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What to Do When Your Dog is Constipated

As dog owners, it is imperative to maintain our furry friend’s health to the best of our ability. One common yet often overlooked issue is canine constipation. This article is dedicated to helping you identify the signs of constipation in your dog and understand the measures you can take to alleviate this uncomfortable condition.


Recognising Symptoms

Understanding the signs of constipation is the first step in aiding a constipated dog. Let's delve into the symptoms often associated with canine constipation.

Common Signs

  • Straining to defecate: Your dog may have difficulty and show visible signs of straining during defecation.
  • Hard, dry stools: The stools may be hard and dry, sometimes resembling pebbles.
  • Reduced appetite: A dog with constipation might eat less than usual due to discomfort.

Table 1: Symptoms Checklist



Action Required

Infrequent bowel movements Less than one bowel movement per day Monitor your dog closely
Blood in the stool Presence of bright red blood in the stool Seek veterinary advice
Crying out in pain Vocalising pain while trying to defecate Immediate veterinary attention required

Being able to recognise these symptoms early on can aid in swift intervention, potentially preventing more serious health issues.

Dietary Changes

Modifying your dog’s diet can often relieve constipation. Here are some dietary adjustments that can help.

Fibre Intake

  • Increasing fibre: Introduce high-fibre foods into your dog’s diet such as pumpkin or wheat bran.
  • Hydrating foods: Offer your dog foods with high water content to help soften the stools.


  • Fresh water: Ensure that your dog has access to fresh, clean water at all times to aid in digestion.

Table 2: High-Fibre Foods for Dogs

Food Item



Pumpkin 1-4 tablespoons Adds bulk and softens stool
Sweet potato 1-2 tablespoons High in dietary fibre
Bran ½ -1 tablespoon Can be mixed with dog food to increase fibre content

By adjusting your dog’s diet accordingly, you can help ease their discomfort and promote regular bowel movements.

Exercise and Hydration

Adequate exercise and hydration are vital in preventing and treating constipation. Let’s explore this further.

Regular Exercise

  • Daily walks: Ensure your dog gets regular walks to stimulate bowel movements.
  • Playtime: Engage your dog in active play to encourage movement and digestion.

Adequate Hydration

  • Water bowls: Place multiple water bowls around your home to encourage your dog to drink more.
  • Wet food: Incorporate wet food into your dog’s diet to increase their water intake.

Encouraging regular exercise and ensuring adequate hydration can be powerful tools in preventing constipation.

Over-the-Counter Remedies

If lifestyle changes don’t alleviate your dog’s symptoms, you might consider over-the-counter remedies. However, always consult your vet before administering any new medication.

Stool Softeners

  • Lactulose: A sugar-based laxative that can help soften stools.
  • Docusate sodium: A stool softener that can be used under veterinary supervision.

Fibre Supplements

  • Psyllium: Available in powder form and can be added to your dog’s food to increase fibre content.
  • Metamucil: A human laxative that is sometimes recommended for dogs in small doses.

Using over-the-counter remedies can sometimes offer quick relief but should be used judiciously and under veterinary guidance.

Consulting Your Vet

If home remedies do not work, it is time to consult your vet to identify the underlying causes of constipation and to get appropriate treatment.

Medical Treatments

  • Enemas: In severe cases, your vet might administer an enema to relieve constipation.
  • Prescription medications: Your vet might prescribe medications to treat underlying conditions causing constipation.

Testing and Diagnosis

  • Physical examination: Your vet will conduct a physical examination to identify any blockages or underlying issues.
  • Diagnostic tests: Tests such as blood tests or X-rays might be recommended to diagnose the cause of constipation.

Remember, it is always best to consult with a vet if you are unsure about how to treat your dog’s constipation.


Q: Can I give my dog human laxatives?

A: It is essential to consult your vet before giving your dog any human medications, including laxatives, as incorrect dosages can be dangerous.

Q: How can I encourage my dog to drink more water?

A: Providing fresh water regularly, offering ice cubes, and incorporating wet food into their diet are some ways to encourage dogs to drink more water.



In conclusion, understanding the symptoms of constipation and knowing how to address the issue through dietary changes, exercise, and proper hydration can go a long way in keeping your dog healthy. While there are over-the-counter remedies available, it is always recommended to consult your vet if symptoms persist.

Remember, a happy dog is a healthy dog, and taking proactive steps to address constipation can ensure your furry friend remains comfortable and happy. Stay tuned to our platform for more informative articles on maintaining your dog’s health.


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