What Can You Give a Dog for Constipation?

Skylar Dial
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How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Constipated?

It’s important to detect constipation in a timely manner because it can lead to painful conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or even more serious health problems. While many dogs simply show any physical signs that they need to go to the bathroom, others will not and still need to have bowel movements manually stimulated.

If you notice any of the below symptoms in your dog, it may be constipated:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Hard stools
  • Unusual straining to defecate
  • Painful passing of stools
  • Frequent attempts to defecate

Causes of Constipation in Dogs

Constipation in dogs can be caused by various things. It is important to identify the cause in order to treat it properly. What follows is a list of possible causes of constipation in dogs:

Excessive Physical Activity: Exercise is crucial for a dog’s health. However, there is such a thing as excessive physical activity. When your dog is overdoing it with running and playing, he may suffer from muscle damage and strain. With the damage to his GI tract, your dog may become constipated.

Inadequate Water Intake: Water plays a very important role in the digestion process. It is essential both for absorbing nutrients and for stimulating your dog’s digestive system. If your dog is not drinking enough water, this too may lead to constipation.

Improper Diet: There are dogs that are not particularly fond of their meals, and they do not eat sufficiently. These dogs may become constipated because of their diet. Improper diet also causes your dog to absorb more of the nutrients required by his body, which usually leads to the dog losing nutrients. Once the dog loses nutrients, his body may not be able to absorb water properly.

What to Do If Your Dog Is Constipated

In order to avoid constipation, it is very important to feed your dog the right amount of dog food for his age and size. It is also important to have your dog exercise regularly to keep his digestive system moving along. However, if your dog is constipated, there are a few things that you can do at home.

Stop feeding your dog anything hard to digest like rawhide. Also stop giving your dog cow's milk as this can upset his stomach. Also ensure your puppy is getting enough water. Dogs that are constipated are more prone to dehydration. You can give your dog some mashed banana or pumpkin to help move things along.

If you're an owner of an older dog, you can give them 1 tsp of olive or coconut oil once or twice a week. These contain omega 3 fatty acids which can increase your dog's bowel movements.

If things haven't gotten moving well after a day or two, then it's time to call the vet.

What Is a Good Laxative for a Dog?

Dogs have no shortage of issues that they have to deal with. Constipation is quite common in dogs. Fortunately, there are several remedies for constipation in dogs that are commonly available. Many of them are herbal and will not upset the digestive system, which is very important when it comes to laxatives.

First, let’s look at why your dog might be constipated and then talk about what is a good laxative for a dog.

The most common reason for constipation in dogs is they are simply not consuming enough water. If your dog is older, it could be that some of the older dogs produce smaller amounts of feces. You can help your dog with constipation by increasing their fluid intake.

Constipation is a symptom of illness, so make sure your dog is checked by a vet. There may be underlying medical reasons for constipation, so it’s best to avoid laxatives until your vet has given your dog a clean bill of health.

What is a good laxative for a dog?

Fiber is needed to push waste through the colon and fiber benefits a dog’s digestive system. So, dogs should have access to a food source that is high in fiber.

Dogs have a preference for eating certain types of food. Adding fruits and veggies to their diet can help determine what is a good laxative for a dog.

Increase Fluid Intake

Increasing Fido’s or Fifi’s fluid intake is the first thing you should try when he or she becomes constipated.

Dogs have naturally evolved to live outdoors. They hunt and eat a diet of protein and fat. When you take your dog as an indoor pet, you have to adjust the dog’s diet plan and give it more carbohydrates, less protein, and more fiber. That’s because carbohydrate and fiber stimulate the intestines to move, whereas protein and fat may cause blockage of the intestines.

So think about it. A dog’s natural diet is rich in protein and fat which may eventually result in constipation, whereas their current diet is rich in carbohydrates and fiber, which stimulate intestinal movement.

Dogs, of course, still need to drink water no matter what diet you feed them. In fact, the more they drink, the better, as long as the water is fresh. But you can also try giving them plenty of high moisture treats to further stimulate their intestines to remove blockages.

So when your dog is constipated, you should immediately increase their water intake, as well as wet food. Also, make water available to the dog at all times. If there’s any permanent blockage, you may need to take the dog to the veterinarian.

Provide Frequent Potty Opportunities

Another option is to add two or three tablespoons of canned pumpkin to your dog’s food. Don’t worry about your dog not liking the taste of pumpkin because it has a neutral taste.

It won’t add flavor to his food. It’s actually the combination of fiber, moisture, and nutrients that helps to keep your dog well hydrated.

Pumpkin works great as a natural lubricant for your dog’s digestive tract, and it encourages your dog to take more frequent potty breaks.

This is why providing frequent potty breaks is so important when you have a dog with constipation. By doing this, you help the dog’s system recognize the need to relieve itself and go when it’s time to relieve itself. This way he won’t end up getting constipated.

If your dog is still eating his usual amount of food and appears to be getting enough fluids, you can provide pumpkin gradually in his food to see if it helps with the constipation.

You can start with just a little at first and then gradually increase your dog’s pumpkin intake. For example, you can put a few tablespoons in his food for a week or two and then increase the amount if needed.

Increase Exercise

The best thing you can do for your dog is make him do a lot of exercise. This means regular walks and playtime. This will not only help the dog get rid of the accumulated gas and fecal matter but also help stimulating his digestive system. Exercising for a dog will also help burn off some of the extra energy that often leads to dog diarrhea. Do not over do it though as a tired dog might not be able to handle the extra exertion.

When to Seek Veterinary Care

When it comes to selecting the best dog for you and your family, a lot of people overlook the importance of choosing a dog based on their child's age and developmental stage. As the father to two young children, I see a wide range of dog breeds through the eyes of my kids. Some of them were a great fit, in terms of breed and temperament, while others were not.

The size of your family and your kids’ ages are crucial to selecting the best dog. So before you head off to the dog shelter or the breeder, try to determine your child’s developmental stages and their relationship with animals. The age of your kids is the most important variable in this basic formula.

By knowing your kids’ developmental stages, you will be able to determine if they are ready for a dog and if the dog will be safe around your kids. Some of the key questions to ask are:

  • What are your child’s play habits with other animals? Have they ever injured an animal or caused extensive damage to another animal's property?
  • Will your children be responsible enough to take care of a dog?
  • Did you child show an affinity for animals at an early age?

Here is a list of the general categories of developmental stages your child may fall into: