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Constipation in Dogs After Spaying

Updated on February 23, 2017
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Dr Joe Njenga is a practicing veterinarian with a passion for writing about dogs.

Constipation is common after neutering and spaying.
Constipation is common after neutering and spaying.

Constipation may be one of the most commonly reported problems after neutering or spaying. In dogs, as in humans, constipation is characterized by the inability to pass stool in the normal way and with right kind of appearance and consistency. When a dog is constipated, their stool is hard and dry.

This is a condition that usually clears up with time. If you have tried veterinarian-approved remedies to resolve the problem at home and nothing has worked, it's time to take your dog in to see a vet in person.

Why Constipation Develops After Surgery

Any time the gastro-intestinal tract's ability to move is reduced, constipation is likely to follow. When dogs are spayed or neutered, this tract's motility (or ability to move) is reduced by a few different things. The main one is the anesthesia used during surgery. Another is that dogs are often not fed before surgery, to avoid vomiting that is under anesthesia. These two things together—lack of food and anesthesia—compromise normal gastric motility and thereby cause constipation.

Less common is when constipation results from any compression applied to the gastro-intestinal tract during surgery or trauma resulting from the operation.

Resolving Constipation after Spaying

I do not think there is any reason to worry about post-surgery constipation. You can help resolve the problem and make your dog more comfortable by following these specific diet and laxative recommendations.

Be sure to follow all of the post-surgery advice your vet gives you. If you are concerned about your dog's constipation, do not hesitate to contact your vet.

Was My Dog Too Young to Be Neutered?

Based upon my observations, dogs should not be spayed or neutered before they are six months old. Any younger and they may develop severe urinary incontinence. However, if your dog is constipated and you worry that this is because they had surgery too young, don't worry. Constipation is a common post-surgery issue for dogs of any age.

There can be other health complications after a dog is spayed. I am an advocate of neutering dogs because the benefits outweigh the few complications, but dog owners should understand that if they spay or neuter a very young dog, the risk of complications goes up. There is disagreement about this among veterinarians, but some professionals argue that a female dog should experience one cycle before she is spayed. Waiting after one cycle may helps avert the chance of the dog developing mammary gland tumors, whichare very common in dogs.

Whenever you choose to spay or neuter your dog, however, they may become constipated after surgery. This is a complication that is not related to age.

When Do You Think Is the Best Time to Spay Your Dog?

I am interested in your opinions and experiences! Please participate in the poll below.

Do you think dogs should be Spayed when young i.e. less than 6 months?

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