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Everything You Need to Know About Dog Constipation: Causes Symptoms Treatment and Prevention

Understanding and Treating Dog Constipation

As dog owners, we know that our furry companions have a way of bringing endless joy to our lives. Whether we’re cuddling up with them on the couch or taking them out for a walk, our dogs are there to offer us love and affection.

However, as much as we love our dogs, it can be tough to see them in distress. One common ailment that many dog owners face is dog constipation.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about dog constipation including its causes, symptoms, treatments, and prevention methods.

Causes of Dog Constipation

Dog constipation is a common gastrointestinal problem faced by pet parents. There are several reasons why dogs might experience constipation.

One of the most prevalent reasons is that they ingest indigestible items such as bones, grass, or sticks. Low-fiber diets are another cause of constipation in dogs.

Stress and pain can also play a role in causing constipation. Nerve damage, tumors, and systemic diseases like kidney disease can also cause dog constipation.

Lastly, medications such as those used to treat pain or anxiety can have a side-effect of constipation.

Signs of Dog Constipation

It is important to be aware of your dog’s typical bowel movements to detect constipation early. A common sign of constipation in dogs is straining to defecate.

You might notice your dog scooting or circling, and they might make vocalizations to express discomfort. Other signs of constipation include less frequent bowel movements, passing small, hard pieces of stool, diarrhea or liquid with mucus or blood, hunched appearance, and a sensitive stomach.

How Dogs Get Constipated

To understand dog constipation, it is essential to know more about the digestive system process. Food moves through the digestive tract, where it is mixed with digestive juices and broken down into a semi-liquid mixture called “chyme.” The chyme then moves from the small intestine to the large intestine or colon.

During this process, natural lubrication helps fecal matter pass through easily. If there isn’t enough natural lubrication, the colon wall muscles absorb salts and water, making the fecal matter harder and more challenging to pass.

Treating and Preventing Dog Constipation

How Vets Diagnose What’s Causing Your Dogs Constipation

If you suspect that your dog is constipated, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. During the visit, your veterinarian may conduct a physical exam, rectal palpation, radiographs, bloodwork, urinalysis, abdominal ultrasound, colonoscopy, or MRI to diagnose the root cause of the problem.

When to Go to the Vet for Dog Constipation

If your dog seems lethargic, has a decreased appetite, is vomiting, or hasn’t had a bowel movement for 48-72 hours, then you should take your dog to the veterinarian.

How Vets Treat Dog Constipation

Treatment for dog constipation usually involves a combination of medical intervention and lifestyle changes. For example, your veterinarian might give your dog fluids, enemas, or manually remove impacted fecal material.

They may also prescribe bulk-forming laxatives, lactulose, prokinetic agents, or recommend surgery to help resolve the issue.

How to Help Constipated Dogs

To help alleviate constipation in dogs, you can encourage them to exercise and drink plenty of water. Adding canned pumpkin supplementation to their diet can provide them with much-needed fiber, while Metamucil can also help with constipation.

It’s important to note, however, that you should never give your dog mineral oil or white petrolatum. Also, do not use over-the-counter enemas or coconut oil/olive oil without consulting with your veterinarian first.

Constipation in Puppies

Constipation in puppies is not very common. However, if it does occur, some ways to help include performing manual stimulation to encourage a bowel movement, ensuring that they are hydrated, and that they are being fed appropriately.

If you notice any symptoms requiring immediate vet attention, don’t hesitate to take the puppy to the veterinarian.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Getting Constipated

Prevention is always better than cure. To help prevent your furry friend from getting constipated, you should treat underlying causes, provide them with a high-fiber or low-residue diet, and ensure they stay hydrated with clean water every day.

Regular grooming can also help prevent hair build-up that causes blockages. You should avoid giving your dog indigestible items and make sure they get enough probiotics and necessary vitamins.

Lastly, acupuncture is considered an effective way to support digestion and overall wellness.


In this article, we have provided you with the information you need to help your furry friend if they experience dog constipation. We’ve covered the causes, symptoms, treatments, and prevention methods to ensure that you feel empowered to take care of your four-legged companion.

Remember to always consult with your veterinarian for the most appropriate treatment recommendations specific to your dog. With the right care and attention, you can help your dog overcome constipation and live a healthy, happy life.

In this article, we have explored the causes, symptoms, treatments, and prevention methods for dog constipation. We have identified that indigestible items, low-fiber diets, stress, pain, nerve damage, tumors, systemic disease, and medications are all causes of constipation in dogs.

We have also discussed the signs of dog constipation, how dogs get constipated, how vets diagnose and treat it, and ways to help constipated dogs. Lastly, we have highlighted the importance of prevention, including treating underlying causes, providing an appropriate diet, staying hydrated, and avoiding indigestible items.

Ultimately, it is essential to pay attention to your dog’s bowel movements, seek professional help when necessary, and take preventive measures to ensure the well-being of your furry friend.

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