Loving and caring for a dog is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences you can have. And our dogs also feel like that it’s their responsibility to take care of us.  That is why dogs rarely show that they are in pain…they want to be strong FOR US!

How To Help Your Constipated Dog Squatting Dog | Dog advisor HQ

So, when your dog has a problem that is making them so uncomfortable that they can’t help but show it, you know something is truly wrong.  This is often the case with severe constipation in dogs.  So, in this article, we will teach you how to help your constipated dog.

Dealing with a constipated dog is never fun for you or your dog. Keep reading to learn all about how you can help your furry friend solve their constipation problem as soon as possible.

Do a Visual Assessment

Sometimes you may think your dog is constipated, but it could be because they are, well, blocked up. This is why when you suspect your dog is constipated, you should first start with a visual assessment.

Before trying any at-home constipation remedies for your dog, it’s essential that you rule out any physical blockages. Do a visual assessment of your dog’s behind, checking to make sure their fur or an old piece of defecation isn’t blocking the exit route.

This type of blockage is especially common in long-haired dogs. Use scissors or trimmers to trim away the fur around the anus, and use a baby wipe to clean the area. If you don’t come across anything, then it’s time to try some of the following remedies on this list.

But if you do happen to see something, such as a tumor or maybe bits of what looks like a chewed-up toy in the area, you will want to contact a vet right away as your pet could have an intestinal blockage.

Try Giving Your Dog More Water

Many conditions happen in dogs for the same reason they happen in humans. Constipation, for example, can often happen because your dog is dehydrated.

To ensure your dehydrating isn’t the cause of your dog’s problem, be sure they have access to plenty of water all day long. You may need to put out several bowls in different rooms, as well as carry water with you on walks.

Does your dog act like they don’t want to drink water? This could be because of a negative association they have with the bowl. This can especially happen if your dog has flipped the bowl over on themselves before. Try switching out the bowl for something heavier or a larger bowl that gives them more room to drink.

You can also try encouraging your dog to drink by giving them treats when they do. This helps them to think of drinking as a positive thing rather than a negative thing.

If you are still having trouble, you can also add chicken broth to the water to give it a nice taste. Additionally, if your dog likes to eat ice cubes, now is the time to let them eat as many as they want.

Stimulating Their Digestive System is Generally How to Help Your Constipated Dog

Although dogs love to be active, sometimes, when you are really busy, their activity level can slow too, which can cause their digestion to slow down. Therefore to cure their constipation, it might be time to try something which will stimulate their digestive system.

Exercise is the perfect thing to try when your dog is feeling constipated. Go for an extra-long walk, play fetch, or try a jog around the neighborhood. This will stimulate their digestive system enough to loosen their stool.

If your dog suffers from constipation frequently, this may be a sign that you aren’t exercising them enough. Consider making their regular walk longer or paying someone to come to walk or run them while you are at work for the day.

When even the longest run doesn’t seem to loosen your dog up, you can also try physically massaging their stomach. Be very cautious if you decide to try this, as your dog is probably already uncomfortable.

If your dog likes belly rubs, try adding a little extra pressure when you give them one. Otherwise, just gently press their belly in the area between their ribs. If your dog yelps or seems to be in serious pain, stop immediately and consult a vet as they may have some sort of blockage in their digestive system.

Feed Your Dog Olive Oil

Sometimes, no matter how much water you offer or how long you massage your stomach, your dog may constantly be getting backed up. That’s when it’s time to consider a dietary change.

When your dog experiences frequent constipation, consider adding a little bit of olive oil to their food. This will help lubricate their digestive system and make it easier for them to go to the bathroom.

Be careful, however, as too much olive oil can cause your dog to have the opposite problem—stools that are too loose! Start by putting about a tablespoon on their food once per day and see if this helps the problem. Suppose it doesn’t don’t increase the amount unless you talk to your veterinarian. Instead, you should try a different method on this list.

If you don’t have coconut oil on hand, you can also try vegetable or coconut oil as an alternative. Apple cider vinegar has also been named as a good home remedy for dog constipation. If you decide to take this route, put a small amount of apple cider vinegar in your dogs’ water dish. Be careful, though, as too much of this can actually make your dog’s condition worse.

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Feed Your Dog Pumpkin

Worried that you might accidentally give your dog too much olive oil, and you’ll have a stinky situation on your hand? Don’t worry, as pumpkin is another stool softener that could help your doggo.

Canned pumpkin is a good source of fiber and can help your dog to go to the bathroom. But like most fibrous foods, don’t give them too much as it could cause diarrhea. A small amount on each meal should be sufficient to help the problem.

Start with giving the dog one teaspoon of pumpkin for every 10 pounds of body weight. Most dogs like pumpkin, so you should have no problem getting them to eat it, but if they seem to have an aversion to it, mix it with their meal.

Above all else, be sure you are giving your dog fresh pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix or any other sort of pumpkin mixes that can be found in the store. It can be difficult to find fresh pumpkin, so you may have to resort to roasting one yourself.

Many people struggle to find pumpkin during the off-season. In this case, you can give your dog aloe vera instead. This works very similar to oil when it comes to softening the stool but without the added worry of diarrhea. The only problem with aloe vera is getting your dog to eat it.

Feed Your Dog Psyllium Seeds

There are many foods that can help encourage a bowel movement in dogs. Besides just pumpkin and various types of oil, you can also try feeding your dog psyllium seeds.

Psyllium seeds are naturally occurring seed which is high in fiber and safe to feed your dog. Generally, these items are sold in pet stores as powder or a tablet.

Although psyllium seeds are safe for dogs, the human version of this supplement is not, so be sure your dog is getting a supplement that is good for them (or stick to just giving them the seeds. Human supplements tend to have added sugars and flavorings, which can cause your dog to have more digestive difficulties.

Ensure that your dog drinks plenty of water while they are taking these supplements, as otherwise, it could cause harm to their digestive system. Resort to the aforementioned methods of encouraging them to drink water if you need to.

Evaluate Your Dogs Diet

No matter how many items you add to your dog’s diet to try to alleviate their constipation, it’s also important to reevaluate what your dog is eating, to begin with. This is especially important if your dog suffers from chronic constipation.

To eliminate constipation, your dog needs to be regularly consuming a diet that is high in fiber. Without fiber, your dog will constantly be blocked up and may develop a serious medical condition.

Check the food you are feeding your dog. Most dog food brands have enough fiber in them. If you think your dog needs more fiber, add some leafy greens or wheat bran to their food to up the fiber content.

Many people choose to make their dogs food. If this is what you do, sit down and evaluate the fiber content of the food. It may be as simple as adding a little more spinach to the mix. If you have any questions about the food you are making for your dog, be sure to ask the vet at your dog’s next appointment. Want the positive benefits of homemade dog food without all the fuss? Check out Nom-Nom and get 50% off your first order if you decide to try their amazing, healthy made-from-scratch dog food.

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Speak With Your Veterinarian

How To Help Your Constipated Dog | Dog Advisor HQ | German Shepherd at the vet veterinarian office

Some dogs will seem to be struggling with constipation no matter what you do. When this happens, it’s time to consult your veterinarian.

Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s constipation, especially if it is a regular problem. They may be able to prescribe something which can help your furry friend to pass their stool more easily.

Your dog may be experiencing constipation because of a bacteria imbalance in its gut. If this is the case, the vet may prescribe some probiotics to help your dog get back in balance. Typically, these probiotics come as pills.

Even if the vet gives your dog something else, say a stool softening medicine or laxative pill, it will likely come as a pill that your dog doesn’t want to take. The best way to feed your dog a pill to help with their constipation is by crushing it up and mixing it with their food. This ensures they can’t spit it out when you aren’t looking.

Never ever try to self-prescribe probiotics for your dog. You should also never give your dog human probiotics. These are not meant for dogs and can quickly make the problem worse or harm your animal.

Signs Your Dog May Be Constipated

Are you unsure whether or not your dog is constipated? It can be difficult to tell sometimes, especially since your dog can’t vocalize where its discomfort is coming from.

There are many signs that your pet may be constipated. You’ll want to observe as they defecate to check for most of them. You should also watch for more severe symptoms, as this could indicate they’ve been constipated for a long time. 

As your dog tries to go number two, you will want to watch for any straining or difficulty. Them taking longer than normal to do their business is another sure sign that there may be a problem. If it’s just a single time, try encouraging your dog to take a break, walk a bit more, then try again. However, if they strain multiple times in a row, it’s likely they are constipated.

If your dog is only showing the above symptoms, you should try home remedies to help them with their condition. But if the symptoms persist longer than a day or reappear often, it may be something more serious that you will want to speak to your vet about.

Additionally, if your dog begins vomiting, turning down food, or seems weak or lethargic, it is definitely time to talk to your vet about your dog’s condition. Your dog should never go more than three days without a bowel movement.

It is also important to note that if your dog is still able to go to the bathroom but seems to strain or only produce small hard feces, they may still be constipated and can benefit from some of the home remedies on this list.

Final Thoughts

Having to learn how to help your constipated dog isn’t fun, and you’ll likely have to try a few home remedies before you find the one that gets your dog to go. Just make sure you always start with the smallest changes first.  And, of course, if for some reason your dog starts to have serious symptoms at any point, be sure to take them to a veterinarian right away.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the symptoms of constipation in dogs?

Common symptoms include difficulty passing stool, straining, and passing small, hard stools. On more rare occasions, dogs might also exhibit vomiting.

What causes constipation in dogs?

Constipation in dogs can be caused by a number of things such as a lack of fiber in their diet, dehydration, or certain medical conditions. Be sure to consult your vet if home remedies do not help the situation fairly quickly.

Can constipation in dogs be serious?

Yes, in some cases, constipation can be a sign of a more serious underlying issue. If your dog is experiencing chronic constipation, it is important to consult with a veterinarian.

Can I give my dog over-the-counter laxatives?

No, it’s not recommended to give your dog over-the-counter laxatives without first consulting with a veterinarian. Some human laxatives can be harmful to dogs and their proper dosage depends on the individual dog’s size and health.

What is the best diet for a dog with constipation?

The best diet for a dog with constipation will depend on the individual dog and the underlying cause of their constipation; but, in general, increasing fiber intake is usually a first step. A veterinarian can help determine the best diet for your pet.

How can I increase my dog’s fiber intake?

Adding canned pumpkin, cooked sweet potatoes, or psyllium seeds to their diet can help increase their fiber intake. You can also consult with a veterinarian to find the best options for your pet.

What should I do if my dog is still constipated despite trying additional exercise, increased fluids and dietary changes?

If your dog is still constipated, it may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. It’s best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the cause and find the best course of action.

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