Puppies can become constipated for a variety of reasons. When this happens, the symptoms are the same as those suffered by humans. The puppy will strain to have a bowel movement or pass feces that are hard and dry.
Generally, constipation is not something that will have you and Fido running off to the vet’s office. It is a condition that can be treated at home.
Puppies can rival vacuum cleaners when it comes to picking things up off the floor or ground, so it not uncommon for dogs to become ill when they have ingested something they should not have eaten. Caution should definitely be used if you even remotely think the puppy has eaten or swallowed any foreign objects. Watch closely for vomiting, distress, pain or a distended stomach. These symptoms could be a sign of a bowel obstruction and this is an emergency situation. Get the puppy to a veterinarian immediately. Emergency surgery may be necessary. Failure to get proper treatment could cause death.
There are several reasons why puppies become constipated. A lack of exercise or insufficient amounts of water can cause hard stools. Anxiety and stress or a change in diet can also cause constipation.
There are some things you can do to relieve your puppy’s constipation. Adding canned pumpkin to a puppy’s food can help soften stools. Use plain pumpkin, not the spiced variety. Pumpkin can help because it is high in fiber and help prevent compaction of the digested food. Mix one teaspoon to one tablespoon (use the lesser amount for smaller dogs) of canned pumpkin into the food for two or three days.
If your puppy is constipated, try adding one-half teaspoon of olive or mineral oil to the food. Repeat this until you are satisfied that puppy no longer has to strain to have a bowel movement.
Although milk often causes diarrhea, it can be helpful in treating constipation. Give the puppy one-quarter to one-half cup of milk once a day for two days to help loosen the bowels.
Adding a teaspoon of dietary bran or oat bran to the puppy’s food for a few days also provides relief from constipation.
If your puppy seems to be prone to bouts of constipation, check to see if the food you are feeding has a minimum of four percent fiber. There are special high-fiber foods that can be purchased through a veterinarian.
Make sure your puppy is drinking water. A puppy should have access to fresh water all day every day. It is important that the puppy consume an ounce of water per pound of body weight. If your puppy doesn’t drink enough water, try adding some to the food.
Exercise is important to keeping your puppy regular. Make sure you allow sufficient time for the puppy to do his or her business before putting the dog in the crate or unattended in the house. A puppy that is forced to hold back bowel movements can easily develop constipation.
Make sure that you keep hair around the puppy’s rear end trimmed. Long, matted hair can actually make it impossible for a puppy to have a bowel movement.
If your attempts at treating constipation at home are not working, consult your dog’s veterinarian.