How to Treat Constipation in Dogs? 3 Methods To Make Your Dog Move - Canine Compilation
Dog can't poop? How to fix constipation in dogs - picture of dog trying to poop

How to Treat Constipation in Dogs? 3 Methods To Make Your Dog Move

My Dog Is Constipated! 3 Essential but Simple Ways to Help a Constipated Dog

Most of us know that not having enough fibre in our diet causes constipation. While this can be one of the causes of constipation for dogs too, it’s not the only reason. In fact, many other things can contribute to canine constipation – and some are much more difficult to treat than others.

In this article, we’ll look at reasons why dogs get constipated, the symptoms of constipation in dogs and different ways you can relieve your pup’s discomfort when he can’t poop!

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Why is my dog straining to poop?

So how do you know if your dog is constipated or not? Here are some common symptoms of a dog who is constipated.

  • No bowel movement: It’s not unusual for a dog to go a day without pooping. However, if there’s been no bowel movement for more than 48 hours, this is a clear sign that something isn’t right.
  • Straining: If your dog seems to strain when pooping, with little or no faeces coming out, this could indicate constipation.
  • Small and hard stools: Hard, dry, and compacted poop may be a sign of constipation.
  • Blood in dog poop: You may notice some blood in the stools when a dog is constipated.
  • Cries, whines or yelps when trying to poop: Being constipated can be very painful. Some dogs might yelp from the discomfort of trying to poop.
Dog can't poop? How to fix constipation in dogs - picture of dog trying to poop


You might have realised that your dog has a toileting problem, but do not know why. The 3 most common causes of canine constipation are diet, activity levels and hydration. These are also the easiest to treat.


A change in diet can sometimes temporarily affect a dog’s toileting, as can the food they are eating.

Fibre: Dogs can become constipated from eating either too much or too little fibre. A dog’s digestive system isn’t designed to process excessive amounts of fibre, but they do need some to aid digestion and regulate the bowels.

Too much bone: For raw fed dogs, hard, chalky-white stools often indicate that there is too much bone in the diet.


Dogs who don’t get enough physical exertion are more likely to suffer from constipation than their active counterparts.


If your dog isn’t drinking enough water, this can lead to constipation.

However, canine constipation can be a symptom of an underlying health issue. So what are the different types of constipation in dogs related to potential health problems? Here are some of the more common reasons.

  • Grooming too much. If your dog is grooming a lot, this could be the cause of his constipation. Excessive licking means that your fur baby is digesting his own hair. This creates matted-up and dense stools, and even blockages. The question is, why is he licking excessively? See your vet to get to the bottom of the problem.
  • Eating Foreign Objects. I’ve been so lucky with my dogs – I’ve never had a dog that has the habit of eating things he shouldn’t. I’m not referring to fox poo, or the piece of meat I inadvertently left on the table, that he snarfed when I turned my back. Nope, I mean dogs that eat tennis balls, socks, toys, or whatever else they can get their chops on.
    Every week I see pet parents sharing horror stories about the latest vet visit to remove something their dog ate, but shouldn’t have. You might think it’s only larger objects that can cause a problem, but it isn’t – eating gravel or sand can do cause constipation and blockages too, for instance.
    If you’re concerned about your dog eating a foreign object or if your dog is vomiting, contact your vet immediately. Blockages can be fatal.
  • Tumours. Whether in the digestive system, the rectum or anus, tumourous growths can cause constipation.
  • Anal glands. Problems with anal glands can result in constipation.
  • Stress. Just like us, our dogs can suffer from stress, and stress can lead to toileting problems.


If you want to know how to treat constipation in dogs at home, so long as it’s caused by one of the 3 main culprits – diet, exercise and dehydration – the problem is fairly easy to fix. For anything else, you’ll probably need a vet visit to understand what’s causing it.


What food helps dogs with constipation? Feeding fruit or veg that provide fibre can often fix constipation. Is pumpkin good for constipation in dogs? Absolutely, and pumpkin is a favourite, but not the only option by any means. Mashed pumpkin on a lickimat makes for a great healthy treat for dogs. Here are some other ways to add pumpkin to your dog’s diet.

Broccoli, microgreens, blueberries, leafy greens, carrots and apples all provide fibre and plenty of other nutritional benefits too.

Chop up and add some of these food items to your dog’s diet or make them into treats. If your pup is a fussy eater, like mine, you might have to blitz the fruit/veg in a blender and then mix it in well with her normal dog food.

For my raw fed dog, around 10% of her diet is fibre.

Depending on why your dog suffers from constipation, your vet may suggest you feed your dog a prescription diet. This is sometimes the case with underlying health conditions.


If your dog is very inactive, he is more likely to have problems pooping. Add more exercise to your dog’s day to get him and his bowels moving!

If your pup dislikes going out for a walk (yes, there are some dogs that hate going for a walk), provide alternative forms of exercise at home. Free work, nose work, and games all get a dog moving. In addition, activities like sniffing and having choices are essential to a dog’s well being.

These products are all fantastic ways of getting your dog moving around for food, in an enriching and fun way.


Some pups just don’t drink enough, even if their water bowl is always clean and full. Here are some tips to get your dog to drink more and avoid dehydration:

  • Add water to their dog food – especially in the case of kibble. Leave it to soak for a few minutes before serving.
  • Offer your dog bone broth. Most dogs love it – you can get a recipe here.
  • Some pet parents have asked ‘Is yogurt good for constipation in dogs?’. Plain Greek yogurt or kefir are both excellent probiotics for dogs and will help with digestion. My pup gets yogurt or kefir on a lickimat every day.


If your dog is constipated, you can try stool softeners. Stool softeners can help relieve constipation. However, unless you’re pretty certain what’s causing the constipation, stool softeners will simply mask the problem.

What’s more, long term use of some medication can affect general health in other ways. Consult your vet to get to the bottom of the problem.


Just like humans, dogs need a good diet with enough fibre, plenty of liquids and regular exercise.

If your dog is on prescription food or medication (which can be constipating), make sure you follow the feeding/dosage guidelines. However, talk with your vet to adjust amounts if you see that the food or medication causes problems for your dog.

Dog can't poop? How to fix constipation in dogs - picture of dog trying to poop


Left untreated, constipation can become a serious health problem.

Obstipation – severe constipation – can result from faecal matter building up too much. this is very painful for your dog and in some cases needs surgery.

Constipation due to blockage by foreign objects can be extremely dangerous.


We looked at how to know when your dog is constipated, the common symptoms of canine constipation, what dog constipation is caused by and finally, what to do if your dog can’t poop. So, if you’re looking for how to treat constipation in dogs naturally, start with food, hydration and exercise. What’s good for constipation in dogs? The same as what’s good for us – a healthy, balanced life!

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