Constipation is the inability to produce healthy stool on a regular schedule. For a dog, this is once or twice per day. Dogs who are constipated will either strain to defecate or not be able to “go” at all.
In chronic (long-lasting) cases, they may retain hard, dry stool in their digestive tract. This is known as obstipation.
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Signs of Constipation in Dogs
- Lack of defecation for two or more consecutive days
- Hard, dry stool
- Straining to defecate with little or no result
- Painful or difficult defecation
- Stool mixed with blood
Causes of Constipation in Dogs
Most veterinary resources list many reasons…some as simple as lack of exercise, but others revealing more severe issues. These causes are separated into three categories.
- Intraluminal (pertaining to blockages in the colon)
- Extraluminal (pertaining to blockages outside the colon, such as tumors)
- Intrinsic (diseases or nerve injuries)
Some of the most common causes of constipation in dogs include:
- Diet – Severe lack of fiber or abundance of calcium can lead to constipation. Also, dogs tend to eat things that are not food – toys, cloth, sticks, small rocks, etc. – these may cause blockages.
- Age – Older dogs seem to be more prone to constipation.
- Exercise – Lower activity levels tend to result in slower transit of fecal matter through the digestive system.
- Tumors – Tumors outside of the colon can narrow the pelvic region.
- Medication – Certain drugs, especially opiates (pain-killers) can cause constipation. This is the case after a surgery or injury.
- Spinal Diseases or Injuries
- Stress or Psychological Problems
Natural Constipation Remedies for Dogs
Because pumpkin is high in both fiber and moisture, it usually works well for getting things back to normal.
Get a fresh pumpkin, peel it, grate it, and feed up to 5 tablespoons twice per day. More than this could cause diarrhea. If fresh pumpkins aren’t available, canned pumpkin works just as well. Using sugar-free, 100% canned pumpkin, add one teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight 1-2 times daily on food. Be sure to use 100% pumpkin…not canned pumpkin pie mix as this includes various sugars and spices that will upset your pup’s digestive system.
Using pumpkin should generate results within 24 hours. If your dog isn’t able to “go” after this treatment, contact your vet as there may be a more serious underlying issue.
Usually, you wouldn’t consider giving your dog milk. But in dogs, milk acts as a gentle laxative. In most cases, a small bowl will usually get things going again usually within just a few hours.
Probiotics are the “good bacteria” that live in our digestive system…and in our dog’s. A probiotic supplement can help with many areas of your pup’s health. It can relieve yeast infections, reduce bad breath, support the immune system, reduce gas…and can also help with constipation.
Protect Me is the dog probiotic and digestive support supplement from TruDog that supports overall GI maintenance, health, and nutrient absorption. It also aids overall health with a potent blend of 5 billion live organisms per gram.
These remedies will work in most cases. If you try any one of these helpful constipation remedies and don’t see results, we advise contacting your vet, as there may be a more serious underlying health issue.