Have you noticed that your dog has not been to potty for the second thing on the last day? Or maybe you noticed that it does try to do the thing but nothing is coming out and the dog seems unhappy? Well, that means that there is a good chance your dog is constipated. And it does happen in dogs, even more often than you think.
So let’s learn why it happens, how you can help, and what you can feed your dog.
What causes constipation in dogs?
There are so many reasons that could cause constipation in dogs, which if left untreated could cause very serious problems. Dogs that have been constipated for a longer period usually look very tired and ill and by that time they may be severely dehydrated and lethargic. In some cases, they may even develop infection and possibly sepsis, which is a life-threatening situation.
One of the most common reasons why a dog gets constipated is listed below:
- Dietary factors: Lack of dietary fiber, inadequate water intake, or sudden changes in diet can contribute to constipation. That is why dogs also need to get food that is rich in fiber
- Dehydration: Insufficient water intake can lead to harder stools that are difficult to pass. Dogs tend not to drink enough water during the day, which is why adding water to their food will help with this problem
- Lack of exercise: Physical activity helps stimulate the digestive system and can prevent constipation. That is the reason why when you walk your dog may poop several times.
- Foreign objects: Ingesting objects that cannot be digested can obstruct the intestines and lead to constipation. And we all know dogs are known for eating everything that they should not.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions like anal gland problems, pelvic injuries, spinal issues, or tumors can affect bowel movements.
- Medications: Some medications may have constipation as a side effect. This is why you should always talk to your vet about this, especially if you have a dog that is a couch potato or is known to have lazy intestines.
What are the treatment options?
The treatment will depend on the cause of the constipation in the first place. Changing the brand of the food or the homemade recipe, adding more water or ways to ingest water, will certainly help your dog. If the constipation is mild, your vet will probably have no trouble helping your dog to let go of that stuff that is sitting in his colon.
In more severe cases, where there is a foreign body involved, surgery is required, because there is no other way for the foreign body to come out. No matter what method is chosen, it is up to the owner to follow the instructions given so that this does not happen again.
What can I feed my constipated dog?
Changes in the diet will certainly help your dog. But every change in their nutrition should be consulted with a vet or a veterinary nutritionist, just so that you can provide the best food for your dog. The end goal is to provide a meal that is easily digestible and rich in fiber, which will help soften the stool and promote bowel movement.
Here is a list of ideas that could help you achieve that:
- Canned Pumpkin: Plain, canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) is a natural source of fiber that can help regulate bowel movements. You can add a spoonful of canned pumpkin to your dog’s meals.
- Cooked Sweet Potatoes: Cooked and mashed sweet potatoes are another fiber-rich option that can help soften stools.
- Cooked Vegetables: Cooked, plain vegetables like green beans or carrots can provide added fiber to your dog’s diet. Ensure the vegetables are thoroughly cooked to make them easier to digest.
- Whole Grain Foods: Foods, like cooked brown rice or oatmeal, contain soluble fiber, which can aid in digestion and help prevent constipation.
- Low-Fat Yogurt: A small amount of plain, low-fat yogurt can introduce beneficial probiotics to support gut health.
- Hydration: Ensure your dog has access to plenty of clean, fresh water. Proper hydration is essential for maintaining regular bowel movements.
- Small, Frequent Meals: Offering smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day can help stimulate the digestive system.
- Lean Protein: Include lean protein sources in your dog’s diet, such as boiled chicken or turkey, to provide necessary nutrients without excess fat.
- Fish Oil: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can promote gastrointestinal health. Consult your veterinarian before adding any supplements to your dog’s diet.