A dog’s digestive system can be negatively impacted by many factors and when their digestion is upset, it can become an unpleasant experience. Dogs constipation can come on suddenly, and end just as fast. It happens when your dog cannot produce a normal stool, and they will either strain or not attempt to ‘go.’ In some cases, dogs will have a rock-hard stool, which is painful for them to pass.
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Signs of Dogs Constipation
The rock-hard stool is one sign of dogs constipation or if you have observed them trying to ‘go’, but without success. Other signs of a dog’s constipation are a decreased appetite, depression, vomiting, and lethargy. All of these signs indicate your dog is not feeling healthy, and the dog’s constipation could be the reason.
How Dogs Constipation Can Happen
Dog’s constipation can happen if there is not enough fiber in their diet, or if they’ve eaten something non-digestible that has blocked their intestines. Dogs constipation can also occur if your dog is not getting enough exercise, or it could be age-related.
A more serious cause of dogs constipation in your pet has a digestive tract tumor, spinal or metabolic injury, or prostate enlargement.
Home Remedies for Dogs Constipation
As mentioned above there are several factors that can cause dogs constipation, but most of the time they are able to begin passing normal stools after just a few days. It is important, however, to watch your dog’s fecal matter to determine if they are healthy or there is a reason for concern.
These are some home remedies for dogs constipation you can try if your dog experiences constipation to help relieve their discomfort:
- Pumpkin for Dogs Constipation– Pumpkin puree is high in moisture and fiber and will help regulate their digestive tract. If you can find it, 100% pumpkin puree will work the best. Pumpkin pie filling is not suggested. Feed your dog the puree right out of the can and they will think they are getting a treat.
- Canned Dog Food– The higher in moisture and the softer the food can help regulate your dog’s digestive system. This type of food will make their stool softer. Mix the canned dog food with your dog’s normal food so their stomach does not become upset.
- Coconut Oil for Dogs Constipation– Coconut oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties. This oil will reduce your dog’s doggy breath and doggy odor. The antiviral agents in coconut oil treat several issues in your pet’s health, including yeast infections, kennel cough, and help to relieve the dog’s constipation as it will help to loosen stools.
- Olive Oil for Dog’s Constipation– A spoonful of olive oil can help dogs’ constipation. This oil stimulates your pet’s digestive system and will work much like a laxative. Do not use olive oil if your dog has vomiting or diarrhea as it could make these symptoms worse.
- Exercise– Exercise is a great way to help relieve a dog’s constipation. By walking your dog, you will get their bowels moving, which will stimulate a healthy movement. Other exercises, such as chase and fetch are also great ways to promote their healthy digestive tract.
- Make Sure Your Dog Has Access to Water- Your dog should always be able to find fresh water when they are thirsty. If you have concerns about dog constipation, you can try to encourage more drinking. If you notice they are not drinking, contact your vet as there could be serious health concerns.
- Laxatives or Stool Softner- It is not recommended you give your pet laxatives or stool softeners. These products should only be administered by your vet.
- Enema– If you are not able to help relieve your dog’s constipation, you may need to visit your local vet. They may suggest an enema, which is an injection of fluid into your dog’s lower bowel. This procedure can only be administered by a vet, do not attempt to do this at home.
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When Dogs Constipation Should be Treated by a Vet
Dogs constipation can be a result of something as simple as a new food your dog has eaten, or it can be a sign of serious disease. If your dog is constipated, call your vet right away and discuss the symptoms you’ve observed. Your vet will likely have you try one of the home remedies for dogs constipation listed above, and have you call if these treatments do not work.
Dog’s constipation could also be a physical issue, such as megacolon, where a dog cannot defecate normally. Megacolon happens when a dog’s colon becomes distended and loses its ability to move your dog’s feces through. Chronic constipation is a sign and contributor to this disorder.
If you have to visit your vet for dogs constipation, you will want to provide as much information as possible:
- Any signs of discomfort or distress you’ve seen in your dog, including lethargy, vomiting, or a bloated appearance
- The last time you saw your dog have a normal stool
- Any injuries your pet has suffered recently
- Any changes in your dog’s stool consistency and color
- Any drugs you have given to your dog recently
- All non-food items your dog may have had access to, such as cat litter or bones
Your vet may find it necessary to perform a number of tests or exams depending on the severity and duration of your dog’s constipation:
- Rectal exam
- Neurological exam
- Abdominal palpation
- Barium enema
- Radiographs of the stomach area
- Colonoscopy or ultrasound
- Complete blood count
Typically the treatment done by your vet for a dog’s constipation is mild, such as boosting the fiber in their diet or having them get more liquids. They may want to administer an enema or laxative if it seems your dog requires more immediate relief. For many dogs, constipation is an infrequent problem and can be kept under control with a balanced diet, exercise, and access to fresh water.
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