We talk about a lot of fun topics on this blog…this is NOT going to be one of them. If your dog hasn’t “gone to the bathroom” in more than 36-48 hours, that means they are officially constipated. Dogs should poop anywhere between 1-5 times per day…yes, up to 5 times!
A dog can go about 2 days without pooping. Home treatments for constipation break down into two categories
- What to Give Your Dog For Constipation: This includes things high in fiber such as canned pumpkin.
- What You Can Do For Your Dog: This includes this such as plenty of exercise.
Both are very important, but most people only focus on the first. The truth is what you can do for your dog is just as important, especially if you want to prevent this from happening again in the future.
You’re probably wondering what you can give your dog for constipation, but it’s not always about what you can GIVE your dog, sometimes it’s about what you can DO FOR your dog.
One thing we won’t be talking about in this post today are the common causes of constipation. The reason for this is because there are so many causes, and right now all you care about is the solution!
We will start off talking about what to give your dog for constipation. After that we will talk about some of the things you can do to help alleviate the issue. Let’s dive right in!
What to Give Your Dog
Let’s start off talking about what you can give your dog for constipation. Since many of these foods are either high in fiber or help soften the stool, it’s important to only try one thing at a time. If you try to give your dog more than one of the following, it can result in severe diarrhea. Also, you’ll notice a lot of sites talk about using mineral oil. We DO NOT recommend using mineral oil to treat constipation. In this case, the cons outweigh the pros.
When a dog is constipated, it usually means their stool is hard, which makes passing it difficult. If you can get your dog to increase their water intake, this will soften the stool making it easier to pass
If you feed your dog dry kibble, switching over to canned food might do the trick. Canned food is already moist, which means the body doesn’t have to work as hard to soften the waste compared to dry kibble.
Just like canned dog food, pumpkin is moist and has the added benefit of high fiber, which will help push things along. However, make sure to avoid pie fillings that have extra sugar. These often contain ingredients that are harmful to your pet. Give your dog one tsp per 10 pounds of body weight up to three times per day.
Small Amount of Milk
This one might surprise you because a lot of dogs are lactose intolerant, but that’s actually the exact reason you should try giving your dog a minimal amount of milk. Your dog’s stomach may not like it, but it might also be the thing that helps push everything out.
Seems like CBD oil is the newest craze, right? There’s a reason for that! It’s been named the “jack of all trades” when it comes to treating medical issues. It can help with constipation in dogs because CBD oil hits the receptors in your dogs brain that promotes relaxation. Sometimes all your dog needs is to relax those muscles to get the relief they are looking for. Add a few drops to your dog’s diet. If relaxation is all they need, things should clear up within 48 hours.
This is another one of our favorite natural methods. Having a healthy urinary tract and digestive system is vital to help and even prevent constipation. Salmon oil helps keep the gut healthy to keep things moving along smoothly. A healthy digestive tract not only helps with constipation, but keeps the immune system functioning properly.
These four things have been proven to work time and time again. However, remember to test just one at a time. We recommend starting with the first and working your way down.
What to Do For Your Dog
Now that we’ve covered what you can give your dog, let’s talk about a few things you can do that will not only help the current situation but can prevent it from happening again in the future.
This is SO IMPORTANT and also applies to humans. It’s tough for things to start moving on the inside when things aren’t moving on the outside. You should take your dog on regular walks, and if you have a big enough back yard, play fetch and let them run around.
If your dog is currently constipated and also living a sedentary lifestyle, go on a long walk and see if that gets things moving in the stomach. Make it a goal to take your dog on a 45-minute walk today.
Check The Rear
Being a pet owner isn’t always fun and games, sometimes you have to put pet health over your own comfort. It’s common for hair to clump up and prevent your dog from being able to pass stool. This is especially common in long haired dogs. If you do see clumped up hair, it’s best to take your dog to the groomers to have it professionally removed rather than trying cut it yourself.
Don’t be embarrassed to go in, trust me when I say they’ve seen this before.
Massage The Tummy
Be careful with this one. If it’s clear your dog is in pain when you’re massaging the tummy, you need to consult your veterinarian ASAP. However, if you’re able to massage the tummy and they don’t seem to be in pain, this can help get things moving.
Can I Give My Dog Laxatives?
If you’re thinking about giving your dog a laxative or a stool softener that was made for humans, that’s a BIG mistake. Human laxatives were made for HUMANS that have an inability to pass stool, not dogs. Even when given in a smaller dose, it can still cause major issues.
There are some laxatives designed for dogs, but you should use those as a last resort and call your vet before using. There’s a good chance one of the methods mentioned above will clear things up.
If you do decide to give your dog a laxative, our favorites are:
- NaturVet Stool Ease Dog Soft Chews
- Glandex Soft Chews
If you give any of these a try, your dog should be regular again within 24 hours. Again, make sure you don’t give any human laxatives to dogs. These will be too powerful and can cause sickness and severe dehydration.
What if Nothing Works?
If you’ve tried giving your dog pumpkin, canned dog food, milk, and have increased their exercise, but nothing seems to work, what else should you try?
If that’s the case, there could be something else going on. There are three different categories of constipation in dogs. Each has a different cause and solution.
This means there is an obstruction inside the intestines that’s preventing your dog from defecating or the stool is too hard for your dog to pass and needs to be softened.
This means there’s something outside of the intestines or colon that’s preventing your dog from going. The example we talked about above with clumped hair would be extraluminal. Another example would also be joint or bone pain, especially in the hips.
This means the constipation is a result of a wide range of diseases or nerve issues.
The most common type of constipation in dogs is intraluminal. This can usually be treated at home and is often fixed by one of the remedies we discussed above.
However, if those remedies don’t work, then constipation could be a result of extraluminal or intrinsic. If that’s the case, or if you notice your dog going through any other physical distress, you’ll need to take your pup to the vet.
Could it Be a Medical Issue?
Anytime dogs are constipated there’s always a chance something could be medically wrong. However, when something is medically wrong, constipation is usually just one of many symptoms. If you don’t notice any other symptoms, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. Although it’s never a bad idea to take your dog to the vet when your pet is sick!
A few medical conditions that could cause constipation include:
- Bowel obstruction
- Enlarged prostate
- Kidney disease
The list isn’t limited to just these. So again, when in doubt, call your veterinarian.
What if it Goes From Constipation to Diarrhea
This is nothing to be worries about! In fact, if your dog has been constipated for longer than 48 hours and you tried the home remedies we discussed above, there’s a good chance this will happen.
Those home remedy methods help getting things to move along. Some us foods that are both moist and high in fiber (such as canned pumpkin). The increase in fiber along with moist food will likely cause acute diarrhea. This should clear up within 24-48 hours. It’s typically a good thing if this happens, it means your dog is back on track to becoming regular again.
How To Prevent
It’s always a sad situation when your dog is constipated. You don’t like seeing them uncomfortable, and they don’t like being uncomfortable! When your dog is constipated, your first concern as a pet parent should be getting them back to regular. No dog should strain to defecate the rest of their life!
Once you’ve done that, your next concern should be how to prevent it from happening again. There’s nothing you can do to prevent acute constipation. All dogs (and humans) are going to sometimes go 24-36 hours without a bowel movement, but if it lasts longer than that it’s considered severe… that’s what we want to prevent.
The number one key is going to be hydration and diet. Might seem a bit obvious, but if you’re feeding your dog low fiber foods and they aren’t staying hydrated, constipation is going to happen.
Also, make sure you keep your dog active. Take them on daily walks and give them time to run around. Remember, dogs that move on the outside will get things moving on the inside.
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