As common as human constipation, dog constipation can be frustrating. Bowel movement is a healthy sign of your dog eating well and having a well-functional gut. Dogs usually poop 1-2 times every 24 hours. However, this varies from dog to dog, depending on the type of diet followed by the dog.
If you are concerned about constipation issues in your pet, then this article will answer all your queries.
Let us delve deeper into what causes constipation in dogs. Know what they can eat to overcome the problem.
What is constipation in dogs?
When dogs are unable or struggle to poop, they are typically constipating. It is a build-up of fecal matter within the lower bowel. The poop is extremely dry and hard, like pebbles. Any breed of dog can constipate at any age. However, older dogs are more prone to constipation.
What causes constipation in dogs?
Several factors can affect well-formed poop in dogs. These include-
- Imbalanced and poor diet
- Not eating enough fiber
- Eating excess fiber
- Asymptomatic colitis
- Eating non-food items like plants, garbage, gravel, bones, etc.
- Not drinking a sufficient amount of water
- Hormonal abnormalities like hypothyroidism and hyperparathyroidism
- Too much hair found in the stool due to excess self-grooming
- Anal gland problems
- Renal issues
- Enlarged prostate
- Trauma in the pelvis
- Effects of medicines
- Spinal injury
- Intestinal disorder
- Lack of activity and body movement
- Central nervous system
- Stress and psychological disorders
What are the common symptoms of dog constipation?
The following signs will help you to find out whether your dog is constipating or not-
- Difficult and painful defecation
- Discomfort while passing stool
- Hard pebble-like stool
- Lack of defecation for a few days
- Blood and mucus with stool
- Straining without producing stool
- Loss of appetite
- Irregular bowel movement
- Holding in poop
- Whines when trying to poop
- Poop is compact and extremely hard
What should a dog eat to overcome the constipation problem?
Diet plays a significant role in helping your dog stay healthy and maintain regular bowel movements. It is crucial to treat constipation in dogs to avoid further complications and discomfort.
However, the treatment depends on the causes and degree of constipation. Some dogs require short-term fixes, while some need long-term solutions to maintain regular bowel movements.
Here is what you can do to keep your dog’s bowel movement normal. Treatment for Canine Constipation.
Properly balanced diet:
A balanced diet is one of the most effective ways to keep your dog’s digestive system healthy.
The following food items must be included in your dog’s regular diet-
Canned plain pumpkin
As canned pumpkin has 25 calories per quarter cup, it should be added to your dog’s meal. However, it should be pure canned or powdered pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling contains sugar and can be unsafe for your dog’s health.
Whether you opt for a steamed, boiled, mashed or raw carrot, a grated carrot contains 12 calories, and a medium-sized carrot contains 25 calories. So, you must ensure a carrot is included in the diet.
If your dog chooses to eat a raw carrot, make sure the carrot gets properly chewed. Because a large chunk of carrot, if not chewed, can get stuck in the gut, thus making your dog have a hard time passing it through. It could also lead to obstruction, causing your dog to vomit.
If there are not enough good bacteria in the gut of your dog, it can lead to digestive problems. Probiotics are a collection of good bacteria found in the gut of living beings.
Therefore, making probiotics a part of your dog’s diet can help them produce normal stool. Studies have found that probiotics in humans can help improve constipation by 10-40%.
Celery is a wonder vegetable with high-moisture content. However, you must ensure your dog is not eating a large piece of celery. It might get stuck in the gut causing discomfort. Cut the celery into small pieces and let your dog enjoy the tasty crunch.
Yet another beneficial vegetable is zucchini. It is soft and easy to chew. Zucchini is a great option if your dog’s diet contains more caloric foods than other food items.
Canned dog food
The high moisture content of canned dog food help regulates bowel movement.
Foods and herbs
Certain foods and herbs like ginger, wheat, oats, bran, olive oil, mineral oil, milk of magnesia, laxatives, aloe Ferox, chicken broth, and powdered psyllium seeds are effective in treating constipation in dogs. Research shows that fig paste has effectively treated constipation in Beagles.
One of the most beneficial nutrients to fight constipation in dogs is fiber. Fiber can be soluble fiber or non-soluble fiber. Include foods like pumpkin, beet pulp, kelp, lettuce, green beans, strawberries and blueberries, brown rice, and apples in your dog’s daily diet.
However, do not include too much fiber-rich food in the diet. Consult your veterinarian to give the right portion of fiber to your dog.
Fiber supplements are available in pills, powders, or gels. While fiber powder supplements can be sprinkled over food, pills and gels should be given directly to the mouth.
Increase water intake
Your dogs should stay well hydrated. If you notice symptoms of constipation, increase your water intake. Encourage them to have more fluids as this will help to soften stool and make it easier for them to pass. Give them easy access to fresh water throughout the day.