Constipation in Dogs

Constipation in dogs can be one of the most uncomfortable conditions for a dog to endure. When a dog is constipated, this means he cannot defecate or defecate completely because his stool is dry or too hard.

Causes of Constipation in Dogs

The causes behind constipation in dogs are various, but his diet is usually the main factor behind this condition. When a dog eats a non-food item or foods low in fiber constipation can follow. Also, a dog that does not drink enough water can be more predisposed constipation. A lack of exercise can also make a dog constipated.

Dogs that are taking certain medications or supplements may have a hard time passing stool. Medications include anti-diarrhea medicines, antacids, allergy medicines, diuretics, barium and iron supplements.

There are times where an underlying condition can cause a dog to become constipated. These can range from diseases that cause blockages in the intestines to rectal tumors. A foreign object, neurological or metabolic disorders, and endocrines problems can also lead to constipation.

Diagnosing Constipation

A dog should be taken to a veterinary clinic for examination if he has been constipated for two or more days. A physical exam of the dog will include a rectal exam.

A veterinarian will check the dog’s blood to see if there are any signs of an infection. The blood tests can also tell about a dog’s electrolyte levels, kidney and liver function, and endocrine or glucose levels. A urine sample may also be taken to further evaluate the health of the kidneys and dehydration status. A stool sample will be taken, if possible, to rule out any parasitic infections.

If it is thought a foreign object or blockage may be to blame for the dog’s constipation, an x-ray may be done. Ultrasound imaging may be used if a tumor is suspected. A colonoscopy can also be performed to get a better about what may be causing a dog’s constipation.

Treating Constipation in Dogs

If an underlying condition is found to be the reason for a dog’s constipation, the condition will need to be treated to help resolve the issue. If a medication is thought to be causing the problem, it may need to be discontinued.

A dog’s diet may need to be changed to one that is higher in fiber. Some pet owners are even advised to add products like bran or pumpkin to a dog’s food. In addition to a change in diet, a dog owner may be told to exercise the dog more often.

If extra assistance is needed to relieve constipation, a veterinarian will prescribe stool-softening medications. If dehydration is an issue, a dog might need to be hospitalized so he can receive IV fluids. In cases of severe constipation, a dog may have to have his feces manually removed. In extreme cases, a dog will have to have colon surgery to help correct his constipation.

Constipation in canines is normal when it happens a few times throughout a dog’s life. Medical attention is needed if it seems to be a recurrent problem.