If your dog seems to be having a difficult time passing its bowels, it may be experiencing constipation. While dog constipation, in itself, is not a serious health problem, it can be extremely uncomfortable and is often a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
Dog Constipation: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments
What is Constipation in Dogs?
Medically defined, dog constipation is a health condition that occurs whenever your pet is having a difficult time passing stools. A healthy dog typically has one or two bowel movements each day. Although this can vary from one pet to another depending upon their diet.
When feces remain in the colon for two days or more, they become extremely hard and dry making it difficult for your dog to pass them. There are many things that may cause constipation in dogs including factors that relate to health and diet. However, the most common causes are listed here:
- Ingestion of Foreign Materials
- Various Medications, check out how to give medications to your pet
- Learned Behavior/Inability to Reach Toileting Area
- Change in Environment
- Low Levels of Blood Calcium or Potassium
- Lack of Exercise, check out best exercise for dogs
Common Dog Constipation Symptoms
As mentioned previously, the most common signs of constipation in dogs include straining to defecate and the inability to pass bowels. However, in addition to these two symptoms, there are other signs that can be indicative of a constipated dog.
Constipated dog symptoms are listed below:
- Straining to Defecate with Little to no Results
- Hard and Dry Stools
- Irregular Bowel Movements
- Occasional Bloody Stools
- Sporadic Vomiting
- Lack of Energy
- Loss of Appetite
- Swollen Anus
- Crying or Showing Signs of Distress While Trying to Have a Bowel Movement
Dog Constipation Treatment
Since constipation in dogs is often associated with underlying health conditions, it is essential for you to take your pet to a veterinarian if it displays any of the above symptoms. The treatment your dog will need depends upon its condition and diagnosis. Nevertheless, if your pet is dehydrated, IV fluid therapy will be necessary.
If your dog is taking any medication that can cause constipation, it should be discontinued immediately. After your pet is re-hydrated, the vet will remove the feces by way of an enema, forceps or surgery. In chronic cases of constipation, a colectomy may be recommended.
What You Can Do at Home
What to give a dog for constipation ? Your veterinarian will prescribe a special diet for your pet that will help encourage normal bowel movements. It is essential that you feed this food to your dog as instructed. Additionally, be sure to offer fresh and clean water to your dog at all times. Finally, maintain a regular exercise regime for your pet, as this will encourage intestinal muscles to work properly.
If your dog is constipated, it is important that you seek veterinary attention right away. In this way, you can rule out any serious underlying health problems. Typically, a good exercise program and special diet can help keep your pet healthy and avoid constipation in dogs. Cats can also experience cat constipation.