At one point in their lives, many dogs will experience constipation. This is among dog’s minor health problems that can be easily dealt with. As a pet owner, you must have grown familiar with your dog’s pooping habit due to the inevitable and mandatory cleaning after them. Surely, you’d notice if he misses his regular routine of pooping.

Signs

If you notice that your dog’s regular bowel movement is decreasing, then constipation is possibly developing. Check if he’s straining to defecate, stool is hard, dry, possibly small and pebble-like, he might be constipated. If this happens, his appetite may decrease and worse could start vomiting. It is important that you contact your veterinarian if you notice one or more of the following signs:

· No bowel movement for two or more days
· Inability or difficulty in urinating
· Standing in hunched position and having pain or distress when defecating
· Bloody mucus without stool or blood in the stool
· Vomiting, fatigue, decrease in appetite and/or other signs of deteriorating health condition
· Other alarming signs

Causes

The following are some of the potential reasons why your dog is constipated:

· Dehydration – this is the most common reason
· Dietary indiscretion
· Obstruction due to foreign material such as hair, grass, cloth, toys, etc.
· Barrier caused by abnormal tissue growth such as polyp, tumor, or congenital malformation
· Gastrointestinal motility disorder
· For male dogs, enlarged prostate
· Side effects of medication
· Matted hair that covers the anus
· Neurological or orthopedic problem
· Extremely inactive lifestyle

There are other factors that cause constipation. They sometimes even get resolved without figuring out the cause.

Treatment

Just like any health issues, going to the veterinarian is always the best solution. However, there are a few steps that can get your pet some relief.

Note that if your dog is having difficulty to poop, make sure that he’s not been having diarrhea. If that’s the case, he’d continue to have the urgency to defecate. Using home treatments for this situation will only make things worse.

Below are simple changes that could make defecating go back to normal again:

· Hydrate! This usually resolves constipation. Add water to your dog’s food or cook low-sodium chicken broth. Try changing from dry food to a good-quality canned food. Together with water or broth, add green beans, canned pumpkin (plain not pie filling), or sweet potato to your dog’s kibble.
· Exercise. Take your dog for a walk or try some moderate to vigorous exercise if he’s healthy enough to do it. Regular exercise goes a long way in constipation prevention, especially for senior dogs or those with tendency to get backed up.
· Don’t use suppository unless instructed to do so by the vet.

There are also over-the-counter medications and natural remedies that you can try other than the above mentioned steps. Ensure to use only one method at a time, using multiple remedies at once could possibly make the condition worse. (Note: If your dog had diarrhea, don’t give these home remedies.)

· Add a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil to their food.
· Liquid or capsule fish oil
· Give them herbal supplement such as slippery elm
· Add an unflavored (no sweetener) variety of fiber supplement to their food together with plenty of water.
· Stool softener or laxative.
· Add bran flakes to their food with water.

If your dog’s condition does not improve in a day after trying the steps above, visit your veterinarian.

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