There are many reasons why dogs become constipated. The kind of food you feed your dog plays an important role. A lack of exercise – especially among older dogs – can cause constipation, which can also be a sign of a more serious health issue such as a blockage.
The good news is that there are things you can do to relieve your dog’s discomfort. However, if your dog becomes lethargic, has a decreased appetite and/or is passing blood in its stools, seek professional medical help immediately.
Constipated dogs will tend to strain when trying to have a bowel movement. Stools may be smaller than usual, hard or even nonexistent. A constipated dog may yelp while drying to defecate. You may even see signs of abdominal bloating. If you notice any of these, you may want to call your dog’s veterinarian for advice. If you are unable to make contact or get an immediate appointment, here are a few things you can try.
You can safely use a mild laxative (avoid anything that contains chocolate). It is best to consult the dog’s vet for the proper dosage. Most veterinarians are more than glad to offer this type of advice over the phone.
Another option is to add canned pumpkin to the dog’s food. Feed one or two tablespoons daily until your dog returns to having regular bowel movements. However, if your dog has a chronic problem with constipation, it does not hurt to add the pumpkin to his or her daily food rations. Surprisingly, many dogs like the taste of pumpkin, so this is an easy remedy.
Mineral oil can help relieve constipation. Add one tablespoon to the dog’s food for every 25 pounds of his or her body weight. Discontinue when you see that the dog’s bowel movements have returned to normal.
Metamucil can also provide relief for constipated dogs. If you have a small breed dog, give it one-half teaspoon twice a day. If you have a larger breed, give two teaspoons of Metamucil twice a day. Mix the Metamucil with canned dog food or with broth to entice your dog to eat it. Make sure you keep plenty of fresh water available because Metamucil can congeal in the dog’s stomach.
Many pet stores and veterinarians carry canine products that work in the same manner as Metamucil. These are also good alternatives.
In order to minimize constipation over the long haul, consider introducing more fiber into the dog’s diet. Some dog foods contain more fiber than others, so you might consider changing the brand of food. You may want to consult with the dog’s veterinarian for suggestions as to how to incorporate more fiber into your dog’s diet. There are supplements available at most pet stores.
It is important to ensure that your dog has plenty of fresh drinking water so that he or she does not become constipated. Dogs that are dehydrated are more prone to becoming constipated.
Avoid situations where your dog has to curtail his or her urge to have a bowel movement. Holding it can lead to constipation.
If your attempts to relieve your dog’s constipation do not work in a day or two, seek veterinary help immediately.