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Constipation in Dogs: Causes and Treatments

Even dogs can get constipated occasionally. If you find that your dog has dry, hard stools, or seems to have a lot of difficulty with its bowel movements, the reason could be that your dog is constipated. Check with your vet to make sure your dog is suffering from ordinary constipation, and not some sort of infection.

Constipation in dogs can cause other health problems for your pet. Deadly toxins caused by the retention of feces in the intestinal system can accumulate in your dog’s body causing bloating, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite.

A lack of exercise and unsuitable diets often cause a dog to become constipated. Dogs need to be walked at least twice a day and always be fed a diet of nutritious dog food. One mistake many dog owners make is to feed their dog table scraps which can easily lead to a bout of constipation. Dogs aren’t the pickiest eaters so you need to watch your pet to make sure it doesn’t eat anything you have not given it.

Certain medications can also cause constipation in dogs. If your dog becomes constipated after being placed on a new medication you should bring it to the attention of your vet. But it’s not only prescription drugs that can cause constipation. It surprises many people to learn that over-the-counter flea remedies can also cause constipation in some dogs.

Psychological stress can also cause a dog to be constipated. If you believe stress is adversely affecting your dog, try giving it some extra attention every day.

Dehydration can also cause a dog to become constipated. Always be sure your dog has a steady supply of cool, clean water. Some vets will recommend feeding your dog 2 teaspoons of mineral oil in its water twice a day for a week to help ease the constipation. See the vet if your dog’s constipation does not go away and leads to lethargy and decreased appetite. If your dog begins to pass small amounts of blood in its stools you need to bring this to the attention of your vet as soon as possible.

For some dog owners the question is always “How do I know if my dog is really constipated?” Technically, your dog is constipated when its bowel movements are infrequent, difficult to pass, or when the stools are hard and dry.

There are various causes of constipation in dogs so it helps a dog owner to be aware when a pet begins exhibiting signs of this problem. This will aid in determining the probable cause of the ailment.

Symptoms of constipation in dogs can be recognized by the following signs:

Dry, hard feces;
Infrequent bowel movements;
Discharging only a small amount of liquid feces after straining hard to go;
Sudden loss of appetite;
Occasional vomiting;

You can also try adding bran to your dog’s food to see if it helps promote normal bowel movements. And make sure your dog is getting its regular exercise as this stimulates good digestion and bowel movements.

If your dog becomes constipated it will be in discomfort or pain. A visit to the vet is a good idea so your pet can be examined and undergo tests like a complete blood count and urinalysis. Sometimes abdominal x-rays or an abdominal ultrasound are necessary for correct diagnosis.

If you suspect a new medication may be causing your dog’s constipation, stop giving it those medications or supplements until you can consult with your vet.

It is very important that you do not give your dog any medications made for humans or any over-the-counter medication for constipation without first talking to your veterinarian. Some medications can be very harmful to a dog’s overall health and may even result in death.


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