Constipation is a common digestive disorder that can happen to humans and dogs. Constipation is a difficulty or inability to have normal bowel movements. The canine can be seen straining to defaecate but nothing comes out. As a result, your pooch may be distressed and will most likely lick at his rear end or exhibit some bottom scooting. Unfortunately, it could happen to any dogs, regardless of the breed and age.
Fortunately, the signs are obvious and visible especially with indoor dogs that require supervised bathroom visits outside. For a dog that is free to roam around outside, you may not be able to immediately identify the condition as it is less likely for you to witness his attempts to defaecate.
Still, it is very important to spot manifestations if your dog is suffering from constipation. What are the signs of a constipated dog?
- Lack of bowel elimination for a few days
- Straining when going to the bathroom
- Staying in the ‘pooping position’ (crouching: the back legs are bent, with the bottom rear close to the ground) in a notable amount of time
- Excreting watery substance mixed with blood instead of an actual poop
- Excessive whining and running in circles whilst trying to defaecate
- Haemorrhoids: swollen veins are visible in the canine’s rectal area which is very painful
What causes constipation in dogs?
Other causes are benign as lack of exercise. The most common causes of this condition include:
- Dehydration – The colon absorbs more fluid from the waste before passing through the intestines. As a result, the dog will have difficulty in passing dry and hard stools.
- Diet – This refers to a diet with low fibre intake and too much bone. Aside from that, dogs tend to eat things that are not edible such as hair, toys, and kitty litter which can create blockages.
- Age – The older the dog is, the more it is prone to illnesses which include constipation.
- Activity level – When your dog lives a sedentary lifestyle, this often results in a slower faecal transit.
- Stress – Similar to humans, stressful situations can lead to negative effects on your dog’s physical health. This will lead your dog to digest slower and end up with a larger amount of the food intake than what is being removed as waste.
Further, this condition can also be an indication for an underlying more serious health conditions such as:
- Anal gland issues such as blocked anal sacs
- Digestive tract tumours
- Metabolic diseases (hypothyroidism)
- Prostate enlargement
- Spinal diseases and injuries
- Orthopaedic disorders
- Side effects – it can be a reaction from medical procedures or drugs intake
Home remedies for constipated dogs
The vet can help you determine the cause of your dog’s constipation. The best treatment for your furry friend is known once the cause is identified.
Common treatments include:
- Give him time.
As often as possible, your dog will do a number of attempts in defaecating. As such, you should give him plenty of time and opportunity to do this business.
- Add more fibre to his diet.
Fibre in your dog’s diet has remarkable benefits. It can help to soften or firm up the poop depending on the case. Fibre acts like a little sponge that will absorb water into the stool, making it softer and wetter. It would be better to provide 20 per cent fibre of their daily food intake. Here are a few ways of adding fibre to your dog’s diet:
- Steamed or chopped green beans
- Boiled and mashed sweet potato
- Canned pumpkin (1 teaspoon per 10 pounds/bodyweight)
- Chopped fibrous leafy vegetables
- Coconut oil for dog constipation
- Add digestive enzymes and probiotics to his diet.
Probiotics are known to help with maldigestion, which is often the cause of constipation.
- Monitor the bone content.
The ideal bone content for dogs should only be 10 per cent. There are many dogs that are able to process even when the bone content exceeds 10 per cent; however, there are some dogs that struggle.
- Feed canned food—for a short time.
If you usually feed him with dry kibbles, you may want to try switching to a quality canned food for at least two days. Wet food is a dog stool softener that moistens the food and makes it easier for your dog to defaecate.
- Encourage him to consume enough fluids.
A constipated dog should be able to consume enough fluids such as water and milk.
Tips and prevention of dog constipation
- Provide enough exercise.In general, exercise is important for overall health. This prevents any kinds of sickness including constipation. By leading him to an active lifestyle, it lowers the time it takes the food to move through the bowels and thus limits the body’s water absorption in the stool. In addition, exercise is a great way of forming a stronger bond with your furry little one.
- Provide a high fibre diet.Fibre is an important supplement for proper digestion. As such, it is an essential preventive measure against constipation as well as keeping your pooch fit. A healthy dog should consume 2.5–4.5 per cent of fibre in their diet. For a constipated dog, briefly add more fibre content to his food.
- Ensure that your pooch gets adequate hydration.Some cases of constipation are caused by dehydration. With that, it helps to ensure that your dog is getting an adequate amount of water. Fresh water should be available at all times.
- Ensure that he gets a low-grain pet food.
- A dog’s digestive system requires a high-nutrient, high-protein diet. Recent studies have revealed that a high grain diet may not be easily processed by the canine’s digestive system. Choose a meat-and-vegetable dog food that is grain-free or low-carb.