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What To Give A Constipated Dog

Have you noticed that your dog hasn’t pooped in a while? Or, when they go, their stools are hard, dry, and difficult to pass? Constipation is not uncommon in dogs, and with a few easy changes, you can help your dog get some relief.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Constipated
Dogs typically have at least one bowel movement per day. If your dog is otherwise healthy, skipping a day on occasion isn’t normally a cause for concern. If your dog has not pooped in over 48 hours, though, they might be constipated.

If your dog is pooping in small amounts, if it’s dry and crumbly, or if your dog is straining when they poop, they’re most likely constipated and in need of some help.

What To Give A Constipated Dog
Giving your dog a fibrous treat, like a tablespoon of canned pure pumpkin, can help your dog produce a bowel movement in a few hours. If you do not have canned pumpkin on hand, cooked, mashed sweet potato without the skin, or mashed, cooked carrots can also work.

You can also try an over-the-counter laxative for pets. Different products do different things. Some provide extra fiber, others stimulate the bowel, while some contain oils that lubricate the bowel.

Also be sure to increase your dog’s water intake. A moisture-packed snack like plain yogurt or kefir, or unseasoned broth can help.

Then, take your dog for a long, relaxed walk, giving them plenty of opportunities to sniff. Walking helps move the bowel, and encountering scent markings from other dogs might motivate your dog to poop.

Lifestyle Changes To Prevent Constipation
Pets who eat a dry kibble diet may not drink enough water to stay hydrated. Adding water to your pet’s food or giving them fresh, high water content snacks like fruits and veggies can help them stay regular.

If you work long hours, you may want to go home on your lunch break or hire a dog walker so your dog gets an opportunity to poop during the day. The longer your dog has to hold it in, the harder and drier the stool gets, making it even more difficult to pass.

When To Take A Constipated Dog To The Veterinarian
While mild constipation normally clears up on its own in 2-3 days with at-home care, there are some instances in which immediate veterinary care is needed.

Constipation in dogs can be a side effect of a prescription medication. It can also be caused by nerve or muscle issues, a chronic illness, or even arthritis, which can make it painful for your dog to squat to poop. Talk to your veterinarian to rule out an underlying cause, especially if your dog’s constipation does not clear up with dietary changes.

If your dog seems to be in pain, if they’re lethargic, won’t eat, or is vomiting, they may be experiencing an underlying gastric issue such as a blockage. Seek emergency vet care.