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What Do I Do When My Dog is Constipated?

By June 14, 2018Pet Health
What Do I Do When My Dog is Constipated?

Your dog is constipated if he’s having difficulty in pooping. Much like dog owners, older dogs are more prone to constipation, although it can happen at any dog age. If your dog is constipated, he will feel very uncomfortable. Extended periods of constipation may lead to lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, and serious health concerns.


How do I Tell if my Dog is Constipated?

If you take your dog out at his usual times and he has difficulty doing his “business,” your dog may be constipated. Is he straining to poop but nothing is coming out? Or, is what’s coming out just a couple of abnormally small, hard poops? Inspect your dog’s rear end. You may see matted feces, grass particles, string, or other objects in or around the anus.


What are the Causes of Dog Constipation?

Most commonly, a constipated dog has swallowed something that’s not easily digestible, such as a piece of dry bone, grass, or hair. However, there are other causes:

  • A slow-down of normal intestinal processes.
  • An enlarged prostate.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Hernias.


What Should I do if my Dog is Constipated?

Always wear rubber gloves when dealing with feces and the anal area.

If you see grass in the anus, try to gently ease it out. If it doesn’t come out fairly easily, stop.

If there is a thread or string in the anus, do not try to pull it out as internal damage could be the result.

If you have a long-haired dog, and there are feces matted around the anus, carefully trim the area with scissors. Long-haired breeds, especially small ones like Lhasa Apsos and Yorkies, can become frantic from the discomfort of matted feces and may resist your trimming attempts. It helps to soak the dog’s rear end in warm water first.

After trimming, wash the anal area with warm, soapy water and apply a water-soluble, soothing jelly (such as K-Y).

Take the dog’s temperature by inserting a thermometer into the anus. If the temperature registers as abnormally high, or you feel resistance when inserting the thermometer or you find blood on it when you take it out, see your vet as soon as possible.


The Best Cure for Bouts of Dog Constipation is Prevention

Some dogs may suffer periodically from constipation, especially as they age. Mixing a small amount of mineral oil into your dog’s food is helpful – 1 tsp. for every 11 lbs. of dog. Always mix the oil into the dog’s food – if you try to administer it orally, it may end up in the lungs and lead to pneumonia. Your vet may also recommend fiber supplements and stool softeners. Here are some other things to be aware of.

  • Grass – Dogs will naturally eat grass occasionally, but it’s best to control this habit as much as possible.
  • Bones – Small pieces of bone can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestinal tract. Give your dog chew toys instead.
  • Water – Make sure your dog always has access to fresh water.


If Your Dog is Still Constipated, Take him to a Vet

A vet will use technology – radiographs, abdominal ultrasound, bloodwork – to identify the underlying cause of the dog constipation. If an obstruction is discovered, your dog may need to be given enemas to remove it. To ensure good hydration to the intestinal tract, fluids under the skin may be administered. In severe cases, fluids may be given intravenously. If your dog has never been neutered and the cause of the constipation is the prostate, castration will be recommended.



CVETS in Columbia, South Carolina, is a veterinary emergency regional center that is fully equipped to take care of your constipated dog. We will determine the cause of the constipation and make your dog more comfortable so that he will once again enjoy going for walks with you.