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My dog is constipated! What should I do?

My dog is constipated! What should I do?

Dogs often experience digestive issues, and constipation is one of the most frequent problems. In today's blog, our Ketchum vets discuss the causes of constipation in dogs and how you can help your pup.

Constipation in Dogs

If your dog is having trouble going to the bathroom, like they're struggling or not going at all, it could mean they have constipation. 

Dog owners must know that it's a veterinary emergency when a dog is unable to pass feces or is experiencing pain associated with passing feces. If this sounds like your dog, they require immediate care!

Other signs of trouble include your dog training to poop, their feces being hard and dry. If your dog is scooting on the ground a lot, circling excessively, or squatting without opposing, or if their lower back or stomach feels tense and painful when you touch it, it's time to see a vet right away.

Causes of Dog Constipation

There are a variety of reasons why a dog can become constipated. A few of the most common are:

  • Excessive or insufficient fiber in their diet
  • A side effect of medication
  • Lack of exercise
  • Excessive or insufficient fiber in his diet
  • Blocked or abscessed anal sacs
  • Other illnesses leading to dehydration
  • Excessive self-grooming (excessive amounts of hair to collect in the stool)
  • Ingested pieces of toys, gravel, plants, dirt, or bones caught in the intestinal tract
  • Sudden change in diet or sampling new foods
  • Trauma to pelvis
  • Neurological disorder
  • An orthopedic issue that's causing pain when a dog positions himself to defecate
  • Enlarged prostate gland
  • Matted hair surrounding the anus (caused by obesity or lack of grooming)
  • Obstruction caused by tumors or masses on the anus or within the rectum

Senior pets might experience constipation more frequently. However, any dog that's facing one or more of the scenarios listed above could suffer from constipation.

Common Constipation Symptoms in Dogs

Signs that your pet might be constipated include struggling to poop, crying, or crouching while trying to go. Also, if it's been more than two days since they have had a bowel movement, see your vet immediately.

Remember, these symptoms may be similar to those that may point to a urinary tract issue, so your vet will need to do a thorough checkup to determine the exact problem. 

What You Can Give Your Dog for Their Constipation

Google "How to treat constipation in dogs," and you'll find wide-ranging advice from trustworthy and dubious sources.

Never give your dog medications or treatments formulated for humans without consulting your vet first. Many human medications are toxic to dogs.

The best thing to do is contact your veterinarian and bring your dog in for an exam. The treatment for your dog's constipation will depend upon the underlying cause of your pup's condition.

If your dog has eaten something they shouldn't have,  there might be a blockage causing a problem. This is a medical emergency that will likely require urgent surgery.

Blood tests can check for dehydration or infection in your dog. Your vet will ask about your dog's health history, do a rectal exam to check for other issues, and may suggest different 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.

What Happens When Constipation in Dogs Goes Untreated

When your dog has constipation, and you don't treat it, they might get to a point where they can't poop by themselves, which is called constipation. The colon then becomes packed with an uncomfortably large amount of feces, causing lethargy, unproductive straining, loss of appetite, and potentially vomiting.

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.

Contact our vets in Ketchum today to schedule an appointment if you believe your dog is constipated.

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Sun Valley Animal Center is accepting new patients at our two convenient locations! Our vets are passionate about the health of our Valley's pets. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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