What can I give my dog when he is constipated?

April 13, 2012

A dog owner may see the pet repeatedly straining without being able to pass stool. Constipation is not the sole concern of humans. Dogs can get constipated too. Similar to constipated humans, dogs with defecating difficulties would have an uncomfortable feeling of fullness. A constipated dog is an unhappy dog. Constipation is usually not a serious concern. After a while, the dog’s inability to pass stool will be resolved even if the dog owner does not administer any treatment. There are two types of constipation -acute and chronic. Acute constipation is usually self-limiting. After several tries, the dog will be able to growl its version of SUCCESS! Chronic constipation is another matter. The condition is an indication of an underlying concern. A dog owner may ignore the pet’s acute constipation but chronic constipation will certainly need medical attention.

Just as with humans, dogs too need to do their business every day. If dogs are unable to relieve themselves, the stool will get harder causing a condition known as megacolon. Hard stools that are not excreted will cause build up of toxins. Toxins that should have been excreted would go back into the body and cause the development of health concerns. A dog owner that takes the dog out to do its business would be aware that the pet is unable to defecate. However, owners that have trained the dog to use a doggie door in going outdoors to its own bathroom may not be aware that the pet is constipated. In this case, the owner has to take note of the other signs of constipation. Constipated dog would manifest an antsy behavior. The inability to relieve itself will make a dog very uncomfortable. A dog that has not relieved itself for a while would have a bloated belly. The dog will show sensitivity when the abdominal area is touched. Due to abdominal pain and to the feeling of being full, the dog may turn away from food.

Occasional constipation is easy to resolve. This kind of constipation is commonly caused by the dog’s dietary indiscretion. Constipation can also be caused by the dog’s poor quality diet. This concern can be resolved easily by changing the diet to one that is high in fiber content. To retain the moisture of stools, 1 or 2 teaspoons of bran or 2 teaspoons of mineral oil can be added to the dog’s meal twice a day. A mild laxative can be given to the pet if these remedies failed to work. One half cup of milk given to the pet can relieve the constipation as milk can lubricate the colon. Stools that are not excreted become harder and more difficult to pass. Enema is commonly administered to resolve severe cases of constipation. Chronic constipation can be an indication of a health concern. The constipation can be due to a severe intestinal parasite infestation. The dog’s recurring inability to defecate can be due to a prostate disease, or one of the effects of gallbladder or liver dysfunction.

There are ways by which the constipation of the pet can be prevented. One way of ensuring that the pet moves its bowel regularly is to encourage the pet to drink more water. This can be done by placing several bowls of water around the house. Regular opportunities to exercise not only keep the dog fit and enhance the bond between dog and master. Walking and running prevents constipation as these activities help keep regular bowel movements. Although most cases of constipation are not serious concerns, it would still be the dog owner’s responsibility to see changes in the dog’s behavior. Lethargy and passing small amounts of bloodied stool is a case for the vet. The dog must be given immediate medical attention to prevent the development of any life threatening concerns.

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