Symptoms of Intestinal Blockage in Dogs

Dogs, especially puppies, ingest a number of items that are not food, and intestinal blockage may occur. The main causes of intestinal blockage include the ingestion of bones, coins, toys, pebbles, buttons or beads. Identifying the early symptoms of an intestinal blockage in your pet is important, so that you can prevent complications or death.

Stomach Pain

Stomach pain is an early sign that your pet has ingested a foreign object. The dog may be whining, crying and pawing his stomach area. The ingestion of a foreign object does not necessarily result in an intestinal blockage, but identifying this symptom can give you an advantage, as you can seek veterinary attention before the condition gets worse. The stomach may also look bloated and if you palpate it, the dog will most likely feel pain and will retract.

Frequent Vomiting

A dog that has ingested a non-food item may be throwing up regularly, as the stomach doesn't tolerate the object. The vomit may contain food if the dog has food in his stomach, but most commonly, the vomit will be made up of gastric juice. The dog tries to vomit the ingested item, but it may be too large and only gastric juice will come out. A large object is very likely to cause an intestinal blockage, so it is important to visit the vet and remove the object from the dog's stomach before it can go further into the animal's system.


Dogs should produce feces on a daily basis or once every two days, if on low residue diet. However, if you observe your dog skips a potty session, you can suspect an intestinal blockage. The foreign object swallowed by the dog will travel from the stomach to the intestines and may get stuck and cause constipation. The dog may not even be able to urinate, depending on where the ingested object is located.

Difficulty Defecating

Some dogs may be able to produce feces, but the dog will strain when defecating. If the foreign object causes an internal injury, there may be blood or mucus in the feces.

Lack of Appetite

A dog that has an intestinal blockage will not want to eat due to the fact that he will feel sick and he is also unable to defecate.


The dog may not even be able to drink water, and this paired with a refusal to eat will quickly lead to dehydration. This can be fatal, so the dog must be forced to drink, and the vet will also administer liquid therapy to prevent complications. Other symptoms that occur when the condition is more advanced include:

  • Fever
  • Shock
  • Sudden collapse
  • Coma
  • Seizures

Preventing Intestinal Blockage

You can prevent an intestinal blockage by making sure your dog gets only small kibble food. Keep your pet away from ingesting non-food items and punish him whenever you see he is approaching dangerous items on the street. Choose toys that are larger than your dog's throat, and remove small items that may be an easy target for the dog to swallow.