How to resolve constipation in dogs?

April 13, 2012

You surely have been constipated one time or another. You would know how uncomfortable and even painful the condition is. Thus don’t be too hard on your dog if you have taken it out several times and the pet would still be unable to go. Fido or Fifi is not being fastidious about the location where it will deposit its poop. It is possible that the dog is constipated.

Not many dog owners are aware that the pet can get constipated too. Doggie doors will allow pets to go whenever the need arises thus the owner would not see the pet straining without being able to pass stool. Dog owners that take the dog out would immediately see that something is wrong. After turning around several times, the crouched and straining dog will not be able to relieve itself. After straining harder the dog may be able to pass dry hard stool that is smaller in amount than the regular amount of feces. Similar to what we humans feel when we are constipated, dogs too would have an uncomfortable feeling of fullness. Left untreated, the condition can lead to long term health concerns. A constipated dog would be weak, depressed and lethargic. Constipation can leave a dog downright miserable and ill if the condition becomes severe. Inability to defecate will make the stool harder and dryer as even if the stool is not excreted, the salt and the water from the feces are continuously being removed thereby making it harder and dryer and consequently even more difficult to pass. Severe constipation will make the dog vomit and turn away from food. This will make the depressed dog even weaker. Constipation will make a dog extremely uncomfortable but the condition is not really life threatening. Constipation can be treated. Some cases of constipation would need medical care but commonly, the dog’s difficulty in passing stool can be treated at home. Treatment will naturally depend on the cause of constipation.

Is your dog a foreign object eater? Dogs, apart from being voracious eaters are indiscriminate eaters as well. The inability to pass stool may be due a blockage resulting from the ingestion of foreign objects. Vomiting is another sign of intestinal obstruction. Constipation can be associated with a medical condition. Anal tumor, polyp, enlarged prostate, intestinal intussusceptions, to name a few are medical conditions that can make passing of stool difficult. Parasite infestation is another cause of constipation. Constipation arising from these conditions would necessitate a vet’s attention. To resolve the dog’s constipation, the vet would need to conduct a rectal examination and require the dog to undergo radiography. Treatment will be administered once the cause of the condition is established. Commonly, treatment would consist of rehydrating the dog through an intravenous drip.

We know dogs to be voracious eaters but these animals are not too keen on drinking water. Insufficient water intake is one of the major causes of constipation. Water intake should be twice (or even more) the amount of food intake. The dog must be coached to drink more water. Placing bowls of water in several places around the house will entice the dog to drink more. Another common cause of constipation is unbalanced diet. A diet that is low in fiber will result to dry hard feces. Constipation arising from this cause can be resolved easily. The fiber in the dog’s diet can be increased by adding a teaspoon of bran to the meal of the dog. Mineral oil and pumpkin can also be given to the dog to soften the stool. Laxatives and enemas will resolve a dog’s severe case of constipation.

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