Dog Constipation Symptoms

Dog constipation is a common condition, and most dogs will suffer from at least mild constipation at some point in their lives. Although a mild case of constipation is not cause for alarm, chronic or prolonged constipation may be indicative of a serious health condition. Before you can treat the constipation or the condition that is contributing to it, you must first be able to recognize the signs of canine constipation. Read on for an overview of the most common symptoms of dog constipation.

Difficulty with Bowel Movements

The most common warning sign of constipation is when your dog has difficulty passing stool. Constipated dogs spend excessive time in a position for evacuation, with the legs bent and spread slightly, but with little result. As your pet strains to pass stool he may be in pain, and he may even whine or cry out. If you notice your pet straining to go to the bathroom without producing, this is the primary symptom of constipation.

Trouble or Difficulty Walking

Constipated dogs have a buildup of excess waste matter in their intestines. Over time, they will experience discomfort in this area and might even find it difficult or painful to move and walk. If you notice your pet acting lethargically, or refusing to play or walk, this can be a sign of constipation. Constipated dogs also walk with affected strides, and may arch their backs to compensate for their discomfort.

Condition of Stool

A constipated dog might produce no stool at all, or he could produce a small quantity of "liquidy" stool. This should not be confused with diarrhea, as the quantity is much lower. The reason that this happens is that excess waste matter built up behind the blockage in your pet’s colon can occasionally slip through the block as a liquid.

In more severe cases of constipation, your dog’s stool can have an unusually dark color and may even have traces of blood. If this is the case, take your pet to a veterinarian immediately for examination. These are often signs of an infection or internal bleeding, and can present a serious health concern to your dog.

Loss of Appetite

Constipated dogs often refuse to eat or leave food untouched. Considering that most healthy dogs have a large appetite and will eat quickly, this symptom is very easy for a pet owner to notice. The reason that constipated dogs refuse to eat is that they feel uncomfortably bloated.

Change of Behavior

Constipated dogs often display signs of unusual behavior. Mild-mannered dogs can become somewhat aggressive, and quiet dogs can begin to whine and bark. These are ways of notifying you of some discomfort or pain. Do not tune your dog out in these cases, but pay attention to his behavior, especially when it varies from his normal temperament.

Having recognized your pet’s constipation, you will be better prepared to act to treat him and identify any underlying disease or condition that may have caused it.