Constipation in Dogs

Constipation in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Circling / Diarrhea / Poor Appetite / Straining To Defecate / Vomiting / Weight Loss

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Rated as moderate conditon

5 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Circling / Diarrhea / Poor Appetite / Straining To Defecate / Vomiting / Weight Loss

Constipation in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Constipation?

Constipation refers to difficulty in moving bowels and includes infrequent bowel movements or a complete lack of bowel movements for 1-2 days. Normal healthy dogs defecate 1-2 times per day. Older dogs are more susceptible to bouts of constipation though constipation happens in all breeds and at any age. Difficulty moving bowels should not be ignored as it can be a sign of a current health problem and can lead to health problems. Constipation—difficult, infrequent or absent bowel movements—is one of the most common health problems associated with a pet’s digestive system. Constipation in dogs should not be ignored, as extended periods of distress can cause serious, and sometimes grave, health concerns.

Constipation Average Cost

From 53 quotes ranging from $1,200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,200

Symptoms of Constipation in Dogs

Symptoms that your dog is constipated include:

  • Difficult bowel movements
  • No bowel movement in 1-2 days
  • Scooting
  • Pacing or circling
  • Straining to defecate
  • Vocalizing/crying when straining
  • Dry hard stool production
  • Passing mucous
  • Diarrhea in small amounts
  • Passing small feces
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
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Causes of Constipation in Dogs

Constipation can be caused by a number of factors including:

  • Dehydration
  • Aging
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Ingesting a foreign object
  • Colitis
  • Drugs (decrease intestinal peristalsis)
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Kidney disease
  • Too little dietary fiber
  • Lack of exercise
  • Anal gland abscess/blockage
  • Matted hair around anus
  • Tumor
  • Pelvic trauma
  • Back pain
  • Spinal trauma
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Diagnosis of Constipation in Dogs

If you suspect symptoms that your pet is constipated, you should contact a veterinarian.

At home, you can examine your pet for matted hair or feces around the anus which can often be a cause of blockage. If you do not see any sign of matting, take your pet to the veterinarian. It is important to diagnose the cause of the constipation to avoid further health issues and treat any serious underlying causes.

The veterinarian will want to know how long your pet has gone without a bowel movement, how long you have been observing signs of straining or other symptoms, your pet’s current diet, and whether your pet has been injured or has eaten any foreign materials. The vet will do a full physical examination to check for abdominal pain and swelling and any back or neck pain. She will also look for matting of fur around the anus and examine the anal glands for normal expression.

A complete blood profile, urinalysis and fecal analysis may be ordered depending on what the vet discovers in the exam. Radiographs and/or ultrasound can be helpful in visualizing the extent of the constipation and any foreign objects, tumors, fractures or other abnormalities that may be causing the constipation.

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Treatment of Constipation in Dogs

If you do notice a mat of fur around the anus, you can treat the pet at home by soaking the mat with a warm washcloth and then shaving the mat carefully away with electric clippers. Never use scissors when removing mats as it is easy to cut the skin. You can apply a mineral oil or non-toxic lubricant to the anus to soothe any irritation. If this does not solve the problem, take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

It is a good idea to take your pet to the veterinarian anytime you suspect your pet is constipated. The veterinarian will determine the cause of the constipation and then treat both the constipation and the underlying cause. The veterinarian may prescribe a home treatment or may treat the pet in the clinic. Treatment options for constipation include:

  • Stool softeners
  • Laxatives
  • Increased exercise
  • High-fiber diet
  • Medication to increase peristalsis
  • Enema

If the constipation is severe, your pet may need hospitalization. The veterinarian may perform an enema, and/or administer subcutaneous or intravenous fluids to re-hydrate the pet and aid in bowel movement. Enemas can be dangerous in certain cases and should only be performed by the veterinarian.

If a tumor, foreign object or prostate problem is the cause of constipation, immediate surgery may be required. Surgery will remove the obstruction and recovery may include 2-3 days of hospitalization.

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Recovery of Constipation in Dogs

Recovery after treatment for constipation is good and pets usually recover completely when the underlying cause is addressed and treated. Follow the veterinarian’s instructions on diet and medications closely. For post-operative care, your pet will require rest and quiet. Follow up appointments to evaluate healing may be required. Always monitor your pet for normal bowel movements, vomiting, blood in stool, and appetite when and after treating for constipation. Report any abnormalities to the veterinarian.

Older dogs may have recurrent constipation. Supplements can be added to your pet’s daily diet to relieve these symptoms. Monitor what your pet eats and try to give synthetic bones rather than natural bones. Do not let your dog eat cloth, string, rocks or other foreign materials. Always provide fresh water. Provide plenty of fiber in your pet’s diet. Maintain a healthy weight for your pet. Your veterinarian can provide recommendations on diet, dietary supplements and weight loss protocols. Regular exercise can be important in preventing constipation in pets.

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Constipation Average Cost

From 53 quotes ranging from $1,200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,200

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Constipation Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Mastiff

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Seven Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Pain When Lifting Himself Up From Laying Down

Pooped hard poop Crying in pain Arched back

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It sounds like your dog may have injured his neck or back, and it would probably be best to have him seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. He may need some medications to help relax the muscles in his back and neck, and your veterinarian will be able to examine him and see what is going on. I hope that he is okay.

July 31, 2020

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Mastiff

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Pain When Lifting Upper Body

My dog pooped out hard poop this morning and is helping in pain when lifting himself from a laying position

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It sounds like your dog may have injured his neck or back, and it would probably be best to have him seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. He may need some medications to help relax the muscles in his back and neck, and your veterinarian will be able to examine him and see what is going on. I hope that he is okay.

July 31, 2020

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Hazd

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American Pit Bull Terrier

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1 Year

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Constipation

My dog been constipated he doesn't eat he threw up some yellow stuff a couple of times a day before and he barely poop and when he does it be like a tiny black puddles

Nov. 25, 2017

Hazd's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There are a few possible causes for the constipation which may include an obstruction (foreign body), parasites, infection among other issues; the vomiting would have been attributable to an empty stomach and the black puddles may be due to digested blood from the gastrointestinal tract. It is important to try and encourage eating with a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice as well as ensuring that Hazd remains hydrated; I would recommend you visit your Veterinarian to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 25, 2017

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Lucky

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Mixed

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9 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Constipation

Hi. My 9 year old Maltese shitzu mix seems to be constipaded since he tried to defecate but no poop comes out. He hasn't lost his appetite and drinks plenty of water. I'm worried because every time he goes out he tries to poop with no luck. It's been one day already. Should I give him a laxative? How do I know if there's blockage?

July 26, 2017

Lucky 's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

It is possible that Lucky has an obstruction or just general constipation, before resorting to chemical laxatives it would be best to try feeding him canned pumpkin (plain pumpkin – no added ingredients) to help get the stool moving; another option is mineral oil added to food at a dose of one teaspoon per pound body weight. If Lucky still doesn’t pass his stool within a few hours I would recommend visiting your Veterinarian to examine Lucky’s abdomen and possibly take a few x-rays. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

Would u mind sharing the outcome in Lucky's situation. My 10 yr old Boxer, "Bruiser" has been having almost the exact symptoms as Lucky. The only difference I believe is, Bruiser is walking like he literally has a stick up his butt!" Lol. Boxers tend to have a "Bull Legged" walk to begin with but, this is something new and worrisome. His appetite is normal, drinks plenty of not little bit more. He's still active. Nothing looks/feels abnormal in his belly or around the anal area. However, I did notice what appears to be a hemorrhoid on the top of the anus closest to the tail. Help! Also, he's NOT neutered! After studding him out 3 yrs ago, I noticed that 1 of his testicles appears to have vanished. Thanks for hearing me out!!

Oct. 12, 2017

Jen B.

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Mace

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Teacup Chihuahua

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4 mts

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Constipation

I have a 4 pd chihuahua n its been almost a week since hes gone normally to the bathroom. I have been giving pedialyte n baby cereal in a syringe. Hes still laying around any advise as to what to do now?

July 26, 2017

Mace's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

There are various causes of constipation in puppies including obstruction or foreign body, parasites or bloat; try feeding Mace some pure canned pumpkin to help things along, otherwise you may need to visit your Veterinarian to check Mace’s abdomen for signs of something more serious. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

Thank u so much i will definately try this today!!

July 26, 2017

Mace's Owner

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Sweety

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Poodle x Shih-Tzu

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12 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Constipation

My dog has had trouble pooping for a while. I took her to the vet for the first time about a year ago, she did ok for the first couple weeks but then i had to take her again weeks later, but they just kept on putting me with all these ridiculous expenses, including charging me to keep her over the weekend, but they never called me to pick her up on the saturday. But even still my dog never really recovered well and she is worse than before right now. I am hoping you may know of any medicine or treatment i can give my dog at home. any medicines that you recomend for my dog who is constipated, she cant poop, her stomach feels swollen. After going to the vet and not seeing any results i dont think i can go back and waste more money.

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Chloe

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Yorkshire Terrier

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4 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Straining To Defecate

My 5 month old puppy has strained to poop. I orignally took her to my vet and they said she was impacted due to poop stuck to the hair. They shaved her and sent us home. She continued to strain, so I took her to the ER. While there, she pooped. Normally her stools are the size of my finger. Lately, they are hard and only 1" in length and the width of a worm. The ER said her colon was thick and inflamed and the intestinal lymph nodes are enlarged. They gave prednisone and an antibiotic. I took her back to my normal vet 2 days later with two separate stool samples like what I described above. I informed him what the ER docs said. He said the samples looked normal. He asked me about her diet. It is unchanged (Royal Canin wet puppy food in AM/PM and dry Royal Canin to graze). He told me to stop the antibiotics after tonight, but follow through on the Prednisone taper. She doesn't seem as peppy. She plays, but mostly sleeps. She is eating and drinking. She seems to only have a very small poop (like described above) once a day. She used to go 2 - 3 times a day (size of my finger). I'm very concerned. Please help! PA Yorkshire Terrior Mommy

Constipation Average Cost

From 53 quotes ranging from $1,200 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,200

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