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Everything you need to know about puppy constipation

Puppy yorkshire pooping advice
© Shutterstock

Just like humans, a puppy can experience constipation. It’s quite often not spoken about, probably due to it being a rather delicate subject.

By Dawn Parrish

Even so, it’s a common condition in canines and your puppy will certainly feel uncomfortable and in pain. Giving him a variety of diets can also add to the problem. There are several different reasons why he may be constipated. It’s important as his owner to understand the condition and to discover ways you can treat it.

What exactly is puppy constipation?

Similar to the illness suffered by humans, it relates to the pup not being able to go to the toilet and produce stools on a regular basis. In the canine world, this is usually once or twice each day. If this defecation doesn’t take place regularly, the faeces linger in the colon. Moisture is eliminated, resulting in hard stools. A dog who suffers from constipation may strain enormously to try to empty his bowels. He may produce stools that are very hard or he may not poop at all. Of course this depends on the severity of the disorder and the specifics. If your dog fails to produce a stool at all it can lead to an ailment known as obstipation. In this situation, the faecal matter will become compacted and the pup is unable to defecate by himself.

constipated pup
Signs of constipation in a puppy  © Shutterstock
 

Any underlying disorder

First of all, constipation may not actually be the main problem. There could be an underlying illness that is the principal cause. Once this instigating issue is diagnosed and treated, the puppy’s constipation usually tapers away.

Causes of puppy constipation

The possible reasons behind this problem are numerous. In general, there are three groups of origins ranging from quite simple issues such as inappropriate diet to difficulties with the anal gland.

  • Colon blockages
  • Blockages on the exterior of the colon
  • An underlying nerve injury or disease

In addition to these complex complications, there are more common explanations. Certainly, some of the factors such as exercise levels and diet can be easily corrected. In contrast, more worrying causes of faecal blockage include disorders of the nervous system and spinal injury. Metabolic diseases, anal gland issues and tumours may all be an underlying factor.

Stress can exacerbate the condition

A new puppy brought to strange surroundings may not voluntarily go to the toilet. The stresses of a change of routine and being removed from his mother can influence his bowel habits. Socialise your pup correctly so that he knows to go to the toilet on various surfaces, such as pavement, dirt or grass.

Symptoms of constipation in your puppy

The indicators of this illness are pretty clear cut. Your dog is probably experiencing constipation if he hasn’t emptied his bowels in a couple of days. His poos will appear as small pebbles or he may strain rather worryingly without producing anything. There may also be signs of blood or liquid rather than faecal material. Feel your dog’s tummy. If he is constipated, the belly area will feel full and hard to the touch. He may also find it difficult to walk due to the compacted matter in his intestines.

Treatments for puppy constipation

Remedies for this disorder actually depend on the main cause. Your pup may be prescribed a preventative medicine, or the underlying problem may be diagnosed first. Treatment will then depend on the results received.

However, one of the most common medications initially, is a laxative. Stool softeners are also available to be used under medical guidance. Offer lots of water to drink. You may be prescribed an exercise regime or a chart of changes to your pup’s diet. As a result of these lifestyle changes, the dog’s condition should improve considerably. Home remedies may also help. Certainly, products such as pumpkin, olive oil and bran are all professed to cure constipation. Offer vegetable sticks cut from celery or carrot. Your pup will not only enjoy chewing these, but the liquid and fibre content can help to aid the digestion process.

how to help a constipated puppy
Give your pup a healthy diet to prevent constipation © Shutterstock
 

Canine constipation is initially regarded as a minor complaint. If spotted and treated early after onset, there should be a favourable outcome. Above all, pay attention to any symptoms your pup is displaying that are out of the ordinary. Leaving constipation undiagnosed and untreated can lead to other problematic illnesses for your dog. Consequently, early detection and subsequent treatment is of the utmost necessity.