Constipation or passing hard and dry stools not only causes discomfort in dogs but can also lead to serious illnesses or diseases in them as the stool is unable to move in the system and the colon gets impacted. Deficiency of fibers in the diet or lack of exercise, work, or play, which otherwise keeps the dog active and healthy can lead to constipation or other bowel problems. Usually, dogs like grooming themselves by licking their bodies, which leads to ingestion of fur that gets entangled with the feces and prevents normal bowel movements.
Sometimes, dogs develop a habit of eating gravel, stones, dirt, bones, or plants, which can be another cause for passing sharp and painful stools, often leading to straining and discomfort. A sudden change in the diet or daily routine can also lead to constipation in dogs as they may have a hard time adjusting. Although there are several reasons for stool problems in dogs, following are some stool softeners that will help to overcome these problems.
Regular Stool Softeners
It is a syrup sold under different brand names like Enulose, Cephulac, and Chronulac. Lactulose is indigestible and so directly reaches the dog's large intestine tract, where it is broken down by bacteria to release different acids that attract stool softening water to the bowel. Its recommended dosage is 1 ml per 2 lbs of weight every 8 hours, until the bowel movements are normal.
It is a surfactant that functions by increasing the amount of water and food absorbed by the dog's intestine. Earlier known as DSS, its recommended dosage is 50 mg tablets every day until the bowel movements are normal.
Psyllium Seed Husks
It is one of the most common canine stool softener sold under brand names like Metamucil. It works by absorbing the water in the intestine and swelling it into a stool softening gel. Its recommended dosage for small dogs is ½ tsp and for larger dogs is 2 tsp twice a day, combined with broth or food. Also, make sure your dog is drinking enough water while taking psyllium, so that it passes through the stomach without congealing.
It is another stool softener that works by stimulating the pelvic nerves to increase the motility of the colon. However, this type of nerve stimulation should not be done frequently, and the medication should be taken under the finite course.
Natural Stool Softeners
One of the best ways to prevent constipation is to keep your dog hydrated by making him drink enough water to loosen the dried-up stool in the system and ease up the process.
High-fiber breakfast cereal is a natural stool softener which can be given to the dog once a day until the stools are normal. However, while choosing the best high-fiber cereal for your dog, avoid food ingredients like macadamia nuts, chocolate, or raisins.
Canned pumpkins are considered to be the most palatable stool softener for dogs. Adding a few chunks in the dog's meal will keep the stool from drying and becoming hard.
Other than water, the above mentioned stool softeners should only be given when the dog is constipated or when recommended by a veterinarian. Follow the dietary recommendations suggested by the vet, and monitor your dog's general activities and appetite to ensure that your pet is having normal bowel movements.