Dogs are accredited with the title ‘Man’s best friend’ because of their intelligence, loyalty, affection and devotion. Dog owners are closely connected with their pets, and anything hurting them can worry the owners a lot. Constipation in dogs can be a genuine matter of concern for dog owners. This article provides quality information on what is constipation in dogs, what causes constipation in dogs, what to give a dog for constipation, what are treatments provided for constipation, and much more. So read on.
What Is Constipation?
Constipation is the absent, infrequent or difficult bowel movements in dog. Constipation one of the common digestive system related health issue that most dogs suffer from. The signs exhibited include dry and hard stools passed with difficulty while defecating. Constipation is also an indication of a disorder like hypothyroidism. Another sign of hypothyroidism is the occurrence of mucus in the feces of dog.
What Causes Constipation In Dogs?
Several reasons may be behind your dog’s constipation.
- Lack of sufficient fiber in the diet
- Abscessed or blocked anal sacs
- Lack of exercise
- Neurologic disorder
- Side effect of drugs
- Excessive self grooming that paves way for a large number of dog hairs to get in to his stool
- Enlarged prostate gland
- A tumor or matted hair that obstructs at the anus
- Ingested gravel, bones, dirt, stones, plants or other foreign objects that get trapped in the GI tract
- Orthopedic issue that leads to pain when the dog positions to defecate
- Dehydration as a result of other illness
How To Know If Your Dog Is Constipated?
The following are the signs by which you can know that your dog is having constipation.
- Your dog has not passed his stool for two or more consecutive days.
- Your dog strains while passing his stool.
- Your dog cries while trying to defecate.
- Your dog crouches while attempting to pass his stool.
The above are the signs that your dog may be suffering from constipation. In certain cases, the above given signs may indicate a urinary tract problem in your dog. Therefore, it is important that you take your dog to a vet upon observing such signs.
Are Some Dogs Prone To Constipation?
Elderly dogs suffer from strained or infrequent bowel movements every now and then. However, even young and adult dogs which are not provided with enough dietary fiber, do not get sufficient physical exercise, or suffer from any one or more causes of constipation, may be suffering from constipation.
What To Do When Your Dog Is Constipated?
Your vet may suggest one or more of the treatments given below depending on the cause behind your dog’s constipation:
- A feces softener or another laxative agent
- Drugs to raise the contractile strength of the large intestine
- Increasing the dietary fiber content of your dog’s food by adding canned pumpkin, Metamucil, or wheat bran
- Increasing the physical exercise of your dog
- Administering an enema. This should be done by a professional, not by yourself at your home
Why Is It Important To Treat Constipation In Dogs?
Providing your dog with the right treatment for his constipation is very much necessary as leaving it untreated can lead to a serious complication called obstipation. Obstipation is the inability of a dog to empty his colon by himself via defecation. Under such a condition, the dog’s colon is overloaded with a large quantity of stool that makes him extremely uncomfortable and causes unyielding straining. Besides, he becomes lethargic, losses his appetite, and sometimes even vomits.
What To Do If Your Dog Is Constipated?
These immediate care tips should be given for constipated dogs:
- If you notice a string or thread hanging out from your dog’s anus, do not try to pull it out as this can lead to internal damage in him.
- Never handle his feces or tend to his anal related issues bare handedly. Instead, always be mindful to wear rubber gloves while you do those things.
- If you notice grass in his anus, ease it out in a gentle manner.
- Wash his anal area with warm water mixed with soap. After it dries out, apply a water soluble soothing jelly to the inflammation.
- Measure your dog’s temperature. If you find it to be abnormally high, or if you find blood sticking to the thermometer, or if you sense any resistance when you insert the thermometer into his anus, take him to your vet immediately.
- If your dog is long-haired like lhasa Apsos or Yorkie, he will feel quite a lot of discomfort from matted feces in his anal region and from the trimming process. In such cases, soak your dog’s posterior region in warm water, allow it to soften, and now start trimming him.
What Is The Veterinary Care Given To Constipated Dogs?
Your constipated dog may be prescribed common tests like radiography, blood test and abdominal ultrasound to find the underlying reason behind it. In certain cases, your dog may be admitted in the hospital and administered enemas in order to take away the obstruction in the anus. He may also be administered fluids under his skin in case he has got too much dehydrated. This will ensure that his GI tract is well hydrated. In case your male dog is experiencing constipation as a result of his prostrate, the vet may recommend castrating him. If your dog is suffering from severe constipation, your vet may administer intravenous fluids too.
What Are The Home Remedies For Constipation?
When your dog is constipated, not only he gets uncomfortable, but also may end up getting canine hemorrhoids. Here are some home remedies suggested for dealing with constipated dogs. Ensure that you are following just one of the methods described below. If any 2 or more of the following are applied, your dog may end up having severe diarrhea, leading to dehydration. This is a list of what to give a dog for constipation.
Give him canned food: If you have been giving your dog only dry food, feed him with canned food for two days. The increased amount of moisture in his food will ease your dog’s bowel movement in a period of 12 hours.
Give him canned pumpkin: Some vets advice dog owners to feed their constipated dogs with canned pumpkin. Since the taste of pumpkin is delicious, your dog will readily relish it. The high fiber and water content in the canned pumpkin will help your dog pass his feces immediately. However, never use pumpkin pie filling instead of canned pumpkin as the sugars and spices contained in it is not suitable for your dog right now.
Give him milk: Milk is one of the common foods found in your home. It is an excellent canine laxative. Give your dog a small bowl of warm milk. His constipation will be relieved within a few hours from it.
Give him some gravy: Giving your dog some canned or jarred gravy is recommended when he has constipation, as it is sure to relieve his constipation. However, be sure not to overdo it. A few tablespoons of gravy is enough.
Give him mineral oil or olive oil: Add some mineral oil or olive oil to the regular food of your dog. This will help him to defecate immediately on the next morning. However be careful to add only a little amount of oil to his food. Else, he might get diarrhea. Trading constipation for diarrhea will never be a solution to his problem.
Give him Aloe Vera Juice: Some dog owners provide relief to their dogs from constipation by providing them with a small quantity of aloe vera juice. However, there is some debate about this among the vets. So, to be on the safer side, consult your bet before giving your pet some aloe vera juice.
Give him ginger and chicken broth: Mix ¼ of a teaspoon of ginger with half a cup of chicken broth or beef broth. Make your pup to ingest this. It is a good home remedy for constipated dogs. This works because gingers aids in digestion and in effective bowel movement. The fat content in the chicken or beef broth helps in moving his stomach contents along his intestinal tract.
Give him green beans: Green beans help in beating constipation in dogs. Offer green beans as a treat to your dog.
Provide him with plenty of fresh and clean water: Lack of fluids is the most common reason behind constipation in household pets. Always make fresh and clean water available to your pet. Let the bowl of water be in his reach all through the day. Check his water bowl every day and replace fresh water in it.
If your dog is having constipation for more than 24 hours, or if vomiting accompanies his constipation, immediately take him to the vet. This is because these may indicate serious underlying problems like an obstruction in his intestines. This is therefore not the time to try home remedies.
How To Prevent Constipation In Dogs?
Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to your dog’s constipation. Here are certain things that you should follow in order to prevent your dog from being constipated.
Restrict Him From Eating Grass
It is natural for your dog to feed on green grass occasionally. However, this is not a good habit. Therefore, it should be controlled to the maximum possible extent, as this is one of the factors contributing to constipation in domesticated dogs.
Give Him Enough Exercise
Sedentary dogs easily are constipated. This is not the case with active dogs that actually hunt for their food. Exercise is important for keeping your dog in a healthy condition, and for preventing him from being constipated. If your dog’s life style is active, the waste material from his system freely moves through his digestive tract and gets out of it as stool. Besides, exercise also improves digestion and promotes the expulsion of body waste. So, never take any excuses to not top exercise your furry pet. Exercise him regularly. Take him for a walk; hide his food and let him hunt for it; and do many more. Exercising is not only a means of preventing constipation in your dog, but also to bond with your pet.
- Provide Him With A High Fiber Diet
If you are still wondering what to give a dog for constipation, fiber is the most often given by vets. Providing your dog with adequate dietary fiber is a big means to beat constipation in dogs. Fiber is an important part of your dog’s diet. It works by absorbing water into the dog’s food and making it easier for him to pass his feces. Besides, fiber also helps in maintaining your dog’s health by providing him with bulk and thus preventing him from over eating. Too much fiber should be given however, as this may prevent the absorption of minerals and vitamins into your pet’s body. A healthy dog- diet should be comprised 2.5 to 4.5 of fiber. In case your dog is suffering from constipation, you can slightly increase this percent to provide him a quick relief from constipation.
- Provide Him With Sufficient Hydration
Drinking an excessive amount of water cannot be a cure for constipation. However, the most important reason behind constipation is dehydration. When your dog’s colon absorbs water from the food into it, before your dog’s food is processed. If there is lack of enough water in the food, his stool becomes dry and hard. So, provide him with plenty of fresh and clean water regularly. Since your dog by his instinct knows how much water is necessary for him, you need not be afraid of over feeding him with water.
- Give Him Low-Grain Pet Food
High grain dog’s diet is not easily processed by your dog’s digestive system. So offer him a low grain diet that combines vegetables and meat. This kind of dog diet is increasingly getting popular now-a-days as this prevents dogs from getting constipated.
- Other Measures
- Prevent your dog from gaining access to dog bones, and foreign items that may enter his GI tract and obstruct it.
- Neuter your male dog in order to prevent constipation resulting from prostrate.