Dog Constipation – Everything You Need To Know

Dog Constipation can be quite a discomfort for both the dog and the owner. The ability to pass the waste regularly is essential for dogs to maintain a good digestive tract. Proper bowel movement is a key to staying healthy. The causes and symptoms can help you recognize whether your dog is constipated or not. If yes, read the article to find the home remedies and treatments that need your pet’s health attention.

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What is Dog Constipation?

Constipation occurs when a dog cannot eliminate normal feces regularly, which is 1 – 2 times per day. Constipated dogs will not move to defecate and will generate rock-hard feces. Dogs, in some situations, may accumulate hard, dry wastes in their digestive tracts. Obstipation occurs when there is so much feces that it becomes compressed, and the dog will be unable to pass. 

Is Dog Constipation Common? 

Constipation, or the failure to defecate regularly, is a frequent health condition in dogs. This can occur for various reasons and is typically readily remedied, although some dogs may develop persistent constipation.

Causes of Dog Constipation

Feces pass through the digestive system to reach the intestine in ordinary conditions.

Water and electrolytes are absorbed from there. The colon’s fundamental task is to absorb water. The movement of feces in the colon is aided by a mechanism known as “peristaltic waves.” If this procedure is hindered or interrupted, the fecal matter will stagnate in the colon and lose hydration, becoming stiff, dry, and eventually challenging to pass.

The most prevalent cause of dog constipation is:

  • Poor diet
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of fiber
  • Blockages due to various food and fringe elements
  • Age
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Renal issues
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Anal gland issues
  • Medications
  • Spinal injuries
  • Dehydration
  • History of constipation
  • Trauma to the pelvis
  • Tumor
  • Stress
  • Surgery
  • Activity level
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Psychological issues
  • Anus surrounded with matted hair
  • Orthopedic issues
  • Intestinal worms
  • UTI (for female dogs)
  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)
  • Perineal hernia
  • Atresia ani or Imperforate Anus

It is an abnormality when the anus does not form. Hence, it becomes difficult for the dog to eliminate waste from his body. 

The veterinarians categorize these issues under three parts:

  • Intraluminal (internal blockages of the colon)
  • Extraluminal (obstructions outside colon)
  • Intrinsic (nerve injuries and diseases) 

Is Dog Constipation a Complicated Issue? 

Constipation is not a complicated issue if treated at the earliest. However, the problem might get complex to a range where the rectum and anal passage might need surgery. Hence, you must take your dog to the vet if you feel he has constipation or if you notice some unlikely activities and signs. 

Symptoms of Dogs Constipation

The colon’s function is to store feces, which it may do for a few weeks. If your dog hasn’t defecated in a few days, you may be concerned. Here are a few symptoms of dog constipation:

  • Lack of defecation recently
  • Hard and stone-like stool
  • Discomfort
  • Painful defecation
  • Mucus stool
  • Bloody stool
  • Scooting frequently
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Cry
  • Whining
  • Growling
  • Panting
  • Tenesmus involves your dog straining to defecate with little or no result. Finally, it produces small amounts of liquid fecal matter combined with blood.
  • Dyschezia is your pet’s painful condition in eliminating the fecal matter from his body.

Diagnostic Test to Detect Dog Constipation

Obstipation accumulates dry feces that becomes lodged in the colon due to long-term or chronic constipation. This might result in a disease known as megacolon, characterized by an inability to defecate regularly. As a result, the colon swells and loses its capacity to transport excrement forward. Constipation is both a cause and a symptom of this condition. These will need you to take your dog to the vet for proper diagnosis. While visiting a vet, remember to talk about:

  • Time
  • Color of stool
  • Consistency of stool
  • Changes in diet
  • Medications
  • Injuries 
  • Signs of discomfort

The veterinary evaluation may include the following, depending on the length and severity of the symptoms:

  • Abdominal palpation
  • Rectal exam
  • Radiographs of the abdomen
  • Barium enema
  • Colonoscopy
  • CBC
  • Urinalysis
  • Neurological exam

Home Remedies to Treat Dog Constipation

Here we have listed a few dog constipation remedies you may attempt to assist your dog get rid of their constipation. However, it’s crucial to remember that you should seek medical assistance if your dog has been suffering from constipation for two days or longer. Chronic constipation can rapidly become an emergency.

Manually Remove Hair

Matted hair can obstruct the rectum and prevent feces from passing through in dogs who shed a lot. If this is the scenario with your dog, you might wash him to loosen any feces that has been lodged in his rectum’s hair. Electric clippers may also be used to eliminate matted hair. 

Do not use scissors to cut the hair manually; instead, visit a vet. 

Support and Exercise

Constipation in dogs can be linked to a lack of exercise, as exercise is essential for intestinal motility and digesting. Take your dog for regular and lengthy walks in his preferred poop locations. It may take a few tries, but the more you boost his physical exercise, his digestive activity will increase.

Additionally, as your dog becomes older, he may find it challenging to maintain the right schedule. Therefore, when he starts to show signs of elimination, try employing a specific harness to help support his body weight.

Increased Water Intake

Constipation can also be caused by dehydration. Whether you examine your dog’s mouth onto the inside of the lips, you can detect if they are dehydrated. You should urge your pet to stay hydrated if it seems dry. Picking up the extra tissue atop his neck is another effective way to check his moisture. Your dog may be dehydrated if this skin does not stretch back into position immediately.

Canned Pumpkin

A canned pumpkin is a high-fiber item that you may introduce safely to your dog’s meal to relieve constipation. The Merck Veterinary Manual suggests adding 1-4 teaspoons of pumpkin to each meal to relieve moderate constipation. The quantity of pumpkin you use depends on your dog’s size: 1 tbsp for petite and miniature types, up to 4 tbsp for large and giant breeds. 

Treatments and Side Effects of Dog Constipation

Dog constipation is treated in various ways depending upon the severity of the dog. We will now discuss how multiple degrees of dog constipation is treated:

  • Early signs of dog constipation need changing diet to a bland diet and adding pumpkin, water, exercise in his diet and routine.  
  • Mild constipation is treated with essential medicines with a proper prescription. These are generally treated at home and need a regular checkup. 
  • Delayed motility is addressed with medicines like Bisacodyl. These prescribed medicines help in speeding up bowel motility in dogs. 
  • Severe constipation and obstipation require aggressive treatment procedures like intravenous fluid therapy, surgeries, saline enema, and luxation.

Side effects

At times the wall of the large intestine might be irritated due to the application of laxatives.

How to Prevent Dog Constipation?

Your veterinarian may recommend feeding a therapeutic diet, adding vitamins or drugs to the food, or returning for more testing or therapies, depending on the particular reason for your dog’s constipation. While constipation in most dogs is caused by consuming a new food or substance where medical intervention is not required, other dogs may need to be treated for the rest of their lives to keep their bowel motion in check.

Tools Required to Prevent Dog Constipation

Stool Softener
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Canned Pumpkin
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Goat’s Milk
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Dog Constipation Left Untreated: Complications

Constipation in your dog can escalate to obstipation if it remains unaddressed. When the excrement in the colon gets too dry and hard to move, this transpires. As a result, your dog’s colon becomes clogged with stool, and he is unable to pass it. This results in a condition known as megacolon.

Your dog may get sluggish and tired, decrease its appetite, struggle when pooping, and vomit if the colon grows excessively big. These can progress to more significant issues, requiring immediate treatment such as manual stool removal.

Are Some Breeds of Dogs More Prone to Dog Constipation? 

There are specific dog breeds that are prone to dog constipation. The dog breeds with screw tails are some of them. 

  • Pugs
  • English Bulldogs
  • Boston Terrier
  • French Bulldog


Constipation in Dogs

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How to Cure a Dog’s Constipation


Considering all the brief information we have, one must be very careful about their dog’s diet and daily routine. A healthy and maintained lifestyle won’t trigger constipation. Regular checkup is essential. Consult your vet before introducing any food. Get a diet chart for your pet, an exercise planner, and a training planner from professionals to have a heads-up on your pet’s health. 

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