Constipation in dogs can be worrying for pet owners and an uncomfortable experience for your pup. Today, our Hohenwald vets discuss the causes, signs, and treatment options for constipation in dogs.
Causes of Constipation in Dogs
There is an abundance of reasons why your dog could suddenly experience constipation, but some of the most common are:
- Ingestion of a foreign object
- Insufficient fiber in their diet
- Abscessed or blocked anal sacks
- Orthopedic pain while trying to pass a bowel movement
- Enlarged prostate
- Insufficient daily exercise
- Ingested hair from excessive self-grooming
- Tumors, masses, or matted hair around the anus
Symptoms of Constipation in Dogs
If your dog passes dry hard stools or mucus while trying to pass a bowel movement there's a good chance your pup is constipated. Not having a bowel movement for two or more days can be another clear sign that your pet is constipated, as can straining, crouching, or whining while trying to defecate. In some cases, you may even notice grass, string, or matted feces around your dog's anal area.
If your dog is suffering from constipation then there's a chance that it might have been days since its last bowel movement. Other signs that your dog is constipated might be that it is passing dry hard stools or mucus, straining, crouching, or even whining during bathroom breaks. Sometimes you might even be able to see the blockage around your dog's anal area although that's not always the case.
Helping Your Constipated Dog
If you notice your dog is experiencing any of the signs of constipation mentioned above, you should take them to the vet. While constipation is normally a harmless issue that can be easily remedied, it can sometimes indicate a more serious underlying health concern, such as an injected foreign object. It is always best to err on the side of caution — if your dog has been unable to pass a bowel movement for over 48 hours or seems to be in pain or discomfort, it might be an emergency. Bring them to the vet right away.
The main thing to do if your dog is experiencing the symptoms of constipation is to bring them in to see your vet. Most often, your dog can be easily and quickly relieved but there are rare occasions in which constipation might be caused by a more serious issue. It is always best not to take any unnecessary risk, especially if it has been more than 48 hours since your dog's last bowel movement or you notice that your dog is in distress.
Treating Constipation in Dogs
To appropriately treat constipation in your dog, your vet will need to determine the underlying cause. When you bring your dog in, your veterinarian will perform a thorough examination of your pup to pinpoint the cause. In many cases, it may be suspected that your dog has swallowed an object, in which case X-rays may be required to locate the object and apply a suitable treatment method for your dog.
Depending on the cause of your dog's constipation there could be many possible treatments. Some of the most common treatments for constipation in dogs are; dog-specific laxatives, medication to increase the strength of the large intestine, increasing the amount of fiber in your dog's diet, and increasing your dog's daily exercise. In cases where the dog has ingested an item, life-saving surgery may be required to remove the object and prevent severe blockages and damage to your dog's digestive tract.
In mild cases of constipation, it may be possible to assist your dog in the comfort of your home using common at-home remedies such as canned pumpkin, wet dog food, or a bit of bran added to their food. Be sure to consult with your vet before trying any at-home treatments.
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.