If your four-legged friend has not had a bowel movement in more than two days or if he strains, crouches or cries out when attempting to poop, then he is suffering from constipation.
Constipation, which means difficult, infrequent or absent bowel movements, is a very common problem in dogs.
Other telltale signs of constipation include dry, hard stools and even passing mucus when trying to defecate.
There are many reasons why a dog suffers from constipation. Some common causes include inadequate fiber intake, lack of exercise, blocked anal sacs, an enlarged prostate gland, obesity, side effects of medication, dehydration and orthopedic problems that cause pain during defecation.
Constipation can also be due to matted hair around the anus from lack of grooming, ingested items caught in the intestinal tract, tumors on the anus or within the rectum, trauma to the pelvis and certain neurologic disorders.
This problem can occur in any dog. However, elderly pets are more prone to suffer from infrequent or difficult bowel movements than the younger ones.
If your dog’s constipation is not treated, the colon can get packed with an uncomfortably large amount of feces, which can cause unproductive straining, lethargy, appetite loss and vomiting.
Dealing with a constipated dog can be hard for any pet lover. The dog becomes very uncomfortable and excessive straining to defecate may lead to canine hemorrhoids. This makes it even more important to treat a constipated dog as soon as possible.
While there are many medicines for constipation that your vet may prescribe, you can also try some simple and easy home remedies. These remedies will provide quick relief to your pet and make the bowel movements regular.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for constipation in dogs.
Feeding pumpkin to a constipated dog is an effective home remedy. The high water and fiber content will do the trick and help the dog poop.
Pumpkin is especially rich in soluble fiber, which dissolves in water to form a viscous gel that coats and soothes irritated bowels.
Most dogs love the taste and will usually eat it without any fuss. You can feed either homemade fresh pumpkin puree or canned puree, 2 or 3 times a day. The dosage is as follows:
- For dogs weighing less than 15 pounds, give 1 to 2 teaspoons.
- For dogs weighing 15 to 35 pounds, give 1 to 2 tablespoons.
- For dogs weighing 35 pounds or more, give 2 to 5 tablespoons depending on size.
Note: Do not feed your dog pumpkin pie filling, as it contains sugars and spices.
2. Aloe Vera
Small amounts of aloe vera juice can also provide comfort to a constipated dog. This succulent plant has a beneficial effect on digestive functioning and acts as a natural system cleanser.
It helps with easy bowel elimination without causing any kind of strain.
Aloe vera should always be given in juice form to pets.
- Mix ½ teaspoon of aloe vera juice with regular dog food
- Feed it to your pet, twice a day.
Increase the amount to 1 tablespoon for large dogs.
Note: As some dogs may be allergic to aloe vera juice, consult your vet before giving it to your dog.
Adding digestive enzymes and probiotics to your dog’s diet in the form of yogurt is another great remedy for constipation. Yogurt can even help with indigestion.
The probiotics in yogurt enhance the multiplication of ‘good bacteria’ in the gastrointestinal tract. This in turn helps increase fermentation of digestive material, so that it can be absorbed and passed easily through the colon.
The amount of yogurt to give your dog each day is as follows:
- Feed 1 to 2 teaspoons to a small dog.
- Feed 1 to 2 tablespoons to a medium-sized dog.
- Feed 2 to 4 tablespoons to a large dog.
4. Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
Adding olive or coconut oil to your dog’s food will help with easy elimination the next morning.
These oils are considered lubricant laxatives, thus providing quick relief from constipation.
Depending upon the size of your pet, add ½ to 1 tablespoon of oil to your dog’s regular food once a day. The general rule of thumb is to give 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight.
Note: Do not feed oil to your pet too often, as it can cause diarrhea.
5. Ginger and Chicken Broth
Feeding homemade ginger and chicken broth to a constipated dog can provide huge comfort.
First of all, ginger aids digestive health and helps keep bowel movements regular. Secondly, the fat in the chicken broth works as a laxative to help move things along.
Also, homemade broth reduces the risk of dehydration, which can worsen the condition.
- Bring a pan of water to a boil.
- Add a couple of chicken bouillon cubes.
- Add ¼ teaspoon of grated ginger.
- Cook until the cubes dissolve.
- Allow the broth to cool.
- Serve a small amount of this homemade broth to your dog a few times a day.
Note: Always use boneless chicken when preparing food for a sick dog.
If your dog is not allergic or sensitive to milk, it can play a key role in treating constipation.
Milk serves as a canine laxative and stimulates intestinal motility within hours.
Offer your dog ¼ to ½ cup of milk. If your dog does not vomit immediately after being fed milk, then feed it again after a few hours. Serve milk not more than twice a day.
Note: Do not give milk in excess to your pet, as it can lead to diarrhea.
7. Bran (wheat and oat)
Bran works as a preventive measure when added to your dog’s food regularly. Being high in fiber content, it works as an effective laxative to keep things moving and support easy elimination.
Add ½ to 2 teaspoons of bran to your dog’s regular food, depending upon the size of your dog. It is recommended to add bran to wet food because it absorbs a lot of water.
When a dog eats bran, it makes him drink more water, which is good for relieving constipation.
Figs are also good for treating constipation in humans as well as dogs. They are rich in fiber and also add potassium to the diet.
- Soak a couple of dried figs in water overnight.
- The next morning, grind them into a paste.
- Give a small amount of this paste to your dog once or twice daily for a few days.
Note: Do not give figs to your dog in excess as it may cause diarrhea.
9. Adequate Hydration
To prevent as well as treat constipation in dogs, adequate hydration is a must.
In fact, one of the most common reasons for constipation is inadequate water intake. Dogs that do not drink enough water tend to have constipation now and then.
The colon absorbs some amount of water before waste is processed in the intestines. So, if your dog’s water intake is low, the stool will become hard and dry, leading to constipation.
Always make sure your dog has access to fresh water. It’s recommended to change your dog’s water once per day. Also, avoid a high-grain diet, as grains are not easily processed by a dog’s digestive system.
If possible, invest in a water fountain.
Sedentary dogs are more prone to constipation and other health issues than dogs who exercise regularly.
Exercise is important for your pet, as it helps increase intestinal motility and promote healthy elimination of waste products. Exercise even promotes blood circulation.
- For young dogs, moderate 30-minute walks twice daily is considered good exercise.
- For older dogs, try two short walks of 15 minutes each day. Avoid long, tiring walks for older dogs.
Along with walking, make sure to spend some time at home playing with your dog.
- You can give your dog a stool softener or other laxative agent after consulting your vet.
- Increase fiber in your pet’s diet by feeding your dog fresh grated or boiled vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes peas and green beans. Always consult your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet or administering medications.
- Do not give human laxatives to your dog. It can be very dangerous for animals.
- If a dog has long hair that tangles at the anus, make sure to cut them. Hair at the anus can make a dog avoid defecating.
- Allow your dog frequent opportunities to defecate.
- If constipation is accompanied by vomiting, consult your vet right away.