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Dog Constipation: Causes and Home Remedies

Updated by Sheryl on Oct 15, 2021

Is your dog having trouble pooping? Do you see him squatting without any output? These can be signs that mean your dog is constipated. Your dog can become constipated very often, and most of the time, it's either because he has swallowed something indigestible or is dehydrated.

However, constipation in dogs can also be a sign of something more serious which needs to be diagnosed. Here's some information you need to know to help your dog with constipation.

a cartoon dog
  • Why is my dog constipated
  • Dog constipation symptoms
  • When to see the vet
  • What to do if your dog is constipated
  • Dog constipation home remedy
  • How to make a dog poop quickly
  • How to prevent constipation in dogs

Your dog may become constipated due to several reasons such as lack of exercise and anxiety. Besides, the most common causes of dog constipation are as follows:

  • Swallowing objects that are hard to digest: Swallowing indigestible objects such as bones, grass, dog hair, toys, fabric items can make a dog constipated. And dogs who lick themselves a lot may swallow their hair, leading to difficulty in passing poop.
  • Poor diet: Poor quality dog food that contains too much fiber can make a dog constipated. Similarly, dog foods with very little fiber can also cause constipation. Bone meals, high-calcium foods are likely to cause your dog difficulty in pooping.
  • Dehydration: Maybe your dog can't poop because he is dehydrated. Most dogs need to drink around 30 ml of clean water per pound of body weight daily.
  • Anal sac disease: Anal sac disease is pretty common in dogs. If you notice swelling and blister on both sides of the dog rectum, it might be the reason your dog having trouble pooping. Take your dog to the vet soon.
  • Matted fur around the anus: When the dog coat becomes extremely matted around the anus, it may cause dog constipation.
  • An underlying disease: There can be some other underlying medical condition causing constipation to your dog like these:
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Tumor in the colon or rectum
  • Hernia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Neurological disorders
  • Injury in the pelvic region
  • Post-surgery constipation due to operation or certain medication
a cartoon dog with constipation

Dog constipation symptoms are easily detectable. It may include any of the following or all of them:

Abnormal poop:

  • Your dog hasn't pooped for two days or longer
  • The stool is very dry and hard
  • Blood stool or stool with mucus
  • Frequent squatting with no result
  • Whining, crying, or showing discomfort while trying to poop

Abnormal behavior:

  • Dragging bottom across the floor
  • Circling or walking restlessly
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety, discomfort, and lack of energy
  • Sporadic vomiting

You may also notice redness and swelling around the rectum. When a dog can't poop or becomes constipated, they have pain in their abdomen and lower back region and can growl, bark, or try to bite you when you press the area.

a depressed dog

Normally, a dog poops at least once a day. If it has passed 24 hours since your dog has pooped, do not panic and wait another 24 hours. If you don't see any bowel movement within 48 to 72 hours since his last defecation, it's time to take your dog to a vet.

If you see symptoms like loss of appetite, an infection in the anus, vomiting, fever, rush to the nearest vet clinic immediately.

Delay in diagnosis may lead to obstipation, a severity of dog constipation that doesn't allow feces or gas. Chronic constipation in dogs may also contribute to a disorder of colon known as megacolon, in which waste materials remain inside, causing an abnormally enlarged colon.

dog constipation

Here's what to do if your dog is constipated:

  • Tip 1: Try some dog constipation home remedies: Canned pumpkin, coconut oil (below in detail), and feed in extra water for a few days.
  • Tip 2: If you see poop with grass, try to pull it out gently. If you have a hanging string or thread, don't touch it at all. Pulling it may cause internal injury.
  • Tip 3: Apply a water-soluble rectum jelly to provide some comfort.
  • Tip 4: Stool softeners are often recommended by vets to help dogs poop easily. It's better to consult with your vet before giving any medication.
  • Tip 5: Mixing dog digestive enzymes and probiotics with dog food can be beneficial.
dog constipation
  • Try canned pumpkin:

    Pumpkins are high in fiber and water, which is great for constipation. Give 1 teaspoon of canned pumpkin per 10 pounds of dog's body weight once or twice a day.

  • Coconut oil or olive oil:

    Give 1 teaspoon of canned pumpkin per 10 pounds of dog's body weight once or twice a day. Coconut oil or olive oil has fatty acids which help in bowel movement.

  • Feed wet canned food:

    Dry kibbles can make poop hard, leading to constipation. Switching to wet canned food for a few days is a good idea if your dog can't poop. But, it should be a permanent solution.

  • Ginger with broth:

    Mix ½ of ginger with ½ cup of chicken or beef broth and feed it once or twice a day. Ginger is safe for dogs, and it can help make dog poop.

wet dog food

Read more to know about how to help a constipated dog immediately:

Wiping method→Take a clean cloth, wipe and dip it into warm water. Now start wiping your dog's anus in a circular motion. It will help stimulate the bowel movement of your dog. Rub your pet's belly in a circular motion to warm it up.

Squirting method→Take cool water (not ice cold) and a container or water pipe to squirt it directly into your dog's anus. Make sure he doesn't have any injuries. Repeat it a couple of times.

Icing method→Lift your dog's tail, and hold the ice on his bum. You may need another person's help here because your dog will try to run away. It should take around 30 seconds or a little more to make your dog contract his muscles and push the poop out.

feeding dog
  • Prevent eating grass: Dogs cannot digest grass, but they also have a high interest in eating grass. Keep an eye on him.
  • Change the dog food: Poor quality dogs often don't have the required amount of fibers to maintain a healthy bowel movement. Consult with the vet and switch to a new dog formula with a higher amount of fibers.
  • Stop feeding bones: Bone meals often lead to constipation.
  • Exercise: It has been seen that dog who led a sedentary lifestyle face difficulty with constipation. Exercise your dog to keep his internal organs functioning properly.
  • Adequate hydration: Dogs need to drink about 30 ml of water a day. Keep your dog hydrated to avoid constipation.
  • Groom on time: Grooming your dog on time is important because dogs lick themselves and eat their hair which is indigestible.
  • Neutering: When done at an early age, neutering prevents prostate enlargement, which often causes constipation and irregular bowel movement.
  • Laxatives for dogs: You can use laxatives for dogs to help soften the stool. Consult it with your vet.
When you are heading to the vet, make sure to gather information about your dog's abnormal behavior and things like the last time when he pooped, color and consistency stool, any change in the dog's diet, objects that he has swallowed, vomiting, loss of appetite, etc.
Sheryl is an editor from iPetor, owns extensive pet care experience. As a professional writer, she can provide useful pet care tips for all "parents".
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