, the best thing you can do for your pup is to contact your vet to book an urgent examination. The treatment for constipation will vary depending on the underlying cause of your dog's condition.
If your canine companion has eaten something they shouldn't have there is a chance that there is a blockage causing the issue. This is a medical emergency that will likely require urgent surgery.
Blood tests can be helpful in determining whether your pup has an infection or is suffering from dehydration. Your vet will likely take a medical history, conduct a rectal examination to rule out other causes or abnormalities, and may recommend one or a combination of these treatments:
- Prescription diet high in fiber
- Stool softener or another laxative
- More exercise
- Enema (administered by a professional, not at home!)
- Adding more fiber to your dog’s diet (wheat bran, canned pumpkin or products such as Metamucil)
- Small bowl of goat or cow milk
- Medication to increase the large intestine's contractile strength
Follow your veterinarian’s instructions closely, as trying too many of these or the wrong combination may bring on the opposite problem - diarrhea. You don’t want to trade one digestive problem for another.
What will happen if I don't treat my dog's constipation?
Left untreated, it is possible that your pup could reach the point where they become unable to empty their colon on their own (a condition called obstipation). The colon then becomes packed with an uncomfortably large amount of feces, causing lethargy, unproductive straining, loss of appetite and potentially vomiting.
Intestinal blockages caused by the ingestion of foreign objects such as toys or fabrics can quickly become fatal.
When it comes to your pet's health and safety err on the side of caution, contact your vet if your pet is constipated.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.