By Pierre Mouchette | Bits-n-Pieces
If your dog is straining when they try to poop, they may be dealing with constipation. Though constipation is a common issue, it is important to understand what is causing it. Constipation can occur in dogs for many reasons, some requiring veterinary attention.
How can you help a constipated dog?
Before giving your dog anything for constipation, visit your veterinarian. Since several things can cause constipation, it is crucial to determine whether an underlying condition needs treatment. Treatment must be targeted for a specific reason, or it can worsen constipation. For example, surgery is likely the best option to remove a blockage in a dog’s digestive tract, and medication will not help much.
Many treatments to help with dog constipation must be prescribed by a veterinarian or done in a clinic. Your vet might recommend one of the following options to help your constipated dog get moving again:
Hydration - It is crucial to hydrate a dog to help relieve immediate constipation. But getting your dog to drink more water may not be enough. It can be challenging for owners to do at home. Most dogs must see their veterinarian for adequate hydration with subcutaneous or intravenous fluids. When owners realize that their pets are constipated, oral hydration is unlikely to be satisfactory.
Enemas - Besides fluids, some dogs may benefit from an enema. An enema is a liquid solution injected into the intestines through the rectum. The solution adds water to your dog’s poop, prompting a bowel movement. But do not try to give your dog an enema at home. You might injure your dog or make their constipation worse. Only experienced veterinary staff should perform enemas.
Laxatives - These are an option your veterinarian may recommend. These may include:
A vet may also prescribe other medicines for constipation. These might work by softening your dog’s stool or improving the movement of their intestines. Common options include:
What about constipation in puppies?
If your puppy may be constipated, speak with your veterinarian. They can evaluate your pup and make a treatment recommendation.
Young puppies under three weeks old must be stimulated to go to the bathroom. Their mother usually does this task. If this is not happening, puppies can be at higher risk for constipation. Newborn puppies with constipation may need a warm water enema from a veterinarian.
Home remedies for dog constipation
Dr. Barrett doesn’t recommend many home remedies for dogs experiencing constipation. And home remedies should only be used with the guidance of a veterinarian. One thing your vet might suggest is a high-fiber diet. The increased fiber creates a bulkier stool, which can help stimulate the colon and make it easier for your dog to poop.
If your vet feels your dog would benefit from a higher-fiber diet, add canned pumpkin, bran cereal, or a fiber supplement to your dog’s food. But do not try other remedies, even if you read great things about them online.
Things to avoid giving a constipated dog
There are two remedies in particular that you should never give your dog for constipation:
What are typical dog constipation symptoms?
In dogs, constipation can cause several symptoms, some of which might not be obvious. Possible symptoms include:
What causes constipation in dogs?
There are many possible causes of constipation in dogs. These can include:
Dehydration - When your dog doesn’t get enough fluids, they can become dehydrated, which can cause constipation. Diseases that cause dehydration can also lead to constipation. These include:
Stress - Just as dogs might avoid pooping because of physical pain, they might not poop because of stress or anxiety. This may cause poop to back up in their system, leading to constipation.
Blockage in the intestines
Dogs may become constipated if they ingest something that causes a blockage in their intestines. Blockages prevent waste from moving correctly through the digestive system. Anything your dog can fit in their mouth can cause a blockage, including:
It is possible for an old injury, such as a fractured pelvis, to cause constipation issues even years later. A fractured pelvis can result in a narrow pelvic canal, making it harder for stool to pass through.
Some medications can lead to constipation. These include:
If you have recently changed your dog’s diet, the new food could be to blame for their constipation. This is especially true if your dog’s diet changes quickly or it is a new type of food altogether.
When is dog constipation serious?
Your dog’s constipation might be serious if it has been more than 24 hours since their bowel movement. Talk with a vet if:
How to prevent constipation in dogs
Paying attention to your dog’s bowel movements and urination habits is important. Early intervention can prevent a constipated dog from developing worse symptoms. If your dog has been constipated before, it is crucial to recognize the warning signs early.
In addition, to help prevent constipation in dogs, you should:
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