As one of the most common digestive problems among animals, constipation — the difficulty or inability to have normal bowel movements — can affect dogs of all breeds, ages, and lifestyles.
While constipation may be common in dogs, it should never be ignored. Left untreated, constipation can cause more serious health problems in the future, including lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
Below is a guide to understanding the causes of constipation, recognizing the symptoms, and treating your pet.
Causes of dog constipation
A variety of different factors can contribute to constipation in your pet. Some of the most common causes of dog constipation include:
- Blocked or abscessed anal sacks
- Enlarged prostate
- Ingested dirt, grass, or debris
- Ingested hair from excessive grooming
- Insufficient exercise
- Insufficient fiber in diet
- Kidney disease
- Side effects from medication
- Tumors or masses around the anus
Symptoms of dog constipation
If your dog has not defecated in two or more days, this is often a telltale sign that she is suffering from constipation. Additional indications of constipation include straining, crouching, or whimpering while trying to defecate. Grass particles, string, or matted feces around the anal area may also be signs of constipation in your dog.
Treatment for dog constipation
If you notice any signs of constipation in your dog, you should visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet can determine the causes of your dog’s constipation, and advise you on the best treatment method for your unique pet.
Common treatments for constipation include:
- Increasing your dog’s fiber intake by adding pumpkin, wheat bran, or fiber supplements
- Increasing exercise
- A dog laxative or stool softener
- An enema treatment
- Medication that will strengthen the large intestine
While constipation is natural in growing dogs, you can work to prevent it by helping your dog to get plenty of exercise, feeding her a healthy, fibrous diet, and ensuring she drinks plenty of water. If your dog is a male, neuter him at a young age to prevent prostate enlargement.
Boiled or canned pumpkin is a well-known supplement to help a dog’s digest system. What other natural remedies have you tried successfully?