To prevent constipation, provide high-quality nutrition, great food, a diet rich in fiber, enough clean water, and plenty of exercise.

Are dogs prone to constipation? Can your Fido experience the same gut challenges you do?

Said, the answer is yes.

Dogs can feel pain, meaning they can also feel countless health-related disturbances.

In practice, this means that your dog will suffer when constipation occurs. But there are a few things you can do to help your dog. 

  • Serve your dog the best possible food
  • Provide enough vegetables
  • Limit human foods 
  • Provide enough walk and exercise time

If the answer to all these questions is yes, you may still expect to see constipation-related issues in your dog.

Dogs, especially puppies, are goofy enough to explore everything around them, which is why they will even swallow the smallest toy, dirt, or bones resulting in constipation.

Luckily, when this occurs, you will be fast to catch it because your dog won’t eat, and you will know that something is wrong; in general, loss of appetite is a common sign of many health issues in dogs, and the first red flag to contact your veterinarian.

Constipation in dogs

Dog constipation can start suddenly, but it never begins without a good reason.

A swallowed toy, sand, poor nutrition, not enough fiber, eating something non-digestible are some of the many reasons constipation may occur in dogs.

It can last for only a day or many days. It can also end as suddenly as it appears.

Is constipation in dogs identical to constipation in humans? Constipation in dogs occurs when they cannot produce stool during a single day. So, yes, constipation in dogs works just like it works in humans.

When dogs are constipated, they will still try to defecate. In some cases, defecating can be very painful when the stool is rock-hard.

Constipation symptoms in dogs

Sad border collie with food allergies lies near food bowl.
Constipation symptoms include refusing to eat, decreased appetite, and depression.

Experienced dog owners know that any unusual behavior or new symptom indicates that the dog needs help. This is why knowing how your dog usually acts can help him tremendously.

Your dog trying to “go” and nothing happening is the most apparent constipation symptom.

Other symptoms to watch for:

  • Refusing to eat
  • Lack of defecation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depression
  • Hard stool
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Difficult defecation
  • Bloody stool
  • Snot with stool

Constipation can happen to any dog, even puppies. Still, this often painful condition is commonly seen in senior dogs due to the lack of electrolytes or even kidney problems.

The number one reason for constipation in dogs is poor feeding habits. Provide high-quality nutrition, great food, a diet rich in fiber, enough clean water, and enough exercise.

Fast tips for great dog nutrition

  • Know how much you should feed your dog based on the dog’s size, age, sex, and activity
  • Serve meals based on fundamental ingredients
  • Serve vegetable
  • Increase energy level
  • Bring diversity to dog’s everyday diet
  • Learn how to read pet food labels

Pro tip: Dogs should eat only 10% of fruit and vegetable of their entire diet.

What about meat? If you are thinking about raw food diet, talk to your veterinarian first. If you are thinking, “Can dogs eat cooked meat?” Know that you should always serve meat without bones or seasonings, such as garlic and onion because they are dangerous for dogs.

Treatment for canine constipation

Dog constipation will occur many times throughout a dog’s life. Causes will always vary, but treatment will mostly be the same. Luckily, this condition is treatable and, in general, should disappear without any consequences.

Watching your dog suffer isn’t an option, which is why you should do your best to help him ease his pain. Here is how to do that.

Happy Yorkshire Terrier goes for a walk. Short walks or quick play sessions keep Yorkies happy and healthy.
Daily walks help your dog stay regular.

Home remedies

Since constipation is usually linked with nutrition, it is no surprise that specific home remedies are effective. Simple changes in a dog’s lifestyle can bring results fast and even on a budget.

Here are the most common home remedies:

  • Extra exercise. Regular exercise will keep the dog’s weight in balance, joints healthy and strong, and mind sharp. Long walks also help move their bowels (like in humans). To promote a healthy digestive tract, include running, fast walks, fetch, and chase.
  • Access to freshwater. Your Fido should always have access to freshwater. If you notice your dog not drinking enough water, contact your veterinarian.
  • Canned dog food. Soft food rich in moisture should help regulate the digestive system. As a result, it should create softer stool.

Veterinarian support

Male vet holds Maltese puppy. When determining the right time to neuter your dog, consider your dog's breed, size, and sex, and consult with your veterinarian.
If your dog is suffering from constipation, consult with your veterinarian.

When home remedies fail, or you don’t want to try them (for whatever the reason might be, which is ok), you should contact your veterinarian. Make sure that you know your dog’s medical history detailed symptoms and that you trust the veterinarian.

Fast checklist

  • Know when was the last time your dog had a normal bowel movement
  • Stool color
  • Injuries
  • Signs of discomfort
  • Changes in dog’s diet
  • Changes in dog’s routine

The veterinarian may often recommend home remedies unless your dog fights persistent or chronic constipation.

In that case, some of the recommendations may include:

  • Laxative medication
  • Manual removal
  • Surgery
  • Enzyme-blocking medications
  • Nerve-stimulating medications
  • Fiber-rich diet
  • Enemas
  • Powdered fiber supplements
  • Laxative medication

Potential complications

Sad boxer suffers from diarrhea. Use home remedies like boiled potatoes or rice to treat diarrhea, vomiting.
Constipation can cause serious complications.

Treat anything unusual. If constipation in your dog goes untreated, it can quickly develop into obstipation.

Obstipation means that the colon is packed with stool, and the dog cannot pass it. This is how a condition called megacolon occurs.

Megacolon can lead to numerous complications and often requires medical intervention. It’s not uncommon for a veterinarian to perform a manual stool removal called de-obstipation.

Even if constipation doesn’t sound like a big problem, it can lead to multiple procedures and even high costs.

All in all, it can put your dog’s health at risk. Do your best to provide the proper nutrition and care for your Fido as a responsible dog owner should.

Keep your dog constipation-free

Prevention is the key when it comes to having a healthy dog.

Proper nutrition and regular exercise can do wonders for your dog’s bowel movement. Make sure that you use that to your advantage.

Constipation will be a one-time occurrence for most dogs, or overall an infrequent problem.

To keep it under control, serve the right food and amount, and keep Fido’s diet well-balanced.

Provide clean and fresh water and spend at least 30-minutes a day walking with your dog. Activity is great for your dog’s overall movement and your heart.

Bojana Radulovic is an editor at Barking Royalty, a dog-related information website provider established in 2015. She is also a mom of Mina, a mutt adopted in 2018.

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