If your canine pal suffers from constipation, he’ll have difficulty passing stool or experience infrequent bowel movements. The stool is hard and dry, and may cause straining, pain, and some bleeding. Constipation in dogs is something you should address right away. Read on to learn more about home remedies for dog constipation.
Causes and Symptoms
If your dog is prone to indiscriminate eating, he may ingest something indigestible or a substance that causes stomach irritation, and this could lead to constipation. Ingestion of excess hair is also a common cause of constipation in long-haired breeds, and especially in dogs who excessively lick themselves or self-groom.
Constipation may also be caused by any of the following:
- Anxiety, stress, fear, or other behavioral problems that may affect their digestion and bowel movements
- Lack of physical activity
- Dietary change, especially when it’s sudden
- Lack of fiber in the diet
- Being an elderly dog
- Dehydration or electrolyte imbalances
- Colon issues, such as an enlarged colon or masses or tumors in the colon
- Intestinal obstruction by a foreign and indigestible object
- Chronic pain, such as from osteoarthritis, which may make it uncomfortable and painful to hunch to pass stool
- Hormonal problems, such as hypothyroidism
- Pelvic problems
- Masses or tumors in the rectum, or anal gland issues
- Certain drugs, including antihistamines, diuretics, and pain relievers
The longer fecal matter is retained in the colon, the dryer and harder it becomes as the colon absorbs all the water from it; the natural result is that it becomes even more difficult to pass. Your dog may suffer from dehydration if his constipation lasts more than a few days.
Excessive straining may also cause passing of small amounts of blood, liquid feces, or both. This should not be confused with diarrhea as the liquid feces is typically very small in amount.
Home Remedies for Dog Constipation
If your constipated dog is not presenting with other symptoms, you can try the following home remedies during the first day or two to help get his bowels moving again.
- Plain, boiled pumpkin or plain canned pumpkin. It’s best to feed it to your dog plain and straight; most dogs usually love the creamy texture and flavor of pumpkin. Pumpkin is high in fiber and water and is often very helpful in regulating bowel movements.
- Wet dog food. If Fido’s normal diet is dry formula, try switching him to canned dog food to increase his water intake.
- Increase water intake. It may also help to give him a drink with electrolytes.
- Common natural remedies for constipation for humans, such as fig paste, ginger, olive oil, powdered psyllium seeds, and wheat bran. You should always consult your vet before giving your pet a natural remedy, especially if it’s typically used by humans. But some studies have shown that these remedies are safe enough and may even be effective in helping ease constipation in dogs.
- Increase physical activity.
- CBD oil to help relieve stress. When stress is causing your dog’s constipation, easing his stress may help get him back to regularly scheduled bowel programming. Again, seek your vet’s advice regarding using CBD oil to address your pet pal’s constipation.
If your dog still has difficulty passing stool after two or three days, you should have your vet give him a full workup. If the cause of the constipation is a medical condition, Fido will need proper medical treatment. Prolonged constipation and/or an underlying problem that is left untreated can lead to more serious and even fatal complications.
Always err on the side of caution, especially if your dog’s constipation is accompanied by other symptoms, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, and severe dehydration. The presence of other symptoms indicate a more serious health problem that definitely requires immediate medical attention.
Chronic constipation may lead to the formation and accumulation of hard and dry fecal matter in the colon; known as obstipation, the accumulated fecal matter becomes compacted and more difficult to pass. Without proper treatment, obstipation can lead to megacolon, which is a more serious and often irreversible condition characterized by the colon becoming distended and no longer able to contract and move feces. Chronic constipation can contribute to the development of megacolon, or may be a symptom of the condition.
Constipation affects all dogs at some point in their lives, and is usually a mild problem that can be easily remedied at home. You can prevent constipation by making sure that Fido has a well-balanced diet, is adequately hydrated, and engages in regular exercise.