Foods to Relieve Constipation in Dogs

Constipation can be painful and confusing for your dog, but there are many foods to relieve constipation and provide your dog with comfort. Constipation may be difficult to diagnose, but veterinarians warn that it's important to recognize it as early as possible.

Causes of Constipation

Though diarrhea is easy to diagnose, constipation may go by unnoticed, especially if your dog relieves himself outside without you watching. Constipation can usually be recognized by:

  • painful abdomen
  • straining during bowel movements
  • lack of appetite
  • flatulence
  • change in color of stool

While constipation is often caused by diet, it can also be caused by lack of exercise, stress, parasites or illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome. If it continues, consults your veterinarian.


One of the best remedies for an ailing digestive system—either diarrhea or constipation—is pumpkin. This can be natural or canned pumpkin, but not pumpkin pie mix. Add a couple of spoonfuls to your dog's food for two or three days and see if symptoms improve. Most dogs like the taste, so this shouldn't be a problem.

Bran or Grains

Just as fiber can help us clear our systems, it can also help your dog. Adding a spoonful of bran to your dog's food can relieve constipation as can other grains, such as oatmeal. Be sure to cook the oatmeal. Don't feed raw oats. You can also heat the bran with water to make it more appealing to your dog.

Some owners have also added a sprinkle of Metamucil to their dog's food, but if you do this, add to canned food only and add lots of water.

Fruits and Vegetables

Diets that are high in protein neglects some key ingredients that dogs need. Dogs are omnivores, not carnivores like cats, and benefit from the addition to fruits and vegetables in their diet. These fruits and vegetables can also help regulate your dog's digestive system.

Some healthy vegetables include:

  • green beans
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • carrots
  • squash
  • zucchini

Just be sure to cook them and blend them in a blender or food processor so that your dog can utilize the nutrients. Healthy fruits include berries, apples and bananas. You can feed these with meals or as a healthy snack.

Mineral Oil

For severe cases of constipation, mineral oil may be your only course of action. However, use sparingly and only if other methods don't work because it can interfere with your dog's ability to absorb key nutrients.

Mineral oil can be given at a dose of 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds, but should be mixed with food. Don't apply directly to the tongue.


Sometimes, constipation is caused by dehydration, so just the simple act of adding water to your dog's food can be very effective. Add a few spoonfuls to your dog's dry food to make it soft or add enticement to your dog's water, such as a few drops of apple juice or tuna juice.

However, if symptoms persist despite dietary changes, consult your veterinarian. There may be a medical issue at the heart of your dog's problem.