Help! My Dog Is Constipated
Constipation, even in dogs, is not a thing that should be taken lightly. It is a problem that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible.
It is definitely a worrying sign for all dog owners, especially if your dog is regular. You will probably start wondering how you could help your dog and are there any remedies you can give them to solve their constipation problem. Here is what you need to know about your constipated dog, and we will let you know how you can help them.
What is constipation?
Constipation is usually a temporary condition that can be defined as infrequent or problematic stool passing. Most constipation cases can be sorted out with enemas or medication, but it can become a severe and even life-threatening situation if it comes to a more severe case. The most serious case of constipation is called “Obstipation.”
Obstipation is the worst-case scenario when it comes to constipated dogs. It means that there is so much fecal matter that it becomes compacted, and the dog cannot defecate at all.
Obstipation is a severe medical problem that is often permanent and irreversible. To sort that out, your dog might require surgery and life-long support, and dietary changes.
How can I know if my dog is constipated?
The first thing you will probably notice is your dog not “doing their business” for a long time. The worrying should start if your dog could not defecate for 2 - 3 days after their last bowel movement.
If that happens, it is time to call your vet.
Another thing you can notice in a constipated dog is rock-hard, extremely dry stool. When you pick up after your dog, you can squeeze their stool and examine it. We know it is not the prettiest job, but a job you will have to do if you think your dog is constipated.
Constipated dogs often feel pain when it’s time for them to “go.” You can notice them squirming, even whining. If you start seeing that more often, constipation could be the culprit.
This might sound odd, but owners often confuse “tenesmus” for diarrhea. Actual diarrhea is not a sign of constipation, but a constipated dog might produce some liquid fecal matter if they have trouble defecating. At that time, owners often think that their dogs have diarrhea and never think about taking care of the actual problem.
What causes dog constipation?
A dog can become constipated for many different reasons. Some are benign, and some can be extremely dangerous for the dog’s life. If you think your dog might be constipated, think about their behavior in the past 48 hours, and see if you can link any of these most common constipation reasons with your dog;
- Activity level - Vets don’t know why, but lazy dogs can have trouble passing stool and become constipated.
- Diet - Bad diet can have a lot of influence on your dog’s bowel movement. They might have eaten something they weren’t supposed to, and that thing is causing a blockage. Dogs can eat hair, toys, or even things like cat litter. All of these things can block their bowel movement.
- Drugs - Some drugs can cause constipation (antacids, antihistamines, cancer drugs, etc.)
- Surgery - After surgery, dogs can often get constipated.
- Age - When our dogs get old, everything becomes slower; even their bowel movement takes longer.
These reasons might not seem too scary and can be treated relatively easily. Here are other possible (and common) reasons that cause dog constipation.
- Tumors - Tumors are the worst-case scenario, but they can result in a constipated dog. Some constipation-causing tumors are digestive tract tumor and the tumor that narrow the pelvic area.
- Prostate enlargement
- Metabolic diseases (hypothyroidism and kidney disease)
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Spinal diseases and injuries
- Orthopedic problems that cause an inability to squat
- Anal gland problems
- Problems with the central nervous system
- Psychological problems
As you can see, there are many reasons a dog might be constipated, and if the problem doesn’t go away after you tried some of these things we will mention later, it is best to call your vet and ask for an appointment.
What to give a constipated dog?
If you worry your dog might be constipated, you are probably wondering how you could help your constipated dog. There are a few at-home, natural remedies that might sort your dog’s problem. Luckily, these remedies or “stool softeners” are easily reachable and available in your local store or market. Some things that might help if your dog is not pooping are;
- Pumpkin - Weirdly, pumpkin is an excellent remedy for constipation and diarrhea. Plus, dogs usually love the taste.
- Canned dog food - Elevated moisture can help with bowel movement and take care of your dog’s problem.
- Exercise - Try taking your dog for a run or a jog. It might get things going.
- Proper hydration - Your dog must receive plenty of fluids.
- Fiber supplements - Fiber is also one of the home remedies, but make sure you talk to your vet before giving it to your dog.
If the problem continues even after trying all of these things or for longer than 48 hours, it would be best to call your vet and ask for their help.
Most constipation cases won’t require too much or too aggressive treatment. Your vet will tell you which options are the best for your dog, but the most common ones are;
- Manual removing of the blockage (hardened stool, hair, grass, or toys)
- Restoring fiber balance and boosting liquids
- Dog laxatives
- Enema performed by a vet only; never try doing it yourself at home
- Medications to restore the proper colon functioning
In the worst-case constipation scenario, surgery might be required, but that happens only if there are signs of obstipation. There is even an option of removing a part of the colon, and that procedure is called colectomy.
Now you know why your dog might be constipated, but do you know why dogs have diarrhea? Here is an article that can help - Dog Diarrhea: What You Need To Know.
Dogs can get constipated for many reasons, and you shouldn’t panic right away. You might have to check their behind and see if anything is blocking the exit. We know this is not the prettiest picture, but having a dog will include some sticky and unpleasant situations.
Constipation can be caused by severe health problems, so if you notice the problem continuing, it would be best to call your vet.
There are some at-home remedies you could give to your dog that can help fight their constipation but don’t do anything without consulting your vet.
World Dog Finder team