Occasional constipation in dogs usually isn’t a serious matter, however, it is one that can make your pet extremely uncomfortable. In severe cases, it can also make it extremely sick if left untreated. Let us look at some remedies for constipation you can try before taking your dog to the vet.
Causes of constipation in dogs
There can be several reasons why your dog is constipated. Here are the most common ones.
Commercial dog food
One of the major causes of canine constipation is commercial dog food. The majority of dog food manufacturers ensure that their food produces small and easy-to-pick-up dog feces. Naturally, many canine food brands are high in protein and fats and have very little fiber or roughage in them. Home cooked food can also cause your pet to clog up if there is little or no roughage in it.
Organic or metabolic problems can also cause constipation in dogs. In this case, the colon of the intestine absorbs high amounts of water from the food, making the stools dry and hard. Dogs with kidney or heart disease as well as diabetes are often at a risk of constipation for this reason.
Constipation is also more common in aging or geriatric dogs due to inactivity, underlying health issues and improper diet.
Diagnosis and symptoms
It is not always easy to tell if a dog is constipated and thankfully, they do not get constipated very often. You may have noticed a problem when standing uncomfortably at the other end of the leash, while your dog strains and strains, but is still unable to finish his business. In order to know if your pet is really constipated, you’d need to take a closer look. With diarrhea it is easier to tell. Constipated dogs will have shorter, drier feces and will seem uncomfortable despite having a bowel movement. Some dogs try to run or might stop every few yards on their walks to try and get it out.
Home remedies for constipation in dogs
Here are some effective natural home remedies that can help if your dog is constipated.
Herbal natural laxatives and dog stool softener remedies
Psyllium husk is a wonderful remedy for constipation in humans and it also works wonders in dogs and cats. Use approximately 1/8th tsp with 2 tbsp water for small breeds and increase the quantity to 1-2 tsp for larger dogs. Feed this natural laxative an hour prior to meals. Metamucil for humans contains psyllium husk and it is readily available in drug stores. It is also available in various flavors. Senna pods, licorice root, slippery elm, dandelion root, chickweed, yellow dock, rhubarb and cascara sagrada are some other natural/herbal laxatives that are safe for use in dogs and cats. Comfrey with pepsin is also useful. Alfalfa is also a great remedy that cleanses and detoxifies. Never use stool softeners and laxatives for dogs with colitis or other bowel conditions without first talking to your vet.
Aloe vera juice
Mix aloe vera juice with chlorophyll powder and feed it to your dog.
Pumpkin is a super food for constipated dogs as it is rich in fiber and enables stools to pass out easily. Mix canned pumpkin with dry dog food or canned wet dog food and use it for several days until your pet is regular again.
Most dogs love canned green beans and they are very rich in fiber and proteins as well. You can always give fresh beans but they take a long time to cook, so canned varieties or baby food beans (Gerber beans) work as natural dog stool softeners. Add beans to your pet’s meals to keep him regular.
Be careful about treats
Many treats with rawhide and beef can be constipating. So avoid giving these treats as well as human food or table scraps. Instead, go for treats with many fibers like carrots, beans, cooked veggies, and other natural fiber-rich treats. Do avoid dairy based treats and high fat foods. Prevent puppies from raiding the trash cans and eating non-food items.
Mix a couple of tablespoons of oat bran with dry kibble. Add a bit of stock or warm broth to it. This will allow it to go down easily and also stimulate the clogged up bowels.
Keep up the exercise
As in humans, canine constipation can be prevented by exercising the body. Simple exercises like walking and running can keep the large intestines moving and push the food out easily. Take your pet out for walks, even 15-20 minutes twice a day can be helpful.
Feed your dog a high quality diet
Never use commercial dog food containing fillers, corn, soy and other unnatural ingredients. Always feed a high quality diet, whether home cooked or store bought, ensuring it has adequate fiber, fats and proteins.
Ensure that your pet drinks adequate water
If your pet is fussy about drinking water, add some broth or stock to it. You can also add Gatorade. This will rehydrate your pet and replenish all lost salts. You can also use Pedialyte solution instead of Gatorade.
Here is a list of homeopathic remedies for constipation in dogs.
- Nux vomica 6C – Give one or two pellets before meals.
- Bryonia is another effective remedy when the stools are dry, hard and burnt looking and when the dog appears lethargic and tired.
- Lycopdium – This is for ineffectual straining which produces small, hard and incomplete stools. It is suitable for pregnant dogs. Lycopodium 6C is especially suitable for dogs with chronic poor appetite and general tendency to worry. Administer this remedy twice a day for 10 days to benefit the digestive tract.
- Sulfur – This is a good remedy for dogs with constipation and skin issues.
- Carbo veg and nat mur – For sores, dry stools, excessive thirst and general weakness.
What to do to make your dog poop
Taking a dog out for its daily walk is an activity most pet parents enjoy. However, if your dog takes forever to poop, it can interfere with your busy schedule and can really frustrate you. Here are some techniques to try in order to get a dog to defecate faster.
Run and play with your pet
Running, walking and jumping can stimulate a dog’s bowel movements. Have him run fast or get him to fetch a toy. Very soon, nature will come calling.
Bathe your pet
This unusual technique works wonders on some dogs. Bathing them in warm water will activate their bowel movements and have them running to the yard. If you have a hand held shower, gently run a jet of water on your dogs anal region. Make sure your pet is comfortable with this ‘hot water enema’. Stop immediately if there are signs of discomfort.
A gentle grooming session with a belly massage can also stimulate your pet’s bowels.
Non-fat dry milk
Many people have relieved their dogs constipation using milk. Go in for non-fat milk such as Nestle Carnation dry milk. Mix it with warm water and feed it to your pet until he is regular again. Other dairy products to relieve constipation in dogs are whipped cream, such as Reddi-Wip.
For severely constipated dogs
Obviously, if your dog shows visible signs of extreme discomfort due to constipation, you should call your vet as soon as possible.
Instant coffee and petroleum jelly enema
Use a bulb syringe to administer the following enema on your pet.
- Rub some petroleum jelly on your pet’s anal region. It is considered safe by veterinary physicians.
- To make the coffee enema, mix 2 cups of warm water with a teaspoon of instant coffee powder. Fill up the bulb syringe and gently insert it into the pet’s rectum.
- Let the pet walk around a bit.
- Coffee enemas trigger instant defecation in pets.
Milk of Magnesia
You may have heard of people using Milk of Magnesia to treat dog constipation. It is recommended for veterinary use only, so talk to your vet before trying this. It should never be used on dogs with kidney problems.