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Constipation in Dogs

Updated on July 16, 2012

Constipation in Dogs Pictures

Courtesy for this Image goes to Squidoo -Constipated Dog
Courtesy for this Image goes to Squidoo -Constipated Dog | Source

Constipation in Dogs : Overview

Your dog may once in a while get constipation that may be caused by many different reasons. Although constipation in dogs is to a large extent is dietary related, there are a whole range of other causes of constipation in dogs that may not be obvious to you as a dog owner. It is important that every disorder that your dog suffers from is thoroughly examined and a professional advice is sought since many conditions like constipation in dogs are indicative of an underlying or sub clinical problem. This approach helps you to treat the actual cause of the constipation and avert advancement of the underlying problem. This is possibly on a vet perspective but prevention is obviously better than cure. In this article, I will briefly highlight some of the causes of constipation in dogs, paying more attention to the most popular causes of constipation in dogs. I will briefly discuss the symptoms and signs of constipation in dogs as well as ways of treating constipation in dogs at home. I hope you will find this article resourceful and of great help to your problem.


What is Constipation in Dogs?

If you have not encountered constipation in dogs before, you may be a lucky dog owner since constipation is a disturbing condition in dogs. Constipation in dogs can be described as a condition that is characterized by difficulty during the normal defecation process. This may also carry a wide meaning since absence and infrequent defecation may also qualify as equal descriptions of constipation in dogs. If your dog has gone two or three days without passing out stool, you should be concern that you may be dealing with a case of constipation in dogs. If your dog finally passes out stool but are hard and is accompanied by difficulty during defecation this is certainly a confirmation that your dog is suffering from constipation. You should also look at the consistency of the feces. If they are hard in consistency this is typically a case of constipation.

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Other Conditions you may confuse with Constipation in Dogs

It’s worth noting that there are other conditions that may present like constipation in dogs. It’s imperative that you know about these similar conditions for your dog to be examined properly before you commence constipation remedy. One of the most commonly confused conditions with constipation is canine colitis. You should also examine the stool if it contains mucus and blood. If they contain blood and mucus or one of them, it could not necessarily be constipation affecting your dog. Other conditions like anal-rectal obstruction could have similar signs.

Dogs Predisposed to Constipation

The following dogs are more prone to be affected by constipation that other dogs. It’s important that most of the things that can be corrected to prevent constipation in dogs are observed

  • Age – Dogs that are mid aged to Old dogs are more predisposed to constipation due to reduce bowel movement
  • Water Intake- Dogs that suffer from water intake intolerance meaning they do not take in enough water may suffer from constipation easily.
  • Diet –Dogs that are fed on a very dry feed like a bone meal and very little fluid content is in the food ration.

Constipation in Dogs Video

Causes of Constipation in Dogs

Understanding causes of constipation in dogs is the best way to begin solving this problem from the root cause. As earlier mentioned, constipation in dogs is attributed to a number of causes that are diverse in nature.

  • Age related constipation -The age of the dog is one cause that natural. It is obvious that the bowel movement slow down with age and this can often be the cause of constipation in old dogs
  • Ingestion of foreign bodies- if your dog likes ingesting foreign bodies like cloth, balls, papers and other materials they may easily be victims of this condition. You should discourage the vice of foreign body ingestion since it could easily lead to constipation in dogs. Materials that are not digestible lead to obstruction of the GIT and therefore cause constipation. In extreme cases this may warrant emergency surgical intervention.
  • Hair licking obstruction- this is a cause of constipation that is common in cats but some dog breeds may be prone to excessive hair licking leading to formation of hair balls that obstruct the GIT and therefore result to constipation.
  • Low water intake and poor diet ration- if the dog food is not properly balanced and lack water or enough fluid content, this will be a primary cause of constipation in dogs.
  • Drug induced or related constipation- you should discuss with your local vet since indication of some drugs may lead to constipation as one of the side effects of this drugs when used to treat other conditions.
  • Behavioral related constipation – due to house training the dog may be unable to know the right time to empty the bowels and this can cause a problem in the long run. Professional house training may be recommended in such cases.

Constipation in Dogs Symptoms and Signs

The following are some of the signs that are commonly observed in dogs that suffer from constipation. These signs may be a good guide to help you know if your dog is suffering from constipation. This symptoms and signs of constipation in dogs should not be the definitive way of concluding your dog is suffering from constipation. Professional help should be sought to help you deal with the constipation problem more effectively.

Here are the Symptoms and Signs of Constipation in Dogs

  • A dog that is straining during defecation a condition that is described with one word- Tenesmus. Your dog may strain for a long period without success or can also be accompanied by pain preventing defecation.
  • Feces that are dry and hard in consistency
  • A swollen anal area as exhibited by red coloration and painful on touching or uncomfortable
  • General body weakness that may be accompanied by weigh loss that results from anorexia
  • Intermittent attempts to defecated without success
  • Irregular vomiting
  • Mucus and blood discharged from the anus during the numerous unsuccessful attempts to defecate
  • Abdominal distension and discomfort

Constipation in Dogs Treatment

Once you have confirmed that your dog is suffering from constipation it’s vital you take the necessary measures to treat this problem. Constipation in dogs is a treatable condition that should not cause any panic. Unless your dog has swallowed a foreign body that is causing this problem, there is absolutely no cause of worry since even in cases of foreign body surgical intervention resolves this problem.

  • The common ways of treating constipation in dogs may include:
  • Removal of the foreign body causing constipation
  • Training dogs with defecation behavior problems and using a mild laxative
  • Use of laxatives and giving your dog more water

I would recommend you to learn more on How to treat constipation in dogs

Constipation in dogs : Conclusion

Did you find this article useful? Please leave a feedback for me to improve or add on this article to make it more helpful to people searching for relevant information on constipation in dogs

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    • afriqnet profile imageAUTHOR

      Joe Njenga 

      6 years ago from Nairobi Kenya

      Hi Dr Mark,

      Your comment and contribution is highly appreciated. Thank you. I will add that on the list of predisposing causes.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      6 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      I thought the article was well laid out and a good read. The only comment I have is that one of the predisposing causes you should list is limited exercise. In all species, including dogs, limited exercise leads to constipation. I agree that the episode needs to be treated medically but to prevent recurrence a dog should have more water, a better diet, and increased exercise.

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