Not many people make a habit of talking about their dog’s toileting schedule, but much like humans, dogs can experience constipation; and much like humans, it makes them uncomfortable and can cause a lot of pain.
Usually, constipation comes down to a lack of sufficient fibre in the diet or being dehydrated. There are also times when the food they are eating is causing the problem. There are plenty of constipation remedies for dogs available, and you may prefer to consult your vet before intervening. While constipation can be a relatively easy thing to treat, it can also be a sign of something more serious.
Common Causes of Constipation in Dogs
If your dog is generally quite well, you may be wondering what exactly is causing their discomfort. There are a few things that can cause constipation in dogs, including:
- Dietary deficiency
- Medical problems
- Pain such as arthritis where your dog can no longer squat comfortably.
How to Know if Your Dog is Constipated
As a human you know how you feel if you are a bit blocked up – it can be hard to go to the toilet, you get stomach pains, and it might be a few days in between going. Straining to go to the toilet isn’t always a sign of constipation in dogs, so if your dog seems like they are in pain or you’ve noticed they haven’t gone for a couple of days, it’s time to take notice.
- Is your dog urinating correctly? If the urine is coming out in dribbles, small amounts or not at all, it’s time to get in contact with your vet urgently.
- Is your dog passing dry, hard nuggets of faeces? There is a good chance they are constipated. If, however your dog is straining and not passing anything, they may also have diarrhoea. Keep an eye on what’s happening in your yard.
- Is your dog comfortable, interested in food, or vomiting, smelling of faeces or showing signs of soiling around their back end? If so, don’t delay in taking them to the vet to be checked.
Remedies for Constipation
Let’s take a look at some of the remedies available.
- Add in wet food – If you only feed your dog dry food, adding in some quality wet food for a week or two may help the problem, thanks to the additional moisture provided by wet food.
- Increased exercise – Much like in humans, an increase in exercise can help increase blood flow through the body and help your dog become more regular.
- Clean, fresh water – Dehydration is a big cause of constipation so ensuring your dog has lots of clean fresh water is important. If you live in a hot or humid environment, you may need multiple water sources.
- Powdered psyllium husk– You may have tried this one yourself at times. Psyllium husk pulls water into your dog’s stool and can help it pass more easily.
- Diet change – your vet may suggest a long-term diet change, particularly if the constipation is due to medical issues or a lack of dietary fibre.
Much like in humans, constipation can cause a lot of pain and discomfort for your dog. If your dog seems to be having troubles with their bowels, an appointment with your vet for a medical check should be first on your list.