If your dog is suffering from some intestinal blockage it can be an uncomfortable experience for the both of you. If you’re wondering what to do when your dog is constipated you’ve definitely come to the right place, we’re here to give you a quick breakdown on what can be done about it and how to do it in order to relieve the discomfort for both of you.
What You’ll Need
You’ll need to buy a few different things for the different home remedies available to treat canine constipation. Over the course of this guide you’ll probably need to acquire the following:
- Gravity Fed Water Bowl
- 100% Canned Pumpkin
- Cans of Wet Food
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Up Their Activity Levels
- A Reputable Veterinarian
The canned pumpkin can be replaced with nearly any high-fiber food that’s safe for dogs. Some of the recommendations for alternatives are coconut fiber and dark, leafy greens like spinach. You’ll be feeding them in the same ratio as the canned pumpkin. You can also use psyllium husk fiber, which you’ll want to add to your dog’s food in about half of the amount.
In place of apple vinegar, you might want to consider aloe juice. This is more palatable but will also be considerably more expensive. The choice is really up to you, but if your dog has trouble with vinegar, aloe is certainly a great alternative.
If you don’t already have a good vet available, you may need one. It’s always best to have a vet whom you can trust if you have any kind of pet anyways. We’d recommend asking pet-owners you’re friendly with if you don’t, as opposed to picking one at random out of the phonebook or off of Google Maps.
Make Sure Its Constipation
The easiest way to tell your dog is constipated is if they seem to be straining while they’re trying to poop. Keep in mind that they may still produce a small amount of stool in some cases. It can be a bit harder to make sure it’s constipation with a female dog since the position will be similar to if they’re straining to pee.
Unfortunately, this means you’ll have to pay closer attention to what they’re doing. Don’t worry, though, it won’t get weird unless you make eye-contact.
Constipation can be caused by a wide variety of things, including eating something indigestible, a sudden change in diet, dehydration, lack of exercise, or more serious matters like tumors and intestinal diseases.
Once you’re sure your dog is constipated, take a look at the list of causes. If you’ve recently changed their food or they’re lacking water you might be able to move on past step two, but be absolutely sure as constipation can be a sign of much more serious problems than you’d assume at first.
1) See the Vet
Taking your dog to the vet after noticing they’re constipated is strongly recommended, particularly if the problem persists despite more gentle efforts at taking care of it. If your dog is experiencing other symptoms, such as vomiting, don’t hesitate as that can be indicative of something life-threatening.
Your vet will be able to tell you if it’s a serious issue immediately, and if that’s the case then you’re going to have to follow their instructions. Some issues might need to be handled with strong medications, while others might even involve surgery, unfortunately. Taking this step can be a bit expensive, but it’s the best way to make sure your dog isn’t in serious trouble.
Most vets will recommend some of the following remedies, medication is rarely used on animals unless it’s absolutely necessary due to high costs.
2) Make Sure They’re Getting Enough Water
Particularly with puppies, dehydration can be a pretty big cause of constipation. You’ll need to ensure that your dog is drinking enough water in order to regulate their bowel movements properly.
One of the best ways to do this is to ensure that your dog has 100% free access to fresh water at all times. If you’re away for extended periods at work, you might find that a gravity-fed water bowl or pet water station is the best option and they’re a great idea anyways since it will save you time. It’s a small investment, and it’s vital for your dog’s continued good health.
3) Add Wet Food to Their Diet
Since one of the leading causes of constipation in dogs can be dehydration and a diet which is high in grains like a lot of cheaper pet foods, the addition of wet food to your dog’s diet may solve the issue. Try to find something high-quality and grain-free as this will loosen things up significantly better than a generic brand which doesn’t have a lot of nutrition.
You really should be mixing in a portion of wet food at all times anyways, even as your dog is no longer a puppy. The extra moisture will help them quite a bit, and you’ll find that your dog is quite a bit happier around meal times.
Protip: This doesn’t have to be expensive, and it can prevent problems if you just add a couple of spoonfuls to dry food each time you feed your dog.
4) Feed Canned Pumpkin
Canned pumpkin is super high in fiber, and can help things get moving along quite well in your canine’s digestive tract. You’ll want to feed about 1 teaspoon per pound of your dog’s weight, once or twice daily. If you feed your dog more often than twice a day omit the pumpkin on the meal in the middle.
Thankfully, canned pumpkin is generally cheap. However, you want to make sure that it’s 100% pumpkin as cheaper imitation products won’t have the same laxative effect. It’s quite simple to use and most dogs will eat it without having to be coerced. If things don’t clear up in a couple of days, you’ll want to see a vet as it means there’s some issue other than a lack of fiber.
5) Up Their Activity Levels
If you’re not walking and playing with your dog regularly, the lack of exercise can cause a lot of problems including constipation. While you’re modifying their diet to ensure the smoothness of future bowel movements you should also be helping your dog to exercise more.
Take an extra five minutes on your walk, play fetch with them, or any kind of activity which keeps your dog moving. It will help move blood to their internal organs and “massage” their internal organs which will help their intestines to work more efficiently.
Protip: If you’re too exhausted after work to walk your dog, fifteen minutes of playing fetch is a good alternative. It’s still best to walk your dog if at all possible, but there are other ways to make sure they get the right amount of activity.
6) Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
If all else fails, apple cider vinegar is worth giving a shot. You’ll want to give your dog about ¼ of a tablespoon per 10 pounds of bodyweight. It might be a bit tough to convince your dog to eat it, though.
The best idea is to mix it in with wet food, where the taste of the food will overpower most of the vinegar. You’ll want to be using raw, unfiltered apple vinegar to get the most benefit for your pet. You can find it in most grocery stores nowadays.
Protip: A more palatable, but more expensive alternative to apple cider vinegar is to use aloe juice. Not the topical ointment, but the juice itself. Use it in the same amounts as you would the vinegar, and in much the same way and your dog should find it much easier to eat.
7) Give Your Dog Some Milk
It might seem counterintuitive since dairy product are often bowel blockers in humans, but milk may be one of the quickest and most effective remedies around for clearing out your dog’s bowels. Just give them a dish of milk and you’re good to go.
This is especially an effective remedy for recently-weaned puppies who may be having trouble drinking enough water since they’re used to milk. Milks which are higher in fats are better in this case, and soon your dog will be right back at leaving his mess in the grass out back.
Protip: Don’t overuse this remedy, it can add a bunch of weight to your dog quite quickly due to its nutrient density.
We hope that we’ve helped you to relieve yourself of the burden of a dog which can’t relieve itself. As long as it’s not a serious problem causing it, you’ll find that it’s quite easy to take care of. Remember though, that if the problem persists for more than a few days or if your dog is acting lethargic or vomiting, it’s definitely time to see an expert.
We hope that we’ve given you a great answer for what to do when your dog is constipated and we invite you to leave a comment below if you liked this article or have your own helpful remedies which may help others.