Constipation is a common problem seen by our Bonita Springs vets across all dog breeds. In today's post, our vets offer some advice on what to do if your dog is constipated and when to seek emergency care.
My Dog is Constipated
If you notice your dog is passing hard, dry stools, or is straining while trying to pass a bowel movement there is a good chance they are suffering from constipation. Not having a bowel movement for two or more days can be another clear sign that your pet is constipated. Some other dog constipation symptoms straining, crouching, or whining while trying to defecate, or mucus in their stool. In some cases, you may even notice grass, string or matted feces around your dog's anal area.
Causes of Constipation in Dogs
There are many reasons why your pooch might become constipated. Some of the most common reasons for constipation in dogs include:
- Ingested items such as toys, dirt, grass, or fabric pieces (rugs, clothing or towels)
- Pain caused by orthopedic issues when trying to pass a bowel movement
- Abscessed or blocked anal sacks
- Insufficient fiber in diet
- Tumors, masses, or matted hair around the anus
- Enlarged prostate
- Ingested hair from excessive self-grooming
- Insufficient daily exercise
What to do if Your Dog is Constipated
If you notice that your dog is showing any of the symptoms of constipation listed above, you should arrange to make an appointment with your veterinarian. Many symptoms of constipation can be indications of other serious health issues. If your dog has ingested a foreign object or is displaying any other symptoms such as vomiting or weakness this is an emergency situation and you should bring your dog to an emergency vet as soon as possible.
Treatment for your constipated dog will depend upon the underlying cause of your pet's discomfort. Your veterinarian will examine your pup for indications as to the underlying cause. If the ingestion of a foreign object is suspected x-rays may be recommended so that the object, and where exactly it is located, can be identified.
Once the underlying cause of your dog's constipation has been determined your veterinarian will recommend the best treatment for your dog's specific case.
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 of ingestion, life-saving veterinary surgery may be required to remove the object and prevent severe blockages and damage to your dog's digestive tract.
What can I give my dog for constipation at home?
Always check with your veterinarian before trying any at-home constipation remedies. A few options to help mild constipation in dogs are:
- Increase their water intake
- Try incorporating easy to digest foods, such as canned pumpkin or bran into their diets
- Increase your pup's exercise
- Try switching to a food brand that has added fiber to help with digestion
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.