Although it’s not always a sign of a dangerous underlying condition, constipation is very common in dogs. In most cases, you can treat your pooch at home and won’t require a trip to the vet. For example, changing your dog’s diet and adding fiber-rich ingredients (like pumpkin) to it can solve this problem. Keep reading to know about the common causes and learn some useful home remedies for your dog’s constipation.
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Causes for a Dog’s Constipation
Digestive system irregularities are quite normal for canines and owners shouldn’t worry too much about them. However, it’s important to understand the reason for constipation to avoid it in the future. Some of the most significant factors that contribute to canine constipation are as follows.
Water is an integral ingredient for a dog’s digestive system because it helps the food move along. If there is not enough water, the stools would become hard and it will be difficult to eliminate. Hence, you should ensure the availability of fresh water for your pooch at all times.
Dogs need a substantial amount of fiber in their diet for ensuring smooth bowel movements and regular defecation. If a pup is not getting enough fiber, constipation is the most likely outcome.
Exercise is very important for dogs because it regulates blood flow and ensures proper digestion. Lack of exercise will disturb the entire cycle and can lead to constipation and bloating.
Dogs respond differently to anxiety in terms of their bowel movements. Some canines can experience stress diarrhea while others might suffer from stress constipation. If that’s the case with your pooch, try to make him/her as comfortable as possible to overcome the irregularity.
Dogs are prone to experience problems with bowel movements as they grow old. That’s the reason why the owners of most senior canines come up with this problem. Consult your vet to make necessary changes to your dog’s diet to control constipation.
Side Effects of Medicines
Certain medications can be responsible for your dog’s constipation as a side effect. Hence, it’s highly recommended to check the labels of medicines before purchasing, especially if your pup is prone to constipation.
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Swollen Anal Glands
When the tiny glands are too full or infected, your dog will find it hard to defecate. Scooting is the most obvious sign of this condition and you should contact your vet as soon as possible.
The colon of a dog becomes very large (abnormal), making it difficult to eliminate. This condition should be treated properly and will require veterinary intervention.
Symptoms of a Dog’s Constipation
The bowel movement pattern of dogs depends upon their diet and physical activity. Although dogs are a creature of routine and will defecate at about the same time every day, there can be slight variations. However, the general rule of thumb is that a dog must eliminate at least once a day. Hence, lack of defecation for a few days is the first and most obvious sign of your dog’s constipation. Some of the other important symptoms are listed below.
- Hard stools
- Excessive circling
- Lack of appetite
- Small amount of watery feces with blood (Tenesmus)
Home Remedies for a Dog’s Constipation
The following are some home remedies that can prove quite beneficial to treat (and prevent) your dog’s constipation.
NOTE: You should always consult your vet before changing the diet of your dog.
Give Your Dog Plenty of Water
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of constipation in dogs. Drinking more water is an ideal solution to this problem and owners must ensure a continuous supply of fresh water. You must know about the daily requirement of your canine friend and make sure that is being met.
You may add some chicken broth to the water to make it more tempting for your pooch. You can also shift to wet food (for a few days) instead of dry kibble to fight against constipation.
Increase Fiber Content in Your Dog’s Food
Fiber is one of the most important nutrients, especially when it comes to digestive issues. Therefore, it’s important to analyze the diet of your pup and look for ways to increase the amount of fiber. If you are using commercial dog foods, you can switch to another brand that is offering more fiber than the current one.
Alternatively, you can try adding fiber-rich ingredients, like fruits, to your dog’s homemade food. Supplements can also be a great addition to your pup’s meal if he/she is suffering from constipation.
Try Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics
An extra boost of digestive enzymes and probiotics can do wonders for a dog suffering from constipation. This is because they settle down the irregularities of the digestive system and help your pooch to defecate. These enzymes and probiotics can also be helpful in case of diarrhea. Hence, they must be present in the home of every dog owner!
Ensure Regular Exercise
Exercise is an excellent way to stimulate the digestive system of your dog. It will regulate the bowel movements and help the dog to eliminate without difficulty. Therefore, you should schedule extra walks or play sessions for your canine friend to counter constipation.
Use Olive/Coconut Oil
Both these oils are amazing stool softeners and can yield very quick results. However, this home remedy should only be used when your dog is suffering from severe constipation. This is because too much of these oils can lead to diarrhea and make things even worse. Therefore, moderation is necessary when you are giving coconut or olive oil to your pooch.
When to Take a Dog to the Vet for Constipation?
Although it’s highly recommended to consult your vet for a dog’s constipation, it’s not necessary to visit him/her every time. In most cases, you can discuss the problem on phone and act accordingly to solve the problem. However, serious conditions, like chronic constipation and obstipation, will require medical intervention and you will need to visit the vet.
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