Man's best friend shares quite a few common diseases, health issues and physical discomforts with Man. Although dogs and humans have very different anatomical and physiological constitutions, certain health problems that affect certain organs or physical functions of one often affect the other in an almost similar way. A good example of this is issues relating to digestion and bowel movement. Constipation in dogs is caused by more or less the same factors that cause constipation in human beings such as poor hydration, wrong food, insufficient fiber intake, etc. Some other medical conditions can also lead to constipation in dogs. Come, let's proceed towards the next segment to take a closer look at what causes canine constipation.
Causes of Constipation in Dogs
If your beloved canine has been having difficulty in passing stool or is having strained bowel or irregular bowel movements, chances are high that he/she is suffering from constipation. Although not a very serious condition in itself, constipation can lead to a number of serious complications if left untreated for a long time. Besides, your failure to notice your best friend's predicament will only worsen his/her physical discomfort which will manifest as behavioral problems and irritability on his/her part. Don't YOU always feel dull and irritable when you're unable to shed your load for two days in succession? It's the same with your pet! That being said, here are some of the common causes that lead to canine constipation:-
Insufficient Fiber and Dehydration:
Although not among the top 3 canine nutrients, insufficient fiber in your dog's daily diet can lead to canine constipation. Similar to what it does to aid human bowel movement, dietary fiber and roughage helps in bulk formation post digestion and nutrition breakdown inside the stomach. This eases bowel movements and makes stool passing a regular and effortless activity. Check if the dog food you're currently feeding your pooch contains sufficient amounts of fiber. If not, switch to one that does! Oh, and do make sure your dog drinks a healthy amount of water throughout the day - fibrous bulk absorbs water from intestinal walls and this may leave your pet dehydrated if he/she doesn't lap up enough water.
A stomach infection caused by bacteria, protozoans or worms can lead to either excessive loosening or tightening of stool, causing your dog to either come down with diarrhea or suffer from constipation. Take your dog to the vet and get a stool test done to determine if an infection is the reason behind your dog refusing to pass stool or having difficulty evacuating.
Ingestion of Unsuitable Objects:
Your dog may find it difficult to pass stools if it has recently swallowed an object made of indigestible material such as plastic, metal, etc. These objects can block the digestive tracts of the canine and can cause serious harm if not attended to immediately. In such a case, the dog in question is likely to show some visible signs of agony and extreme physical discomfort. Consumption of contaminated food or garbage can also amount to ingestion of an unsuitable object.
Sundry Medical Factors:
Infection or inflammation of anal glands, complete or partial paralysis of rectal muscles, hernia, intestinal obstruction, neural degeneration or nerve disorder, etc. can lead to painful constipation in canines. Chemicals and preservatives in dog foods and certain medications can also lead to various unpleasant side effects which include constipation.
Besides the aforementioned factors, stress (caused by negligence, hostile environment, separation anxiety, etc.) is also a major cause of canine constipation. If you've been using laxatives to treat your dog's constipation for quite sometime now, you would do well to know that use of laxatives over long periods also makes a dog chronically constipated. To avoid such a situation, it is always better to consult a vet rather than embarking upon canine treatment guided by your assumptions alone. Now that you know what causes dog constipation, you can save your pet a lot of discomfort by making efforts to keep a close tab on its diet and consulting the vet as soon as you notice even the slightest change in its bowel consistency and bowel movement routine.