7 Things to Give a Dog With Constipation
by Amy Smith - 6/10/19
Does your dog go longer than one day without a bowel movement? Is he straining while pooping? Does he produce hard, dry feces? These are all signs of constipation, which left untreated can cause serious health problems. You don’t want your companion to suffer the discomfort or complications of constipation. Learn about seven useful home remedies for helping your constipated dog.
Poor diet is a common cause of constipation in dogs. Adding more dietary fiber can help bulk up stools and make them easier to pass. A tried-and-true food remedy is canned pumpkin, which contains lots of dietary fiber as well as moisture to help with dried-out stools. Other sources of fiber that you can add to your dog’s diet include psyllium husk powder (unsweetened, unflavored Metamucil) or ground dark leafy vegetables, such as spinach.
Sedentary habits can contribute to constipation in your dog. Getting your dog moving will also help keep his bowels working properly, as exercise can increase intestinal muscle activity and help move stools through. Dogs’ exercise needs vary by breed, age and size, but a good aim is one full hour of exercise per day.
3. More Fluids
Make sure your dog has constant access to fresh, clean water. It’s possible for a dog to become dehydrated, especially in hot weather or after unusually long periods of activity, and this can lead to constipation. If you suspect your dog isn’t drinking enough water, consider switching to wet canned food, or try adding water or broth to his dry food for extra moisture.
4. Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera juice, produced from the leaves of the aloe vera plant, has mild laxative properties in humans and animals. A small dose of the juice mixed into your dog’s food or water may help move his stool. And its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties can help heal and calm any digestive discomfort that he may be experiencing along with the constipation.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another natural remedy for all kinds of digestive trouble. Although the research is minimal on ACV for dogs, it is safe to use, as its only ingredient is fermented apple juice. Folk wisdom credits ACV with combating infection, promoting healthy gut bacteria and improving overall health. A small amount added to your dog’s water dish could help with constipation.
6. Frequent Opportunities to Go
Sometime constipation isn’t truly a physical problem but a behavioral one. If your dog doesn’t get enough opportunities to eliminate when he’s relaxed and in a comfortable environment, he may retain his stool too long, causing it to be hard and painful when he does try to defecate. Aim for six trips a day to a quiet area that your dog is familiar with, and give him plenty of time to do his business.
7. Stool Softener
If natural remedies don’t produce relief, you can try a stool softener called docusate sodium (Colace). This medication increases water absorption into the intestine, so your dog’s stool will be softer and easier to pass. Be sure to check with your vet before using stool softener, and follow the vet’s recommended dosage.
Remember, if these remedies don’t produce normal bowel movements within a day or two, it’s time to consult your vet for more drastic measures, such as an enema or stronger medication. If constipation goes on for too long, your dog’s colon could become packed with hard fecal matter, causing further pain and even internal damage. Take his constipation seriously!
Amy Smith is a writer, specializing in family and parenting topics. She teaches English, Latin, and music at a private school and lives with her husband and five children on a small homestead in rural Pennsylvania..