Why is My Dog Constipated & What to Do

No pet parent likes to see their furry friend feeling the uncomfortable effect of constipation, but what can you do to help? Our San Angelo vets talk about the causes of constipation in dogs, the signs and what you can do to help your pup feel better.

Constipation Affecting Dogs

You may notice that your of is having a hard time tending to his or her business when you bring them outside. If they are having difficulties passing stools they may be experiencing a condition known as constipation.

Inability to pass feces, or pain associated with passing feces is considered a veterinary medical emergency and requires immediate care at your nearest animal hospital.

Ongoing straining while attempting to defecate as well as their stool being hard and dry are also telltale signs of this condition.

Some dogs may also pass mucus when trying to defecate, circle excessively, scoot along the ground, or squat frequently. If you press on their stomach or lower back, they may have a tense, painful abdomen that causes them to growl or cry.

The Common Causes of Constipation in Dogs

There are a large number of potential causes behind constipation in dogs. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Excessive or insufficient fiber in his diet
  • Other illness leading to dehydration
  • Blocked or abscessed anal sacs
  • Excessive self-grooming (may cause large amount of hair to collect in the stool)
  • Neurological disorder
  • Side effects of medication
  • Orthopedic issue causing pain when a dog positions himself to defecate
  • Enlarged prostate gland
  • Sudden change in diet or sampling new foods
  • Matted hair surrounding the anus (caused by obesity or lack of grooming)
  • Ingested pieces of toys, gravel, plants, dirt and bones caught in the intestinal tract
  • Obstruction caused by tumors or masses on the anus, or within the rectum
  • Trauma to pelvis

If you have an older dog then you may notice that they become constipated more frequently than they had in their youth. Even so, this condition can affect dogs of all ages and breeds.

Typical Symptoms of Dog Constipation

Signs of constipation include straining, crying or crouching when attempting to defecate. Also, if it’s been more than two days since he has had a bowel movement, you should visit your nearest veterinary hospital immediately.

Keep in mind that these symptoms may be similar to those that could point to a urinary tract issue, so it’s important that your vet perform a full physical exam to diagnose the cause.

Treatment Options For Dogs Suffering From Constipation

If you are looking for solutions to help relieve your dog's constipation then you may have tried searching for information on the internet which can lead to a large amount of confusing and potentially harmful information.

The best thing to do is check in with your veterinarian in San Angelo and bring your dog in for an exam. Blood tests may help reveal infection or dehydration. Your vet will take into account your dog's medical history as well as perform a complete physical examination and diagnostic testing in order to determine the cause behind your pet's solid stools.

  • A prescription diet high in fiber
  • A stool softener or another laxative
  • More exercise
  • Enema (administered by a professional, not at home, as there could be a risk of injury or toxicity if done incorrectly)
  • Adding more fiber to your dog’s diet (wheat bran, canned pumpkin or products such as Metamucil)
  • Small bowl of goat or cow milk
  • Medication to increase the large intestine’s contractile strength

When you are attempting to relieve your dog from constipation you should follow your vet's instructions closely. If you over-treat your dog you could end up causing them to experience diarrhea. You don’t want to trade one digestive problem for another.

Fortunately, at our San Angelo vet hospital, we have an in-house lab where diagnostic tests are performed and an in-house lab and pharmacy that’s stocked with a range of medications and prescription diets, providing us quick access to any medications your pet may need while in our care.

The Repercussions of Leaving Your Dog Untreated

If you do not bring your dog into a San Angelo veterinary hospital for care you are running the risk of them being entirely unable to empty their bowels. The colon then becomes packed with an uncomfortably large amount of feces, causing lethargy, unproductive straining, loss of appetite and potentially vomiting. This condition has the potential to be life-threatening.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you worried that your dog may be experiencing the effects of constipation? Visit our vets in San Angelo to have your dog's condition evaluated.