Constipation in dogs can be caused due to various reasons, most common being lack of exercise, dehydration, and lack of fiber. Sometimes, it might be caused due to a rather serious problem like an enlarged prostate, where you can observe painful laxation and trouble urinating along with constipation.
At times, consumption of a foreign object can lead to intestinal obstruction. If your dog usually has a habit of eating non-food items, then this might be a probable cause. You will notice your dog straining during bowel movements, vomiting, or becoming lethargic. Remember that in this case, you must take it soon to a vet. In older dogs, if you see no obvious reasons for this condition, then get them examined as this can be a sign of a metabolic disease. If your dog has recently undergone a surgery, then infrequent and irregular bowel movements is a common side effect of the same. In other cases, changes in the regular diet can lead to this problem.
Identifying the symptoms and opting for a treatment is very essential. In case an irregular bowel movement is caused due to the food consumed, then you can always opt for home remedies. In other serious cases or after trying home remedies for not more than five days, you must take your dog to a vet. Common symptoms include straining during the bowel movements, infrequent bowel movements, hard and grayish stools, and no bowel movements for 2-3 days.
You might also notice some changes in the dog's behavior. It will look upset and angry. Prolonged constipation can further lead to problems like loss of appetite and vomiting. In any of the above cases, you can start with the home remedies for constipation in dogs that are listed below.
Remedy #1: Grooming
Make sure you groom your dog well. Especially in the case of long-haired dogs, keep the rear end well-trimmed. Matted or tangled hair around the anus can prevent the passage of feces. Also, regularly brushing the hair and then cleaning the shelter will ensure that they are not swallowed by the dog. Keep the shelter clean and remove all the non-eatable items.
Remedy #2: Water
As dehydration can be one of the various causes of constipation in dogs, make sure your dog drinks a lot of water. Keep a bowl of clean water in the shelter. Filtered water is better than tap water. Also, keeping its food moist by adding a few drops of water to it is a good idea.
Remedy #3: Pumpkin
Pumpkin, a natural laxative, is known to be the best treatment. Opt for canned pumpkin. It is a fiber-rich food which very effective in treating this problem. You can mix ¼ cup of pumpkin to your dog's meals till it gets relief.
Remedy #4: Aloe Vera
Another classic home remedy is using aloe vera juice. Make sure you feed it in a small amount, ½ tsp will be enough. You can mix it with water or wet dog food.
Remedy #5: Diet
A healthy diet is essential for curing this problem. Dry beans can be added to the dog's diet, which are one of the fiber-rich foods. Also add other fiber-rich foods to the diet till your dog gets relief. Raw or boiled vegetables are good for constipation. Also make sure you avoid lacteous and other high-fat products. Add 2 tsp oatmeal or wheat bran to its meal for a few days to cure the problem of dry, hard stools. Feeding a bland diet that consists of cooked rice, milk, and cereals along with meat broth is the best remedy. You can also feed your dog not more than ⅛ cup-½ cup of milk daily, that will help lubricate the colon.
Remedy #6: Fiber Supplements
One of the best ways to help your dog get relief is to add psyllium husk, avena sativa, aloe ferox, and herbal fiber supplements to its meals. There are many fiber products available in the market, but your dog might not be able to digest them well. Fibers are known to be useful in faster evacuation of feces. If you opt for commercial fiber supplements, make sure they do not contain sugar. The right fiber dosage is ½ tsp two times a day for a medium-sized dog. You can also opt for 2 tbsp of milk of magnesia that will help evacuation of feces.
Remedy #7: Olive Oil or Mineral Oil
If you are sure that your dog is experiencing this problem, then add olive or mineral oil, that are lubricant laxatives, to the regular dog food. It will help ease the dog's digestion process and lubricate the colon. Remember that excess of olive oil or mineral oil can lead to diarrhea. You can also use almond oil or coconut oil instead.
Remedy #8: Exercise
Lack of exercise can be one of the causes of an irregular bowel movement. Hence, daily exercise along with a healthy diet is essential to cure the problem. Taking your dog for a walk of about 15-20 minutes, at least twice a day is a must. Taking it for a long walk after meals is also essential. This will help your dog in regular bowel movements.
If the aforementioned remedies don't help your dog in getting relief, then you must take it to a vet. A veterinarian will prescribe the proper medication, give stool softeners, and recommend dietary changes for treatment. Sometimes, an enema can also be used by the vet. If the problem persists, a blood analysis and urinalysis will be conducted to know whether any other underlying health condition is the cause of the constipation.
In severe cases, a colonoscopy would be recommended by the vet. Knowing your dog well and monitoring its behavior regularly will help you identify the problem soon and give it the required treatment before the problem becomes a serious one.