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!
This article may contain affiliate links. As an Associate with Amazon and other companies, we may earn a commission if you click and purchase with one of our links. There’s no extra cost to you. Thanks!
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DOG CONSTIPATION
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.
WHAT CAUSES A DOG TO BE CONSTIPATED?
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.
TOO LITTLE EXERCISE
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.
TREATMENTS FOR DOG CONSTIPATION
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.
HOW TO RELIEVE CONSTIPATION IN MY DOG – THROUGH DIET
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.
HOW TO RELIEVE CONSTIPATION IN MY DOG – WITH EXERCISE
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.
HOW TO RELIEVE CONSTIPATION IN MY DOG – INCREASE HYDRATION
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.
HOW TO PREVENT CONSTIPATION IN DOGS
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.
IS CONSTIPATION IN DOGS DANGEROUS?
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!