It’s not just humans who have to deal with uncomfortable constipation from time to time — the problem can affect our dogs, too. If it’s been a few days since your dog has pooped, it’s very likely that they are constipated. To keep your pup healthy and happy, it’s important to take action.
- If your dog is constipated, try giving them high-fiber foods like carrots, kale, or cabbage.
- Exercising also helps stimulate bowel movement, so take your dog on more walks.
- You should also make sure to increase your dog’s fluid intake.
Here are five remedies to try if your dog is constipated.
1. Increase dietary fiber
Increasing the amount of fiber your dog consumes may help with constipation.
“Constipation arises when stools are too dry to move easily in the intestines, so they become stagnant and slow things down. Fiber holds onto water and can coat the stools and increase gut motility, pushing things in the right direction,” says Anthony Hall, DVM, a veterinarian with pet telehealth Airvet.
Foods for constipated dogs
- Green leafy vegetables
- Green beans
- Bean sprouts
- Coconut fiber
- Pumpkin (100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)
In order to get your dog to eat these foods, it’s best to grind them up, says Carol Osborne, DVM, a veterinarian at Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic. Your dog should eat about one tablespoon of these foods per 25-30 pounds of their weight once or twice a day.You can also purchase fiber-fortified dog food. Typically a dog needs roughly 1 tablespoon of fiber per 25-35 pounds of body weight per day, says Osborne.
2. Give your dog fiber supplements
If just adding fiber to your dog’s diet isn’t enough, consult with your veterinarian about trying fiber supplements. These supplements come in pills, powders, or gels. Powders can be sprinkled over food, and pills and gels should be given directly by mouth, Hall says.Important: In some cases, fiber supplementation may be harmful, such as if the dog has an underlying condition that’s causing constipation. So consult with a vet first about if it’s right for your dog and next steps.
Exercise helps food move through the digestive tract and keeps “things flowing in the right direction,” says Hall.
As long as your dog is otherwise healthy physically, it’s simple to increase their activity level by taking them on more frequent, longer walks.
“The amount of exercise a dog needs is dependent upon their age, breed, size, job, and current health conditions. But a good rule of thumb is at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise twice daily,” says Hall. Check with your vet for advice specific to your pet.
4. Increase fluid intake
If your dog isn’t well hydrated, the body can pull more water out of the colon than normal, which may lead to dry, hard, or impacted feces, says Adam Rudinsky, DVM, assistant professor of Small Animal Internal Medicine at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Therefore, the more hydrated your dog is, the less stress the colon experiences and the more regular bowel movement your dog should experience.
In order to get your dog to drink more, Rudinsky says you can:
- Try using a drinking fountain designed for dogs
- Give your dog canned food, which tends to be softer than kibble
- Add water to dry food
You don’t have to use just plain water to increase fluid intake. If your dog is bored of water, Osborne says you can get them to take in fluids by consuming:
- Low-sodium chicken, turkey, or beef stock
- Low-sodium bone broth
- Crushed ice cubes
Osborne says soup or broth can be offered as a standalone or added to food or water.
Enemas introduce water and other compounds directly into the dog’s colon, which helps to coat the stools, hydrating and softening them so they can be expelled from the body, says Hall. However, you should never use over-the-counter enemas on pets, as they can injure your pet.Be sure to consult your vet to make sure your dog is indeed constipated, and it’s best to let the vet perform an enema. “Enemas are only performed for the purpose to relieve a constipated bowel. If your pet is not constipated, you may be doing more harm than good,” says Hall.
Your dog can’t speak up to let you know what’s wrong in the same way that a human can, so it’s important to ensure that you have a clear picture of what’s going on with their health before trying to treat constipation.There are various methods you can try if your dog is constipated, but it’s best to consult a vet before taking action. Then, your vet can provide some tailored advice specific to your dog. You should also discuss with your vet about enriching your dog’s regular diet with fiber to prevent future constipation. 4 signs that your dog has fleas and how to get rid of themDog trainers share step-by-step guides to teaching your dog 5 easy (and adorable) tricks5 reasons why your dog is constantly scratching themself4 reasons why your dog keeps dragging their butt.