Why is My Dog Constipated?

Dogs of any breed, size, age or lifestyle can become constipated. Constipation is the most common digestive issue vets see in dogs, in fact. In this post, our Madison vets explain why your dog might be constipated and how to treat it.

Is My Dog Constipated?

Constipation in dogs can be hard to miss unless you look out for the signs. Some dog constipation symptoms include:

  • Passing hard, dry stools
  • Passing mucus when trying to defecate
  • No bowel movement in 48 hours or more
  • A stringy substance around the anal area 
  • Excessive flatulence but no bowel movements for several hours

If you notice any or all of these symptoms in your dog, it's fairly safe to say, "My dog is constipated!" But what caused this? 

Below, our Madison vets share how to help a constipated dog, some possible causes, and when to see your vet about it.

What To Do if Your Dog is Constipated

How to help a constipated dog can change depending on the severity of your pup's constipation.

If your dog shows the signs listed above, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Constipation can qualify as a veterinary emergency as it can hint at several types of severe underlying health issues in your dog. 

You vet will be able to prescribe medicine if needed or, in more severe cases, perform surgery to remove an intestinal blockage. In some cases, your vet will also send you home with some at-home remedies, like bland recipes that will help your dog pass light stools or certain stretches and exercises you can do with your dog to help them get their digestive tract moving.

What causes constipation in dogs?

Some common issues that can cause constipation in dogs include:

  • Enlarged prostate 
  • Insufficient daily exercise 
  • Insufficient fiber in diet 
  • Ingested hair from excessive self-grooming 
  • Pain due to orthopedic issues when attempting to defecate 
  • Tumors, masses or matted hair surrounding the anus 
  • Abscessed or blocked anal sacks 
  • Ingested items such as dirt, fabric, toys or grass 
  • Dehydration 

How is constipation in dogs treated?

Your vet will examine your pet to identify the cause of your pup's discomfort, then recommend the best treatment for your dog's specific circumstances.

The veterinarian may prescribe one of the numerous common treatments for constipation in dogs, such as dog-specific laxatives, increasing the amount of fiber in your dog's diet, increasing your dog's daily exercise, and/or medication to increase the strength of the large intestine. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog showing symptoms of constipation? Contact our Madison vets to book an examination for your pup.