Dog constipation can be an uncomfortable and painful condition for your pet. Just like humans, there are dogs who have a tendency to become constipated. However, once constipation has been identified, it is usually relatively simple to treat. There are both medications and natural remedies for dog constipation.
How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Constipation?
If your dog is constipated, you will probably notice that he or she has difficulty passing feces. The feces are small and very dry. You may also notice blood in the feces or bleeding from the rectum.
Dog Constipation Treatment
Mild constipation can be treated at home. The usual way is to give the dog more fiber in food, just as you would with a human.
Canned pumpkin is very effective in treating dog constipation. Be sure to get the unsweetened kind. Most dogs will like the taste if you serve it along with their regular food and they don’t need much. 1 tablespoon twice a day is enough for a small dog (under 25 pounds), 2 tablespoons for a dog weighing 25-50 pounds and 3 tablespoons for a large dog (over 50 pounds).
If your dog is prone to constipation, you should probably add fiber to the diet all of the time, not only when constipation appears. Some grated vegetables or canned pumpkin can be added to the main meal of the day.
Another source of fiber is psyllium husks which are sold in health food stores and can be used for treating constipation in humans too. You may find it under the brand name Metamucil (R). Do not use sweetened or flavored varieties.
To give psyllium, sprinkle a little on the dog’s food either once or twice a day, from a quarter teaspoon for a very small dog to 1 whole teaspoon for a large dog. Be sure that water is freely available to a dog who is taking psyllium because it absorbs a lot of water in the stomach.
Milk gives many dogs diarrhea and therefore some owners give milk to constipated dogs. In most cases, this is not an ideal solution. The dog may be allergic to lactose, causing not only diarrhea but perhaps other symptoms too. If you do want to try milk, give it one time only, just a quarter cup to half cup depending on the size of the dog.
Mineral oil is frequently used to lubricate the digestive system, although it can deplete the dog’s stores of vitamin A and other essential nutrients so it should not be used for more than 7 days and some vets do not recommend it at all. Mineral oil is almost tasteless so you can just mix it with a little food and the dog will eat it. The dosage is from 1 teaspoon for a very small dog, to 4 teaspoons for a large dog, twice daily.
If your dog is not eating, or if your dog’s constipation continues despite treatment or recurs after treatment stops, it is important to see a vet to rule out other problems. Constipation can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, such as hernia or intestinal obstruction. In some cases these require surgery. Do not assume that dog constipation is always a minor condition.