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Can human laxatives be used on my dog?

Updated on February 18, 2012

Success! After downing the ever reliable laxative, you were finally able to flush the toilet.  What a relief! Constipation, similar to diarrhea is a common gastrointestinal disorder.  People have different bowel habits. Some people would only “sit on the throne” two or three times a week without feeling uncomfortable. Others would reach for a bottle of laxative if they fail to eliminate in one day. Dogs are really man’s best friends. Dogs always empathize with their human friends. Dogs get constipated too. Can you give your dog the laxative you commonly use to ease his misery? Human medications are not fit for animals but if it was advised by the vet then go!

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Fido’s bowel habits

Dogs would normally ask to be let out once or twice a day. After so much ground and grass sniffing, a healthy dog would be able to pass stool. Something must be wrong if after taking the straining dog several times very little or no stool would come out. The dog is constipated.

What is constipation?

Dogs, like their human friends gets constipated one time or another. Irregular bowel movement is a common problem for all breeds of dogs.  The inability to pass stool is often seen in middle age and older dog that are less active. Poor water intake and a diet that is low in fiber are other causes of constipation. The dog’s inability to pass stool can also be due to an intestinal blockage. Dogs have the tendency to gnaw and eat inedible objects. An abnormally large object can cause intestinal obstruction. Hairballs are more common in cats but it can also cause constipation in dogs. Simple constipation is commonly over after a day or two. Normally, the dog’s system can correct this gastrointestinal disorder even without medication. However, if the dog’s inability to pass stool has gone on for more than three days, the dog would need a vet’s attention. Constipated dogs will be in pain and will be extremely uncomfortable.  The dog may refuse food because of the bloated feeling. The normally energetic dog would be lethargic and reluctant to move because of walking difficulties arising from the pain in the abdominal section.

Treating a constipated dog

Simple constipation is not really life threatening. Constipated humans would just pop a laxative pill and after a while the stubborn stool will be set free. Having proven the effectiveness of these laxatives, a pet owner noticing the discomfort and the straining of the pet will reach for the human laxative and self medicate the pet. Similar to the effect of the laxative too humans, the pet’s constipation will be treated as well. However, the habit of giving the dog human medications can have dangerous repercussion on the health of the pet. Human medications were specifically formulated for humans. As such, no dosage was specified for dogs. Aside from the risk of under or over dosage, the dog may have an allergic reaction or an existing medical concern that would be aggravated by the laxative. Humans and dogs have genetic similarities. However, the grade of ingredients used would have a hazardous effect on the different physiology of the pet. It would be best to obtain a vet’s recommendation if you need to administer human laxative to the pet.


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    • Paulart profile image

      Paulart 5 years ago from 2510 Warren Avenue Cheyenne,Wyoming 82001

      Good information is given on this hub.