Constipation is a digestive problem that affects dogs of any age, although the oldest are the most prone. It is usually due to a physical cause, but there may also be psychological factors involved.
Next we will explain what are the causes that favor its appearance and, above all, we will pay special attention to the measures that we can follow to prevent constipation of our dog.
Index of contents
- 1 What does it mean that a dog is constipated?
- 2 Causes of constipation in dogs
- 3 Diagnosis of constipation in dogs
- 4 Treatment of constipation in dogs
- 5 Can dogs take laxatives?
- 6 Remedies to prevent constipation
What does it mean that a dog is constipated?
When we speak of constipation we refer to two different realities. On the one hand, it is understood that a dog is constipated when it does not evacuate feces. For other, expelling stools with difficulty or doing it irregularly It is also considered constipation.
Normally, a dog evacuates once or twice a day, although there will be variations related to the animal’s own conditions or its diet. A day or two without bowel movements is no cause for alarm as long as the stool remains normal and there is no difficult elimination. Outside of these cases we would be talking about constipation.
Causes of constipation in dogs
Among the causes of constipation, age stands out. Older dogs are more prone to constipation due to decreased intestinal motility. Also dehydration, more common in elderly or sick specimens, causes stools without water, harder and, therefore, more difficult to expel.
Diseases like hypothyroidism They can cause constipation. Eating non-digestible materials such as bone fragments, hair, or plant fibers that mix with the stool and harden it, causes acute or chronic constipation. Some drugs can have constipation among its side effects.
In some cases, in addition, there is psychological implication, since part of the education we offer to dogs happens because they inhibit their desire to defecate while they are inside the home. During travel, hospital admissions, or residential stays, dogs may be reluctant to defecate.
Diagnosis of constipation in dogs
If our dog does not defecate we must contact the vet. It is important because there are some pathologies that occur with efforts to defecate such as colitis or anorectal obstructions. The vet will need to rule out these disorders before diagnosing constipation.
On the other hand, if we interpret that our dog suffers from constipation and try to solve it at home, but in reality, the efforts to defecate are due to another pathology, not only will we not solve the problem, but we would aggravate the picture.
Treatment of constipation in dogs
The first thing to do when dealing with a dog with constipation is to look for predisposing causes such as those we have mentioned. It is recommended that we act quickly. Minor causes can be corrected only by modifying them, but if we wait, the picture will become complicated.
If our dog has a hard time defecating or takes several days without doing so, we can try offering him a tablespoon of olive oil, a diet with a higher percentage of humidity, water and exercise. If he does not defecate on the same day, we must inform the vet.
When there is any psychological implication, the first step is to increase the number of dog walks or, in any case, its chances of defecating. If the vet rules out physical causes, treatment will undergo behavioral intervention by a canine behavior specialist.
Can dogs take laxatives?
Various drugs with a laxative effect are available to the veterinaryn and can be administered to dogs. They work by hydrating the stool or increasing intestinal mobility and are used to treat constipation, not to prevent it.
Even if we have some of these medications at home, we should never give it to our dog. Only the vet has the ability to prescribe the appropriate laxative. Laxatives have adverse effects and could be harmful to the dog if we administer them on our own.
Remedies to prevent constipation
There are a series of measures that we must take into account to avoid that our dog suffers from constipation and that are also going to be able to solve the mildest cases. They are as follows:
- Good hydration. The dog must have permanent access to clean, fresh water. This point is especially important if we feed it with a low water diet, such as I think. If constipation continues we can consider a wet, dehydrated or homemade menu.
- Also regarding food, it must ensure a good intestinal transit, with a non-astringent diet and with fiber. For elderly dogs with low intestinal motility accustomed to feeding on feed, we can resort to soaking it with water to increase their fluid intake.
- We must prevent the dog from eating non-digestible materials Nor is it recommended that we offer you easily splintered bones. If our specimen shows a tendency to swallow any object, we have to redirect this behavior, we can give it toys, suitable dog biscuits or teethers.
- To avoid psychological inhibitions We will pay attention to the way in which we teach the dog to meet its needs outdoors. If we have doubts we can go to a veterinaryn specialized in canine behavior or an ethologist. All dogs should always have sufficient opportunities to evacuate.
- Regular physical activity improves intestinal transit.
- In dogs with frequent constipation problems it is possible to provide a laxative to help soften the stool and favor a greater number of evacuations. It can be a drug or a natural product like whole wheat bran. Always with a veterinary prescription.