When you take care of a dog, you have probably noticed that they poop at least one or two times a day.
This is considered normal, and once your attention is attracted by your dog that is straining to produce a bowel movement, you should know that it can be constipation.
This kind of bowel movement means that it is not having normal stools, which can be quite an issue.
For those people who will have to deal with a case of constipation, we have provided this article.
Not only will we examine the possible causes of constipation, but will also introduce certain home remedies that you may use to make your dog feel better.
Of course, this should be done only once you discuss each remedy with your veterinarian.
Potential Causes of Constipation in Your Dog
Symptoms of constipation may include the following:
- Straining to defecate
- Hard, dry stools
- Absent or infrequent stools
Just like with any other disease or health issue, what kind of cure is the best one for constipation depends on the cause.
Some minor cases can be treated with natural home remedies.
On the other hand, more serious issues will require immediate attention from a vet.
The most troublesome cases happen when dogs develop other symptoms along with constipation.
No matter how attentive owner you are, you will be able to diagnose constipation, but it will not be that easy to diagnose the underlying cause.
So, it is important to notice whether your dog’s constipation is accompanied by lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
If this is the case, your dog needs a visit to a vet as soon as possible.
Taking to a vet should be done whenever your dog exhibits a symptom that does not go away, and if it is accompanied by other symptoms and pain, that is an even worse and worrisome situation.
Lack of Bowel Movements Caused by Tenesmus
What you have to make a difference between constipation and obstipation.
Obstipation happens when your dog strains and produces no bowel movement.
Obstipation is frequently described as the inability to produce a bowel movement, and this is considered an issue that is a greater concern than just constipation.
It is also worth noting that if your dog strains and strains and produces nothing, the problem can be tenesmus and not constipation.
Tenesmus is an issue when a dog has diarrhea and is trying to pass stool, but being that the bowels are empty nothing can come out.
Due to the fact that the cause of these symptoms is diarrhea or colitis, a completely different treatment will be required.
Causes for Constipation That Will Respond to Home Treatment
- Diet is a common cause and a little extra fiber may be needed. This can be treated with a home remedy, meaning that you can add some plain canned pumpkin to the dog’s food
- Dogs that do not drink enough can sometimes get a little constipated.
- Furthermore, those dogs that are not exercised enough may get constipated, being that the lack of exercise slows down the system.
- Post-surgery obstipation is frequent due to the fact that the dog has to fast the night before surgery. Do not get worried if it refuses food afterward. The dog that is taking pain meds will recover and start eating a regular diet.
Home Remedies That Might Ease Your Dog’s Constipation
The above-mentioned causes of your dog’s constipation can be treated with home remedies, and you can try some of the following.
Your dog may respond to these home therapies, as well as not, but it is necessary that you discuss them with your veterinarian before starting the treatment.
- Bran can be added to dogs’ food.
- Metamucil can be added – You can add a sprinkle of Metamucil to canned food only. This has to be given with plenty of water but only if it is prescribed by a veterinarian. Metamucil has to be xylitol-free.
- Plain pumpkin helps a constipated dog get some healthy fiber.
- Milk or dairy products can relieve constipation. Make sure that your dog is lactose-intolerant. Be careful with the amount, as providing too much can cause the opposite problem.
- Adding some moisture to dry dog food, such as a few teaspoons of water.
- Medications – docusate sodium (Colace) or Lactulose can be given, but only if prescribed by the vet. This can help your dog by softening its stools.
- Enemas. You can be suggested by your vet to give a homemade enema of warm, soapy water. It is worth noting that dogs should not be given over-the-counter enemas meant for humans. This is due to the fact that they can be toxic to pets.
- Take your dog out to have some exercise, as it can get the bowels moving.
- Water. Your dog needs to have constant access to fresh water, and some owners even buy a water fountain for their dogs. If your dog is suffering from an extreme case of constipation, a vet may need to give it IV fluids.
- A senior dog’s lifestyle should be changed so as to fend off constipation. You can change it by adding extra fiber or putting your dog on a senior diet. Freshwater has to be at hand as senior dogs sometimes do not drink enough. Two short walks a day are considered better than one long and tiring walk per day.
Medical Causes That Are Likely to Require a Vet’s Attention
- Obstruction by a foreign object. There were cases when a dog ate something that is obstructing his intestine. If this is the reason for its constipation, you need to notice the signs of intestinal obstruction. In the majority of cases, the dog will strain, but no stool is produced, plus it vomits. Owners who have dogs that love ingesting rocks, buttons, coins, may find these signs familiar, and we always suggest a visit to a vet. He/she will do some X-rays to confirm whether an object is causing the obstruction.
- Obstruction from other causes. Also, those dogs that do not eat whatever they find, but have the symptoms we mentioned should be seen by a vet, as there may be some other medical problems that could block the passage of stools. Those causes may polyps, tumors, intestinal intussusception, or an enlarged prostate.
- Blockage in the anus or rectum. Rectal abscesses, fistulas, prolapse, or an anal tumor are the causes of constipation and your vet must check all the areas. You need to know that the problem may not be readily seen.
- Endocrine conditions – hypothyroidism or parathyroid disorders can also be the causes of constipation, so you need to take your dog to a regular thyroid level test to rule this out.
- Parasites – whipworms may cause constipation, so you need to have your dog’s stool checked.
- Neurological damage, due to trauma, spinal cord disease, or other problems.
- Pain in the hindquarters—hip dysplasia, back problems, or tail problems can make a dog unwilling to empty the bowels.
- Medication side effects – if diuretics, antihistamines, and antacids are given to your dog.
- Megacolon – frequent bouts of constipation can make your dog prone to megacolon, or a distended large intestine so the vet will need to empty the bowels manually. This procedure can be painful and very inconvenient.