Administering a Dog Enema

Your dog might need an enema for a number of reasons. Enemas can help replace fluids in dogs who are dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea, or to relieve constipation. Some medications are administered via enema. Whatever the reason, if your dog needs an enema, you should know how to administer it properly.

Benefits of Dog Enemas

A pet enema can be of benefit in the treatment of many medical conditions. These include constipation, dehydration, or bowel irritation caused by the ingestion of spoiled food or foreign objects. Enemas can help flush out the colon, and are an excellent means of administering fluid therapy.

Often in cases of dehydration, dogs are simply retaining fluid. The colon absorbs the fluid, and administering an enema every few hours can help stop fluid retention. In cases of dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea, an enema can help reintroduce the fluids and electrolytes that your dog has lost.

Types of Enema Devices

This sort of pet procedure can be performed with two different types of enema devices, depending on the size of your dog. A plastic syringe that holds two to three tablespoons of liquid is appropriate for very small and toy breeds. Medium to large breeds will require a regular enema bag and nozzle. It's not just the amount of liquid introduced at one time that counts, but also the frequency of introduction; your dog will need regular enemas in order to receive the desired benefits.

Enema Procedure

When administering a dog enema, start with two to three tablespoons of warm water for small breeds, and about one pint of warm water for medium to large breeds. The water should be warm, but not hot. Add to this water a few drops of lemon juice, a few grains of sea salt, and a pinch of potassium chloride; these electrolytes help restore your dog's fluid balance. If you are administering the enema to treat constipation, these additives won't be necessary.

Mix the liquid thoroughly and double check that it is not too hot by applying some to the inside of your wrist. Fill the syringe or enema bag and lubricate the nozzle with vegetable oil or petroleum jelly. Enlist the help of a partner to hold the dog while you administer the enema.

A pet enema should always be administered outdoors if possible, as a bowel movement will follow shortly after the procedure is completed.

Have your partner hold the dog so that his rear faces you. Gently grasp and lift the tail. Insert the syringe or nozzle into your dog's rectum, then gently squeeze the plunger or enema bag until all the liquid is inside your dog's colon. Remove the nozzle or syringe and allow the dog to move freely.

In a constipated dog, a bowel movement should follow immediately. If your dog is severely dehydrated, his colon will absorb all of the liquid; this is desirable. When treating dehydration by enema, you'll need to repeat the procedure about every four hours until your dog has recovered from his dehydration.