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Constipation in Dogs: How Do I Know if My Dog Is Constipated?

Dogs are humanity's best friend and are a joy to have around any family or home. They care for us in ways we can't even begin to fathom. They're great with children and are the only beings happy to see us enter the door every time. It never fails!

Returning the favor of love is the least we can do for them, and taking care of your dogs requires much more than feeding them daily and washing them weekly. You must be in tune with your dog as if it were your child so you can stay on top of any illnesses or uncomfortable situations that they may be experiencing.

Of course, your dog can't verbally tell you what they feel or think, so it's imperative always to keep your eyes peeled for any signs of irregularities. For example, constipation is one of the most common occurrences among dogs of all breeds, ages, shapes, and sizes and can cause significant health concerns when left untreated.

So, How Do I Know If My Dog Is Constipated?

With so many things in our busy schedules, it may be difficult to notice something as trivial as your dog's bowel movements. However, doing so can save your dog's life, so when you see the slightest difference in their stool, do not ignore it.

You're most likely asking yourself, "How do I know if my dog is constipated? And what do I do about it?" Being vigilant of the following symptoms is a significant first step to diagnosing your four-legged buddy, but only a veterinarian can determine the problem adequately through physical exams.

Constipated dog trying to poop in the yard

Whimpering while trying to poop is more often than not when owners first notice something wrong with their loving dog. At this point, dogs also crouch and strain to help with bowel movements, making all possible efforts to relieve themselves of their pain.

If you rarely see your dog's poop, you'll have to be picking up their waste daily. This way, you'll be able to tell when the last time they pooped was and assess the situation accurately. Usually, two to three days of no waste to clean after is a clear indication of constipation in a dog. Ensure your dog fulfills its needs daily so you never miss signs of this grave danger.

Another sure way of verifying if your dog is constipated is to check the area surrounding their anal area. Constipation is most likely the culprit if you notice any grass particles or stringy matter in their feces. Although it may seem weird to do this initially, it is for their benefit. Remove all taboos or stigmas related to this so you can help your canine friend live a comfortable life at all times.

Constipation is as uncomfortable to dogs as it is to us humans and maybe even more for them. You should never downplay the severity of a dog's pain due to being constipated. Take action immediately. Make sure to give your constipated dog veterinary care as soon as you think they are constipated. If you don't, your dog could end up suffering even more.

Common Causes Of Constipation In Dogs

Many different factors can cause constipation in your dog, and while some are more serious than others, you shouldn't take any of them lightly. Remember that something as common as constipation can lead to a declining health status of your pup or, in some cases, even death.

Dog on operating table

While other reasons do exist, these are some of the most common among dogs and potentially dangerous to their health. One of these causes can lead to another, creating an endless cycle.

  • Enlarged prostate
  • Hernias
  • Pelvic trauma
  • Neurologic disorder
  • Lack of exercise
  • Dehydration
  • Kidney disease
  • Lack of dietary fiber
  • Blocked anal sacks
  • Tumors around the anal area
  • Eating grass, dirt, or trash
  • Eating hair
  • Medication side-effects

Some of these causes of constipation in dogs can be solved quickly, but it isn't easy to know the real reason unless a vet sees your dog and does a complete evaluation. A professional can always spot the cause of constipation and will provide you with some treatment options to cure your pup.

If you're still asking how to know if your dog is constipated, a couple of other determinants will give you a better idea. Constipation is more prominent among older dogs and often has symptoms similar to a urinary tract infection, which is why seeing a vet is vital in diagnosing this issue.

Treatments Your Vet Might Recommend

Before getting on with the treatments a vet might offer, it's crucial to understand how to prevent constipation in your dogs. Regular exercise and keeping them hydrated will help them keep their intestines healthy. You should also neuter your male dog early in their life to avoid prostate enlargement.

You should also be on the lookout for when your dog swallows trash, dirt, or even grass. Ingesting these harmful substances is how they become constipated in the first place.

Despite preventive measures, constipation is natural in all dogs, so you can never be too careful. If your dog is constipated, take them to get checked by a veterinarian, who will most likely offer treatment from the list below.

  • Increase fiber intake with supplements, wheat bran, or pumpkin
  • Exercise increase
  • Medication to strengthen the large intestine
  • Enema treatment (administered by a veterinarian)

If your pet's doctor prescribed any medication above and your dog remains constipated, you must take them back after proper observation. This mishap is a sign of something much worse and can lead to surgery if action is not taken immediately.

When a dog's constipation is not relieved, they cannot empty their colon on their own. In said event, the colon collects a disturbingly high stool volume, leading to apathy, more straining, vomiting, and even loss of appetite.

Love Your Dog Unconditionally

Dogs being caressed by owner

Dogs depend on us day in and day out. Without us, their life would not be as long or happy as it possibly could be. We are responsible for loving and caring for them every day. Taking a break from parenting your pup is not an option, just as it would not be with a child.

Sure, dogs can take care of themselves for a few hours, but they can't drive themselves to the vet's office for a semi-annual checkup or to the groomer's for a fresh haircut. It's essential you realize how much they truly depend on you to carry out a happy and healthy life.

Only you can make them as happy as they make you. Dogs love us unconditionally, and we should do the same. Having a pup comes with many responsibilities that we can not ignore, no matter how much time or money it requires.

Play with your pup as much as possible to prevent issues with obesity, and always make sure they have clean water available. Neglecting your dog is the worst thing to do because they won't leave you for being a bad owner. They are loyal beyond belief.

Be loyal to your dog, maybe even get some dog merchandise to wear and show other people how much you love your dog! Read more information on becoming a better parent for your best friend. The smallest of details, like pet-proofing your yard and house, can make a world of difference. If you haven't yet, this is the moment to do so for their benefit.


How is dog constipation diagnosed?

Generally, signs of constipation in dogs may include difficulty defecating due to straining or hypersensitivity around the anus. If you suspect your pup is suffering from constipation, take them to a vet for an examination. A veterinarian will be able to determine if an underlying medical condition is contributing to your pup's lack of regular bowel movements.

What human food can dogs eat?

Most human foods are safe for dogs if fed in moderation—ensure they contain no artificial ingredients or added preservatives. Adding a teaspoon of canned pumpkin (not pie filling!) or plain yogurt can help ease digestion for mild cases of constipation.

When should you worry about dog constipation?

If your pup's symptoms don't subside within 24 hours after trying natural remedies, it may be time to consult a veterinarian for further advice. Your vet may recommend medications or supplements that will help keep your pup's digestive system running smoothly!

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