If your dog has a hard time going, you’re likely looking for home remedies for dog constipation. Chances are, if your dog strains and has a dry, firm bowel movement it is a case of constipation, but if your dog strains and there is no sign of bowel movement then this is may be a case of constipation. Of course, the latter is more worrisome and should concern the owner more if the dog keeps on regularly straining throughout the day without producing anything.
Natural cures for dog constipation are available but it’s important to determine the underlying cause. Some cases may be treated at home through a natural home remedy while others need immediate vet attention.
Most worrisome cases of dog constipation include those where dogs develop other symptoms along with constipation. If your dog is a “foreign object eater” starts to strain and does not produce a bowel movement, then an intestinal obstruction should be suspected, especially if the dog starts vomiting as well and is unable to keep food and/or water down.
Do not be tricked though if you dog develops some diarrhea, as sometimes some feces make it though around the obstruction in this liquid form.
If your dog loves ingesting rocks, buttons, coins or just anything and the above symptoms seem all too familiar then a prompt vet visit is required. X-rays will confirm the obstruction and emergency surgery may be needed if things don’t move along.
If you dog does not have a “vacuum cleaner” reputation, but the above symptoms still appear too much familiar have him still seen by the vet as there are other causes of difficulty defecating such as polyps, tumors, intestinal intussusception or an enlarged prostate that may block the passage of stools.
Sometimes the issue is lower down the road. Rectal abscesses, fistulas, prolapse, or an anal tumor may be the contributing factor. Search the area for any abnormalities or have a vet check the rectal area since many times the problem may not be visibly seen.
Some endocrine conditions such as hypothyroidism or parathyroid’s may cause constipation. A regular thyroid level test may be helpful to rule these conditions out. Sometimes parasites may bring a bout of constipation. Whipworms are a known cause. Have your dog’s stool checked for parasites. The stool needs to be not older than 12 hours old for testing accuracy.
Neurological damage may disrupt nerves related to promoting bowel movements. This can occur due to trauma, nerve damage, or spinal cord disease to name a few.
Sometimes the trigger is a medication that your dog has been taking. Diuretics, antihistamines and antiacids may be the culprits. Tramadol is also known for being a culprit. Read the medication’s label carefully and see if constipation is listed as a side effect.
When constipation is accompanied by lethargy, loss of appetite and vomiting, then it has gone too far. The vet needs to be seen. The dog may need fluids in order to be re-hydrated and an enema. Medications such as docusate sodium (Colace) or Lactulose may be prescribed to help soften stools.
Owners must be informed that over the counter enemas are for human use only, they can be toxic to our pets and provide more trouble than relief!
Home Remedies For Dog Constipation
Home remedies for constipation are for mild cases only, where dogs are not showing any worrisome accompanying signs. If your dog is constipated and is vomiting, not eating or acting lethargic or in pain, please see your vet. Your dog may have an underlying condition that will need to be addressed. In severe cases, affected dogs may have very dry feces that end up getting lodged and need to be removed manually by the vet with an enema made for dogs.
- Your dog may just simply need a little extra fiber added to its diet. As a home remedy you can try to add one to two teaspoons of regular pumpkin (not pie filling) to its food. This helps keep things moving. Pun intended!
- Some people have had success adding some bran to dog food.
- Others have been adding a sprinkle of Metamucil, however this should be added to canned food only and with plenty of water!
- Dogs that are lactose intolerant have benefited from drinking milk or eating dairy products. However, care must be provided in not giving too much or the opposite problem will shortly arise!
- Adding some moisture to dry dog food may help. A few teaspoons of water added to kibble or offering some canned food should suffice.
- Many dog owners have had success using a hairball product made for cats known as Laxatone. This petroleum based product can help passage of feces.
- Mineral oil will sometimes relieve the most severe cases of constipation, however administer it only mixed in with food. Do not administer it orally directly such as through a syringe or by placing it on the tongue! According to Critical Care Vet you can give 1 teaspoon every 12 hours. Keep in mind as well to use mineral oil sparingly since if used too often it will interfere with proper absorption of vitamins.
- Lack of exercise just as in humans is known to slow things down. Provide a good exercise regimen and plenty of water.
Owners should be aware that dogs with frequent bouts of constipation may become prone to a condition known as Mega colon. This condition is irreversible (unless surgery is performed) and requires frequent enemas and trips to the vet to manually empty the bowels. This can be painful and very annoying. It should be therefore up to the owner’s discretion to properly identify a case which can be treated at home from a case that requires immediate vet attention. As a regular rule of thumb, use discretion. In simple words, when in doubt, get on route! Meaning to the closest vet clinic!
*Disclaimer: All remedies suggested are not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your pet is sick please refer to your veterinarian for a hands on examination. If your pet is exhibiting behavior problems please refer to a professional pet behaviorist.
- Flickr, Creative Commons, Indi Samarajiva, Dog Pooping (CC BY 2.0)