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Why is My Dog Constipated? What to Do

Why is My Dog Constipated? What to Do

Constipation can afflict dogs of any breed, age, or size, and is one of the most common digestive issues our Parrish vets diagnose in pets. Here, we list potential causes of constipation in dogs and how it can be treated. 

Is my dog constipated?

Have you noticed that your dog is passing, hard, dry stools? Perhaps there's mucus in their poop, or your pooch has not had a bowel movement in 48 hours or more. These symptoms point to constipation. 

A dog suffering from constipation may display a variety of symptoms. Constipated dogs often strain, crouch, or whine while attempting to defecate. If they've eaten grass or a foreign object such as string, you may notice this around their anal area. There may also be matted feces on their behind. 

In this post, we'll discuss common causes and signs of constipation in dogs, then share advice on what to do next if you think your dog might be constipated. 

What to Do If Your Dog is Constipated 

Since constipation can point to underlying health conditions or a medical emergency, we recommend bringing your dog to our Parrish veterinarians as soon as possible if they are showing any signs of this condition. 

Causes of Constipation in Dogs

Many factors can contribute to constipation in dogs, including: 

  • Insufficient fiber in your dog's diet 
  • Ingested hair from excessive self-grooming
  • Insufficient daily exercise
  • Enlarged prostate 
  • Pain due to orthopedic issues when attempting to defecate 
  • Tumors, masses or matted hair surrounding the anus 
  • Abscessed or blocked anal sacks 
  • Ingested items such as dirt, fabric, toys or grass 
  • Dehydration 

How is constipation in dogs treated?

When you bring your dog to the vet for constipation, they will perform a full physical exam and possibly some diagnostics to determine the root of the ailment. Based on the cause of the constipation, your vet will prescribe medical or some other at-home remedy.

What can I give my dog for constipation?

If your dog is constipated, don't rush to try random remedies you find online. It's important to consult your vet first. Some human treatments can be harmful to dogs.

The best approach is to contact your vet and schedule an exam for your dog. The treatment will depend on what's causing the constipation.

If your dog ate something they shouldn't have, it could be causing a blockage, which is a serious issue requiring urgent dog surgery.

Blood tests could show if your pup is suffering from dehydration or has an infection. Your vet will probably ask about your dog's medical history, conduct a rectal examination to rule out other abnormalities or causes, and might recommend one or a combination of the following at-home or medical treatments:

  • 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.

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.

Is your dog showing signs of constipation? Contact our Parrish vets for an appointment.

New Patients Welcome

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

Contact (941) 776-1100