Most of us have probably experienced the discomfort of constipation and we know what to do about it. But what about when your dog has constipation?
Do you know what to do? Do you know what causes it or when it’s time to go to the vet for help?
Though it may sound like a minor thing to worry about, if left without treatment, constipation can lead to serious complications. As uncomfortable as it is for us, it can be much more so for our furry friends. Knowing how to recognize and treat dog constipation will make you a better and more responsible pet owner.
Stick with us as we examine the causes and treatments of dog constipation. We hope you don’t have to deal with it often, but when you do, you’ll be prepared.
What Is The Cause Of Dog Constipation?
Before we discuss the signs of dog constipation, we need to first understand what causes it.
When your dog digests food, automatic muscle contractions in the digestive system push food through the small and then the large intestine. If something happens to interrupt the flow of this process, constipation can occur.
If your pet gets an obstruction in their intestines, this can cause constipation. Their discomfort can be compounded if your dog is dehydrated. When your dog’s body needs water and they can’t get it externally, their body will retrieve it from fecal matter, making their stool rock hard and difficult to pass.
You’ll find several causes of constipation in dogs:
The common result of these conditions is often constipation and discomfort for your dog. As you can see, a wide variety of problems can lead to constipation, so you need to be vigilant in monitoring your dog’s health and habits. The first step in treating dog constipation is knowing what can cause it.
What Are Symptoms Of Dog Constipation?
So, now that you know what can cause dog constipation, how do you recognize when your dog is suffering from it?
It’s important to be able to recognize these signs and the varying degrees of severity so you can correctly determine whether you should treat your dog’s constipation at home or bring them to the vet.
Pay attention to your dog’s bowel movements. If they haven’t had one in more than a couple of days or if you notice an extreme amount of straining while defecating, your dog might be constipated. Severe constipation can present as vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, or a distended belly. If your dog cries or appears to experience pain, you should take them to the vet right away.
Mild constipation is easy to recognize if you’ve been paying attention to your dog’s habits. If you notice your dog taking longer than normal to defecate, and their feces is small and hard, you might have a case of mild dog constipation.
You may also notice a small amount of liquid feces along with the small hard pieces, or debris matted around your dog’s anus, also signs of constipation.
If you can, determine whether your dog has mild or severe constipation before attempting to treat it on your own. Remember, severe or ongoing constipation could require the help of a veterinarian.
Ways To Relieve Dog Constipation
If your dog is experiencing mild constipation, you can treat them at home using some simple home½ teaspoon of powder, but if you see no improvement after a day of treatment, you should take your dog to the vet.
If your dog’s constipation has only been happening for a day or two, and they’re not experiencing extreme pain, vomiting, or blood in the stool, you can safely treat them at home. Remember, while we’re offering a few common home treatments, you should only use one treatment at a time.
Some basic home remedies for dog constipation include:
The above list may seem daunting, but remember, you should only pick one method of at-home treatment for your dog’s constipation. If your dog doesn’t respond to the home remedy you chose, it’s time to take them to the vet for some expert dog constipation treatment.
Ways To Treat Severe Dog Constipation
If your dog’s constipation doesn’t go away within a couple of days of treatment, you should take your dog to the vet. They can examine your pet and help you decide what the next steps should be.
Don’t skip this part! Delaying your visit to the vet can have serious health consequences for your dog, including obstipation. This happens when the large intestine becomes so packed with feces, you dog is unable to eliminate. Symptoms of obstipation include vomiting, loss of appetite, straining, and exhaustion.
Your vet has a laundry list of treatment options to help relieve dog constipation. Some of these treatments include procedures done at the vet’s office, some are prescribed medications or special diets. Your vet can even recommend over-the-counter medications to give to your dog, with their express approval.
Some of the treatment options your vet might present to you are:
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