Constipation refers to an inability to produce normal stools on a regular schedule, which, for a dog, is generally once or twice per day. Dogs who are suffering from constipation will not “go” at all, strain to defecate, or produce rock-hard stools.
In chronic cases, dogs may retain hard, dry faecal matter in their digestive tracts. This is known as obstipation, in which there is so much faecal matter that it becomes compacted and the dog cannot defecate at all.
What Are the Signs of Dog Constipation?
The signs of constipation are pretty obvious, including:
• Lack of defecation for a few days;
• Hard, dry stools that feel like pebbles when you pick them up;
• Straining to defecate with little or no result, or producing small amounts of liquid fecal matter mixed with blood;
• Painful or difficult defecation.
Some of the most common reasons dogs become constipated include:
• Diet—As in humans, a diet lacking in fibre is often the problem. Also, unlike humans, dogs tend to eat things that are not food—like hair, toys, and kitty litter—and these may cause blockages and abnormal faecal transit. Bones, bone meal, and other sources of dietary calcium can contribute to constipation.
• Age—Elderly dogs seem more prone to constipation.
• Activity level—For reasons unknown, being sedentary often results in slower transit.
• Digestive tract tumors
• Tumors that narrow the pelvic region
• Anal gland issues
• Prostate enlargement
• Orthopedic disorders that make it difficult for the dog to squat.
What To Do If Your Dog Is Constipated
If the problem has just started—no more than a day or two—a few home remedies might get things moving again. Keep in mind that no one strategy works for all dogs. But some of the old-standbys for treating constipation include:
• Pumpkin—Weirdly, this dietary fix works in some dogs for either constipation or diarrhea. It is high in both fiber and moisture, and many dogs like the taste, so they’ll happily take this medicine.
• Powdered fibre supplements
• Hydration—Make sure your dog has access to fresh water and maybe electrolyte supplements.
When To Take a Constipated Dog to the Vet
It’s a good idea to call the vet as soon as you become aware of any of the following problems :
• Blood visible in stools
For most dogs, constipation will be an infrequent problem, kept under control through a well-balanced diet, access to fresh water, and regular exercise.
**Information courtesy of https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-constipation/