Problems with water and diet are often causes of dog constipation. Generally dog constipation can be treated by switching to high-fiber dog food or wet dog food and making sure the animal has plenty of water. Sometimes home remedies such as mixing fiber supplements, olive oils or canned pumpkin into a dog's food can help. In some cases, dog owners must take their constipated pets to the vet for treatment.
Dogs, particularly older animals, should have access to plenty of water throughout the day. Low-quality dog foods often contain fillers and other ingredients that are difficult for dogs to digest, so consider changing your dog's food to a brand that is high in fiber and animal protein, especially if constipation is a regular occurrence. Constipation is more common in older dogs, and can often be helped with a senior dog food blend. Feeding your dog only wet food for a couple of days can also help constipation.
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Never give a dog laxative medications intended for humans because these can be toxic for animals. A common home remedy for dog constipation is to mix some cooked or canned pumpkin into the food. Dogs usually don't mind eating pumpkin. If you use canned pumpkin, be sure it's plain pumpkin and not a pumpkin pie mix. Pie mixes contain spices and other additives that the dog might refuse or that could upset its stomach further.
Oil is another harmless home remedy for dog constipation. Mix a teaspoon or two of mineral oil or olive oil into the dog's food. Powdered fiber supplements can also be effective, though it's usually safer to use herbal supplements such as psyllium rather than commercial fiber supplements for people. If you use oil or fiber, make sure the dog drinks extra water after eating.
Constipation can be extremely uncomfortable for a dog and upsetting to the owner. Dog constipation may manifest itself as the inability to have a bowel movement, or straining during a bowel movement and then producing small, hard stools. In most cases, dog constipation is not cause for major concern, but if it lasts for more than a day or two it could indicate a more serious condition.
Constipation is generally easier for owners to recognize in indoor pets that are taken out regularly for walks. A dog that lives mostly outdoors might show it is constipated by walking strangely, whining for no apparent reason, or refusing food. If constipation is very serious, the dog may become lethargic, vomit, or have a tender abdomen. In these cases the dog should be taken to the vet immediately. Constipation can indicate a more serious condition that requires medical treatment such a thyroid problem, tumor, or an intestinal blockage by a foreign object. It can also lead to hemorrhoids or other complications.