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Constipation in Dogs: Causes & Treatment

Any dog can be affected by constipation regardless of breed or size, and there are many potential causes that should be considered. In today's post, our Greeley vets discuss constipation in dogs, the causes and treatment of constipation and when you might be concerned.

Constipation in Dogs

Typically your dog should pass at least one stool a day, commonly coinciding with mealtimes. If your dog passes dry hard stools or mucus while trying to pass a bowel movement there's a good chance your pup is constipated.  Not having a bowel movement for two or more days can be another clear sign that your pet is constipated, as can straining, crouching, or whining while trying to defecate. Sometimes, you may even notice grass, string or matted feces around your dog's anal area.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Becomes Constipated?

If you notice that your dog is showing any of the symptoms of constipation listed above, it is essential to get your dog in to see the vet as soon as possible. Many symptoms of constipation can be indications of other serious health issues some of which with the potential to be life-threatening or require emergency care.

What Are The Causes of Constipation in Dogs?

There can be a variety of situations that can lead to your dog experiencing constipation. Some of the most common reasons for constipation in dogs include:

  • Dehydration
  • Ingested items such as toys, dirt, grass, or fabric pieces (rugs, clothing or towels)
  • Pain caused by orthopedic issues when trying to pass a bowel movement 
  • Abscessed or blocked anal sacks
  • Insufficient fiber in diet
  • Tumors, masses, or matted hair around the anus
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Ingested hair from excessive self-grooming
  • Insufficient daily exercise

How Can Constipation in Dogs be Treated?

The treatment for constipation in dogs will vary depending on the exact cause of the condition and the severity. Your veterinarian will examine your pup for indications as to the underlying cause. If the ingestion of a foreign object is suspected x-rays may be recommended so that the object, and where exactly it is located, can be identified.

Once the underlying cause of your dog's constipation has been determined your veterinarian will recommend the best treatment for your dog's specific case.

Some of the most common treatments for constipation in dogs are; dog-specific laxatives, increasing fluid intake, medication to increase the strength of the large intestine, increasing the amount of fiber in your dog's diet, and increasing your dog's daily exercise. In cases of ingestion, life-saving surgery may be required to remove the object and prevent severe blockages and damage to your dog's digestive tract.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is constipated or has swallowed a foreign object you should have them assessed as soon as possible. Contact our Greeley vets who can provide comprehensive for your pets when they need it most.

Caring for Pets in Greeley

St. Michaels Companion Animal Hospital is always happy to welcome new patients to our animal hospital. Get in touch today to get started!

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