How Can I Manage My Dog’s Constipation?
The management of constipation depends on the underlying cause. In cases where your dog is merely bound up due to matted fur blocking the exit, you can provide immediate relief with grooming clippers. Dogs that are having difficulty passing stools containing fur, grass or bone fragments might need the gentle help of a vets gloved hand to manually remove the impacted stool. Dogs having difficulty defecating due to enlarged prostate glands, masses within the intestinal tract or hernias will require surgical intervention.
You can help your orthopedically or neurologically impaired dog stay regular by supporting them with a harness while they defecate. Dogs with conditions, such as diabetes mellitus and kidney disease, which can increase their risk of dehydration and constipation, might need supplemental water added to their food or the administration of subcutaneous (under the skin) or intravenous (injected into a vein) fluids. If X-rays show a large amount of stool within your dogs colon, your vet might perform an enema to give them significant and immediate relief.
In order to prevent the frustrating and distressing scenario of dealing with dog constipation, talk to your vet about ways you can handle and prevent constipation. Your vet might recommend giving your pup high-moisture soft food, stool softeners, a high fiber therapeutic food, or a low residue therapeutic food. The increased fiber content of certain therapeutic dog food allows for greater absorption of water, which softens stool and promotes intestinal motility (the bodys ability to move food through the digestive system). Always consult a vet before administering any over-the-counter medication to your dog, as many can be dangerous or fatal for dogs if not properly administered.
In contrast to constipation, which can leave you wondering when your dog will poop again, diarrhea can leave a pet parent asking if your dog will ever stop pooping again. Diarrhea, the production of loose and frequent stools, is one of the most common G.I. issues in dogs. Like constipation, diarrhea can result from a variety of causes:
Symptoms of Constipation in Dogs
If you regularly walk your dog or supervise its outdoor time, you are likely aware of your pets bathroom habits and will promptly recognize a problem. Here are symptoms of constipation to look for:
Which is worse diarrhea or constipation?
Constipation is when bowel movements are not frequent enough (less than three per week) or hard to pass. Diarrhea, on the other hand, is when the stools are loose and watery. It is not uncommon to have a short episode of constipation or diarrhea, but these conditions are more serious when they are chronic.
Why Are You Feeling Constipated After Watery Stools?
When your dog isn’t pooping as much as they usually do, or at all, they are probably constipated. If they do poop, the stool will be small, hard, and dry, and it will be painful as your dog struggles to pass it.
Most dogs defecate 1-3 times per day, often after a meal. Normal stool is soft but still holds its form. Constipation is uncommon in dogs, but often easy to treat. It can also be mild or severe.
Severe constipation can lead to a condition called obstipation, in which defecation is impossible. Prolonged or repeated obstipation can lead to megacolon. In this condition, the muscles of the colon wall become permanently stretched and can no longer function properly.
Here’s what you need to know about constipation in dogs, from signs and causes to when you can treat it at home and when you need to go to the vet.
After your dog eats, the food enters their digestive tract. The main organs involved in digestion are the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine (also called the colon).
The colon is one of the last steps in the digestive process. It receives chyme (a mass of mostly digested food and digestive juices) from the small intestine, and then absorbs electrolytes and water from the mass as the feces travels toward the rectum. The mass is guided through the colon by natural lubrication and the rhythmic action of the colon wall muscles.
If the fecal material slows down as it travels, the colon will continue to absorb the salts and water from it. The result is smaller, drier feces that are more difficult for the colon to move forward, and your dog becomes constipated.
The easiest symptom to recognize is seeing your dog straining to defecate, but this can be easily confused with other problems such as diarrhea and having trouble peeing.
If you see that your dog can’t urinate, call an emergency vet right away, as this is a medical emergency.
As constipation becomes more severe, your dog may become lethargic, stop eating, or begin vomiting. If you see any of these signs, call an emergency vet right away.
The number one reason for constipation in dogs is eating things that are indigestible, which become lodged in the colon, preventing feces from advancing. Other reasons for constipation include:
Your first instinct may be to try to solve your dog’s constipation at home. But in certain cases, your dog may need to see the vet. Here are some guidelines for getting your dog the right treatment.