Constipation in dogs can be a painful and sometimes messy problem. However, it can be treated successfully with many home remedies and medical care from your local veterinarian.
Constipation is the inability or difficulty in passing the stool through the digestive tract and out of the rectum. There are many reasons that contribute to constipation that may include problems with motility including muscles, nerves and digestive tract, problems with the stool, which may be too hard or too soft, or problems with the rectum and anus and the ability to push stool out.
Symptoms of constipation may include attempting or straining to defecate without success, small or very hard stools that may appear ball-like or even cracked in appearance, painful or bloated abdomen, vomiting or nausea with a loss of appetite, or redness or swelling around the anus and rectum. In some cases, acute diarrhea may also be confused for constipation as dogs may strain to defecate more after an episode of diarrhea, with the lack of results appearing as constipation. Keep an eye on how often your dog has a bowel movement, so you can take steps to solve the problem.
Can I Prevent My Dog From Being Constipated
In many cases, constipation can be prevented if related to diet. A proper diet and exercise routine can help keep the muscles and digestive system toned, while good diet can keep stools from becoming too soft, too hard, or stuck in the digestive system. Keeping your dog hydrated is also very important in preventing constipation as stool consistency is directly related to hydration values in your dog.
What Should I Do if I There Is Constipation In Dog
If your suspect your dog is constipated, it is always a good idea to have your vet rule out more serious causes of the issue before attempting to treat the condition on your own. Your vet can also work with you to provide over the counter and prescription medications to relieve constipation symptoms. The vet will perform a complete physical exam and may recommend X-rays to check the bowels for stool softness or hardness, blood work (to look for any internal dysfunction causing symptoms) and fecal analysis (to check for parasites or bacteria leading to constipation) to find a cause.
For minor constipation, the stool may just need to be helped along with the use of a laxative. Commercial laxatives include such products as lactulose or miralax, which can be supplemented with natural laxatives, such as pureed pumpkin. These help by providing either a stool softening mechanism to make it easier for your furry friend to pass the stool. Or you could add fiber in their diet to encourage the bowel movement and give them more water to drink, which will help keep them hydrated. This will help soften the stool.
In more severe cases, additional treatment, such as IV or subcutaneous fluids and enemas or manual removal of stool, may be needed. It is important that the colon is working in order in order to promote a healthy bowel movement. Prolonged impaction of stool in the colon can actually cause the colon to shut down or lose motility, leading to further constipation issues in the future. Dogs with possible motility issues may also need a long-term stool softener or probiotic supplement to change stool consistency. They may need a regular prokinetic drug to increase bowel motility.
Natural Remedies for Treating Constipation In Dog
As mentioned above, some natural remedies are available for treating constipation without harsher medications. These include the use of pureed pumpkin as a fiber supplement, plain yogurt as a probiotic source, or high-fiber diets to help the body form normal stools. Additional remedies may include Sulphur 6C, Nux Vom 1M, Bryonia 6C, Dandelion and Licorice. Working with a holistic or naturopathic veterinarian may also provide more remedies and natural support for digestive health.