Successful Treatment for Dog Constipation

In an otherwise healthy animal, an occasional episode of dog constipation is not serious and can be treated at home.

Causes Of Dog Constipation

  • Medications such as antacids, Kaopectate, iron supplements, antihistamines and diuretics
  • Gravel, dirt, bone or plant eating
  • Too little dietary fiber
  • Too little exercise

Signs of canine constipation include straining to defecate and the passage of small or very dry feces.

Severe Constipation

If your dog has not defecated at all and is showing signs of severe constipation such as abdominal pain, lethargy or loss of appetite, veterinary attention may be required.

Dog Constipation Treatment

If your dog is mildly constipated, you can ease his symptoms at home.

Mineral oil is an effective treatment for constipation but should be used cautiously because it can, over time, deplete vitamin A. Do not use mineral oil for more than one week. Mix this tasteless oil with a small amount of food at a rate of 0.5 mL/kg of body weight.

Unsweetened, canned pumpkin is an effective constipation reliever. Most dogs enjoy the taste. It can be offered twice at day at the following rates:

  • Dogs less than 25 pounds: 1 tablespoon
  • Dogs 25 to 50 pounds: 2 tablespoons
  • Dogs over 50 pounds: 3 tablespoons

Over-the-counter psyllium products such as Metamucil® can be sprinkled on your dog's food. Every 12 to 24 hours, feed ¼ teaspoon for small dogs, ½ teaspoon for medium sized dogs and 1 teaspoon for large dogs.

The lactose in milk is a common cause of diarrhea in dogs, but during a bout of constipation, this may be a good thing. Offer your dog ¼ cup to ½ cup of milk to relieve constipation symptoms.

Change the Diet

If your dog suffers from recurrent constipation, a diet change is needed.

Fresh grated vegetables are an easy way to increase fiber and add vital nutrients at the same time. Carrots, peas and green beans are usually tolerated well, and pumpkin can be added regularly. A teaspoon of olive oil helps lubricate the digestive tract. Add water to dry kibble to increase fluid intake. Supplement dry kibble with canned food for added moisture as well.

Other Constipation Prevention Tips

Sedentary dogs are more prone to constipation and other health issues. Moderate 15-minute walks will increase the motility of the intestines and promote healthy elimination in all dogs but this is especially true for the older dog.

Allow your dog frequent opportunities to defecate: "holding it" will worsen your dog's constipation and may result in a more serious condition.

Longhaired dogs can suffer from mechanical constipation. Matted hair around the anus prevents the passage of feces. Regular clipping and grooming can prevent this condition. Grooming also helps to reduce indigestible, swallowed hair.

Laxative Warning

Do not give human laxatives to your dog. According to the Merck Manual, it can be very dangerous for animals. There are veterinary laxatives available by prescription that are formulated and safe for dogs.