Constipation in Dogs

Constipation in dogs can occur in canines of any age, sex or health condition. Typically, constipation can be treated, but puppies, senior dogs and immuno-compromised dogs are more susceptible to complications related to the condition.

Detecting Constipation in Dogs

A constipated dog has difficulty passing feces. If the dog does not pass feces for more than 24 hours, he is constipated. Normally, dogs should eliminate feces daily.

If the feces remain in the bowels for too long, the dog will experience elimination difficulties, as the bowels extract the liquids from the feces and they become more solid.

Causes of Dog Constipation

Dog constipation can be caused by a lack of sufficient fibers in the diet. A sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to frequent constipation.

Other common causes of constipation include:

  • Stress
  • Tumors
  • Gastro-intestinal problems
  • Intestinal occlusions
  • Dehydration
  • Pelvic injury

Symptoms of Constipation in Dogs

Constipation in dogs may be problematic to detect, as you don’t know when the dog eliminates. However, if you take your dog out for a walk regularly and he fails to eliminate feces, this can point to constipation. The dog may also try to pass feces but cannot. A reduced amount of feces can also point to constipation.

A constipated dog may look bloated and experience pain when defecting. The feces may have an unusual color, typically darker or even black. Mucus may also be present in it. A constipated dog might lack appetite and if the condition persists, he'll lose weight. Lethargy and vomiting episodes may also be present.

Treating Dog Constipation

Dog constipation can be treated with laxatives, provided there is no underlying cause for this condition. Laxatives are available as tablets or you can opt for a natural laxative such as canned pumpkin, which doesn’t contain sugar. You can also increase the intake of fibers in your pet’s diet to promote a healthy digestion.

An enema shot is another option that stimulates bowel movement, and can be administered by the vet.

Constipation can be caused by dehydration, but it can also cause dehydration. If the condition is serious, your dog should receive fluids or intravenous fluids in addition to the treatment.

Diet after Constipation

The dog’s diet after constipation should be closely supervised. The dog should get about half of his usual amount of food for the first two days, or possibly some prescription wet food. Water is essential in the recovery of the dog. Make sure the water is always fresh, so it doesn’t cause intestinal discomfort.

Reoccurring Constipation

If the constipation reoccurs in your pet, you need to see if there is an underlying cause. A colonoscopy or biopsy can be performed to determine if your dog is healthy. Chronic constipation could actually be caused by tumors or other illnesses.

Prevent Constipation in Dogs

A balanced diet in conjunction with a healthy amount of exercise is the key to prevent constipation in dogs. Your dog’s diet should contain at least 10% fibers, which help bowel movement. Talk to your vet about some fiber supplements.