Constipation is for any animal is an uncomfortable problem. Not being able to poop causes nasty side effects such as abdominal pain and headaches. If not resolved in a day or so the condition can even cause vomiting.
Most bouts of dog constipation come to an end by themselves but those that don’t can be urged to do so by various means. Here are five top remedies of dog constipation.
What is dog constipation?
A dog's constipation is usually nothing to worry about and will often self-limit itself to about two days.
Signs of a constipated dog include one or more of the following:
- Anorexia (loss of appetite); hyporexia (reduced appetite)
- Remaining in a squat for a long period of time
- Straining while trying to defecate
- Small amounts of liquid faeces or blood
- Haemorrhoids (caused by straining)
- Excessive vocalisation
- Lethargy and depression
The causes of dog constipation
Some of the following causes of constipation are benign and can be eliminated by proper care and attention of your dog’s diet. Sometimes however constipation that is chronic may be a symptom of a disease and this should be investigated further.
A ‘sleeping’ disease that has manifested itself in constipation is very hard to spot, and vigilance is called for.
- Poor diet with insufficient fibre
- Anal tumour
- Blocked or diseased anal glands
- Enlarged prostate gland
- Lack of exercise
- An untidy and matted rear end
- Intestinal blockage (toys, tumour, parasite)
A dog with chronic constipation is very uncomfortable and anxious. It is therefore important that you do not wait any longer than a day before administering a treatment or visiting your vet.
5 of the best dog constipation remedies
Before you undertake a remedy of constipation it is worthwhile to discuss the matter with your vet. They will tell you about dog constipation treatments and will advise you to revisit the surgery if, after you have tried home care, things are no better.
If your vet determines that your dog’s constipation is caused by something pathological (of a disease) then they will recommend that your dog is treated accordingly and with a degree of urgency.
In the case of a constipated puppy, no remedy should be tried. Your puppy should be seen by a vet at the earliest opportunity.
Remedy 1 - Check the rear end
It may sound too obvious a remedy, but to make sure your dog is not simply experiencing a ‘plug’ of her bowel is the first thing. Sometimes the hair around a dog’s anus becomes matted and thick enough to impede the expulsion of faeces. In order to remedy such an issue you should try to carefully remove some of the worst mats.
Remedy 2 - Canned pumpkin
To introduce a laxative into your dog’s bowel is our second remedy of constipation. However, care must be taken to do so and it is essential that you first discuss the plan with your vet. Giving a dog a laxative may help the constipation but it could exacerbate hidden problems of the intestine such as a blockage.
Two laxatives are recommended here:
1) Canned pumpkin: a teaspoon with each meal is enough for a small dog
2) Psyllium: a soluble fibre derived from the seeds of Plantago plant. Psyllium is easily absorbed in water and is commonly used as a gentle laxative.
These two laxatives aim to cure constipation by drawing water into the bowel from the surrounding tissue.
Remedy 3 - Exercise
Exercise and movement will help to stimulate movement within the body. A vigorous walk acts likes a massage of your dog’s bowels: pushing, squeezing and expanding the intestines, and you may find that a walk is all that is needed to cure the problem.
An added advantage of the walk is your dog’s vicinity to the motions of other dogs. To your dog, the smell of another dog’s faeces is a reminder that she is free to poop in the same area.
Remedy 4 - Olive oil
Humans have various oils to use as a laxative but under no circumstances should you give your dog a laxative that is meant for human consumption. Instead, try pouring a teaspoon of olive oil over your dog’s next meal.
Oils tend to have a very good laxative effect but too much oil causes diarrhoea. Do not give your dog oil orally since she may aspirate it rather than swallow it, which can cause her to choke.
Remedy 5 - Water
A lack of water is commonly regarded as the most probable cause of constipation. That is because when a dog is dehydrated her body pulls water from her intestines in order to slake the thirst of more ‘important’ organs such as the brain and lungs.
There should be a bowl of fresh water easily available to your dog all the time but especially in the summer. Changing briefly to wet food may also help to cure a bout of constipation.
It is unwise to think that simply watering your dog prevents constipation. You must consider as well that her diet is worthy of change, especially if she has already had constipation. Low quality and dry dog foods are not beneficial to the gut, nor do they help your dog’s overall health, because they rarely contain enough nutrients and minerals.
If you have decided to have a dog in your life your care for her must run to the provision of good quality food, even if that means spending a little extra at the store.
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