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My dog is constipated! What should I do?

My dog is constipated! What should I do?

Constipation is a common digestive problem in dogs that can have serious consequences depending on its underlying cause. In this blog, our vets in Concord will inform you about the cause of constipation in dogs and how you can help your pup.

Constipation in Dogs

If your dog has infrequent bowel movements, they're difficult for your pup to pass, or completely absent, your pup is probably experiencing constipation. 

It's critical for dog owners to know that it's a veterinary emergency when a dog cannot pass feces or is experiencing pain associated with it. If this sounds like your dog, they requires immediate care!

Other signs that your dog may be constipated include training while trying to pass stool, producing hard and dry stools, passing mucus during defecation, scooting along the ground, excessive circling, or squatting without defecating. 

If you press on your pup's lower back or stomach and they have a tense and painful abdomen that makes them cry or growl, they may also be constipated. 

Causes of Dog Constipation

There are a variety of reasons why a dog can become constipated. A few of the most common are:

  • Excessive or insufficient fiber in their diet
  • A side effect of medication
  • Lack of exercise
  • Excessive or insufficient fiber in his diet
  • Blocked or abscessed anal sacs
  • Other illnesses leading to dehydration
  • Excessive self-grooming (excessive amounts of hair to collect in the stool)
  • Ingested pieces of toys, gravel, plants, dirt, or bones caught in the intestinal tract
  • Sudden change in diet or sampling new foods
  • Trauma to pelvis
  • Neurological disorder
  • An orthopedic issue that's causing pain when a dog positions himself to defecate
  • Enlarged prostate gland
  • Matted hair surrounding the anus (caused by obesity or lack of grooming)
  • Obstruction caused by tumors or masses on the anus or within the rectum

Senior pets might experience constipation more frequently. However, any dog that's facing one or more of the scenarios listed above could suffer from constipation.

Common Constipation Symptoms in Dogs

Signs of constipation include straining, crying, or crouching when attempting to defecate. Also, if it's been more than two days since their bowel movement, see your vet immediately.

Remember, these symptoms may be similar to those that may point to a urinary tract issue, so your vet needs to perform a full physical exam to diagnose the cause.

What You Can Give Your Dog for Their Constipation

Google "How to treat constipation in dogs," and you'll find wide-ranging advice from trustworthy and dubious sources.

Never give your dog medications or treatments formulated for humans without consulting your vet first. Many human medications are toxic to dogs.

The best thing to do is contact your veterinarian and bring your dog in for an exam. The treatment for your dog's constipation will depend upon the underlying cause of your pup's condition.

If your pup has eaten something they shouldn't have, there is a chance that there is a blockage causing the issue. This is a medical emergency that will likely require urgent surgery.

Your vet may also conduct blood tests to check for dehydration or infection and ask about your dog's medical history. They may also perform a rectal examination to rule out other abnormalities or causes. 

  • More exercise
  • A stool softener or another laxative
  • A prescription diet high in fiber
  • Enema (administered by a professional, not at home, as there could be a risk of injury or toxicity if done incorrectly)
  • Medication to increase the large intestine's contractile strength
  • A small bowl of goat or cow milk
  • Adding more fiber to your dog's diet (wheat bran, canned pumpkin, or products such as Metamucil)

Carefully follow your vet's instructions because trying too many of these or the wrong combination could cause the opposite problem - diarrhea. You don't want to swap one digestive issue for another.

What Happens When Constipation in Dogs Goes Untreated

If your dog is constipated and left untreated, it may result in obstipation, a condition where they become unable to empty their colon on their own. This can lead to discomfort due to an accumulation of feces in the colon, causing symptoms such as lethargy, unproductive straining, loss of appetite, and even vomiting. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you suspect that your dog is constipated, please schedule an appointment with our vet in Concord today!

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All Bay Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Concord companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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