Canine constipation commonly follows surgery. Reasons for this constipation include the medications used for anesthesia and pain medications following the surgery. In addition, the dog's system is messed up because of the pre-surgery fasting and then pain after a surgical procedure often keeps a dog from eating or drinking for the first day or two.
If a dog's surgery has restricted his mobility, that can cause constipation. A dog's urge to have a bowel movement is closely linked to exercise. When a dog is outside walking or running around, it's likely he'll have to stop and take time out for a potty break. As long as your dog can handle a 20 minute walk, get him outside and moving around. This can help prevent constipation issues.
If a dog's electrolyte balance is off, canine constipation can occur, especially in older dogs. During surgery, fluids were likely given to ensure the dog was getting the proper balance of salts and sugars. Once you're at home, monitor your dog's drinking and eating habits. The dog may have little appetite for the first day. Try tempting him with canned food the day after. Dogs are often tempted by canned foods because of their stronger aroma. Adding a few tablespoons of water to canned food helps increase water intake.
Medications that May Lead to Canine Constipation
Previcox is prescribed after surgery to relieve pain. Bloody stools, stomach upset and constipation are all common side effects.
Rimadyl, Novox and Carprofen are anti-inflammatory medications listing constipation as main side effect. The prescription drugs are commonly given to dogs with joint pain and arthritis, but may be given after a surgery of the joints to alleviate pain and swelling.
Tramadol is commonly prescribed post-surgery to ease pain. The medication has few side effects, but among them you'll find lack of appetite and disorientation. Dogs on this medication often prefer to sleep longer, often missing meals and failing to drink enough water. Water intake is essential to preventing canine constipation.
Home Remedies for Canine Constipation
Canned pumpkin is beneficial in adding fiber to a dog's diet. Not only do dogs love the taste, but it's inexpensive and mixes easily into food. Canned pumpkin is one of the most recommended treatments for canine constipation.
If it's been a few days and you're starting to worry, try adding some psyllium husk to some canned dog food. Follow the directions on the container to get the proper amount for your dog's weight. As a general rule, a child's dose is ½ to 1 teaspoon per day. Most veterinarians feel a teaspoon per day for a 60 pound dog is adequate. Make sure the dog drinks plenty of water after eating psyllium husk.
Salt-free beef or chicken broth may get your dog readily drinking fluids. Make the broth yourself by throwing in some meat bones with water and simmering the liquid for an hour or two. Offer this liquid by itself or add it to your dog's food.
When to Call a Veterinarian
If you notice any blood in stool your dog manages to pass, contact your veterinarian. Some medications aggravate the lining of the stomach leading to bleeding. If this happens, a different medication may be necessary.