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Why is My Dog Constipated?: What to Do

Why is My Dog Constipated?: What to Do

Constipation can afflict dogs of any breed, age, size, or lifestyle. Today, our Gaithersburg vets explore one of the most common digestive issues we see in pets and discuss some causes of constipation in dogs, along with treatment options.

My Dog is Constipated

Have you noticed hard, dry stools or mucus when picking up your dog's poop? Perhaps your pup has not had a bowel movement in 48 hours or more. Either of these circumstances indicates your pooch is likely suffering from constipation. 

Dogs suffering from constipation may display a variety of symptoms. They often crouch, whine, or strain white trying to defecate. You might even notice grass, string, or matted feces around your dog's anal area. 

Today, we'll list some common causes of constipation in dogs, in addition to signs, and discuss how to help a constipated dog. 

What to Do if Your Dog is Constipated 

If your dog exhibits any of the symptoms of constipation listed above, arrange an urgent care appointment with your vet right away. 

If your four-legged friend has eaten something they shouldn't have, there is a chance that a blockage causing the problem. This is a medical emergency that will likely require surgery

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your dog's condition. 

What causes constipation in dogs? 

There is a wide range of potential contributing factors that can lead to constipation in dogs. Some of these include: 

  • Insufficient daily exercise 
  • Not enough fiber in the diet 
  • Sudden change in diet or sampling new foods
  • Ingesting hair due to excessive self-grooming 
  • Enlarged prostate gland
  • Neurological disorder
  • Side effect of medication 
  • Ingested pieces of toys, plants, dirt, bones, and gravel caught in the intestinal tract
  • Pain due orthopedic issues when trying to defecate
  • Dehydration 
  • Masses, tumors, or obstructions on the anus, or within the rectum
  • Matted hair around the anus 
  • Trauma to pelvis
  • Abscessed or blocked anal sacks 

While senior pets may experience constipation more often, dogs can suffer from constipation at any age. 

How is constipation in dogs treated? 

When you bring your dog to our 24-hour specialty and emergency animal hospital in Gaithersburg for constipation, a veterinarian will likely ask about your pet's medical history before conducting a rectal examination to rule out certain causes of constipation or anatomical abnormalities. 

The vet potentially run some diagnostic tests to determine what's causing your pooch's condition. Based on the results of the exam and any tests, the vet will recommend medical or at-home remedies to alleviate constipation. 

Blood tests may help your vet discover that your pooch has an infection or is suffering from dehydration. 

Dog owners often wonder, 'What can I give my dog for constipation?'. The veterinarian may recommend a combination of medical and at-home remedies for your dog's constipation. At-home remedies may include: 

  • Increasing the amount of fiber in your dog's diet
  • Special dog-specific laxatives
  • Increasing your dog's daily exercise
  • Medication to increase the strength of the large intestine
  • Enema (administered by a veterinary professional, not at home)

Follow the veterinarian's recommendations closely, since trying too many of these treatment options, or the wrong combination of numerous options, may lead to the opposite problem - diarrhea. You don't want to replace one digestive problem with another. 

Never give your dog any medication without first consulting your veterinarian. We also recommend consulting a vet before administering at-home remedies. 

Severe Conditions Resulting From Untreated Dog Constipation

Left untreated, your pup's constipation may progress to a point where they become unable to empty their colon on their own (a condition called obstipation). The colon then becomes packed with an uncomfortably large amount of feces, causing lethargy, unproductive straining, loss of appetite and potentially vomiting. Intestinal blockages caused by the ingestion of foreign objects such as toys or fabrics can quickly become fatal.

When it comes to your pet's health and safety err on the side of caution, contact your vet if your pet is constipated.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you think your dog may be constipated? Contact our Gaithersburg vets today. We are passionate about providing your pet with quality care.

New Patients Welcome

Veterinary Referral Associates is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Gaithersburg companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact (301) 926-3300