Constipation is one of the most common digestive issues in dogs. While you might not think it is serious, constipation could be life-threatening, depending on what's causing it. In this blog, our vets in Roswell discuss the causes of constipation in dogs and how you can help your pup.
Constipation in Dogs
It might be constipation if your dog is struggling to oppo or not pooing at all. This is a serious issue, and if your dog can't poo or seems in pain while trying, you should take them to the veterinary emergency right away.
If your dog is straining when trying to pass a stool and/or is producing hard, dry stools, these are also signs that indicate your dog needs to be examined by a vet quickly.
Other signs of trouble include y our dog passing mucus when trying to poop, soothing on the ground, circling excessively, or squatting without popping. If you press on your pup's lower back or stomach, they might have a tense, painful abdomen that makes them cry or growl.
Causes of Dog Constipation
There are a variety of reasons why a dog can become constipated. A few of the most common are:
- Excessive or insufficient fiber in their diet
- A side effect of medication
- Lack of exercise
- Excessive or insufficient fiber in his diet
- Blocked or abscessed anal sacs
- Other illnesses leading to dehydration
- Excessive self-grooming (excessive amounts of hair to collect in the stool)
- Ingested pieces of toys, gravel, plants, dirt, or bones caught in the intestinal tract
- Sudden change in diet or sampling new foods
- Trauma to pelvis
- Neurological disorder
- An orthopedic issue that's causing pain when a dog positions himself to defecate
- Enlarged prostate gland
- Matted hair surrounding the anus (caused by obesity or lack of grooming)
- Obstruction caused by tumors or masses on the anus or within the rectum
Senior pets might experience constipation more frequently. However, any dog that's facing one or more of the scenarios listed above could suffer from constipation.
Common Constipation Symptoms in Dogs
Signs of constipation include straining, crying, or crouching when attempting to defecate. Also, if it's been more than two days since they have had a bowel movement, see your vet immediately.
Remember, these symptoms may be similar to those that may point to a urinary tract issue, so your vet needs to perform a full physical exam to diagnose the cause.
What You Can Give Your Dog for Their Constipation
When your dog has constipation, it's crucial to seek guidance from your veterinarian before attempting any remedies meant for humans. Some human treatments can harm dogs.
The best course of action is to contact your vet and bring your dog in for an exam. The treatment for your dog's constipation will depend upon the underlying cause of your pup's condition.
If your dog has ingested something harmful, it could be causing a blockage, which is a medical emergency that may require urgent surgery.
Blood tests could show if your pup is suffering from dehydration or has an infection. Your vet will probably ask about your dog's medical history, conduct a rectal examination to rule out other abnormalities or causes, and might recommend one or a combination of the following treatments:
- More exercise
- A stool softener or another laxative
- A prescription diet high in fiber
- Enema (administered by a professional, not at home, as there could be a risk of injury or toxicity if done incorrectly)
- Medication to increase the large intestine's contractile strength
- A small bowl of goat or cow milk
- Adding more fiber to your dog's diet (wheat bran, canned pumpkin, or products such as Metamucil)
Carefully follow your vet's instructions because trying too many of these or the wrong combination could cause the opposite problem - diarrhea. You don't want to swap one digestive issue for another.
What Happens When Constipation in Dogs Goes Untreated
Neglecting your dog's constipation can lead to a serious issue called constipation, where they can't naturally empty their colon. This results in a buildup of too much stool, causing your dog to feel tired, strain without success, lose their appetite, and maybe even vomit.
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.