Constipation is uncomfortable and unpleasant. If your dog has experienced constipation, you may know just by the look of their sweet face and the strain when they are trying to eliminate just how uncomfortable it can be. Seeing these signs in your dog may make you wonder how you can not only give them relief but also how you can prevent it in the future. Constipation, if left untreated, can become obstipation. Obstipation can often lead to a procedure where your veterinarian may need to massage the fecal matter out with your dog under anesthesia. Try these tricks and herbal supplements to maintain a normal digestive tract for the health and comfort of your dog.
Marshmallow root is an herb known and used for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as for providing relief from irritations. Marshmallow root can soothe mucous membranes, regaining the moisture necessary for stool to pass. Marshmallow root has a natural mucilage that can support, soothe, and moisturize the colon. Marshmallow root should be taken with water. You can find it in liquid form at your local health food store to add to your dog’s water bowl.
Slippery elm is a well-known herb used for mucous membranes in the respiratory tract as well as the digestive system. Slippery elm soothes and coats the colon and intestinal walls, allowing for easier passage of hard stool. It is also an herb that provides mucilage, reducing irritation that could be causing your dog discomfort and pain that is stopping your dog from pushing. An herb that naturally has mucilage properties can help to maintain a healthy elimination schedule for your dog if they are chronically or even occasionally constipated. Slippery elm can readily be found at your local health food store in liquid or capsule form. A liquid can be placed in the dog's water or directly on their food. It is recommended to give slippery elm to your dog three to four times a day for a week or two and then take a week or two off.
Herbs for Inflammation and Digestion
Your dog may not want to push to eliminate, causing the stool to stay in place and harden. This could cause painful inflammation of your dog’s intestinal tract. You can offer your dog herbal remedies for inflammation to relieve their pain and get them to push again.
Ginger is often used for upset tummies. It is also an excellent anti-inflammatory, which could help with abdominal pain. Ginger is also known for aiding in digestion and nausea.
Licorice root has anti-inflammatory properties, which can assist with your dog’s stomach pain if they are constipated. Licorice also promotes balance within your dog’s body, aiding with overall well-being.
Milk thistle has detoxifying properties that will help your dog clean out their system after suffering from constipation. Milk thistle works with the liver to rid your dog’s body of harsh toxins left in the colon from hard stool and irregularity.
Under normal conditions, your dog should be allowed access to fresh drinking water throughout the day. In summer months or in hot areas, you may need to freshen the dog’s water or resupply more often as your dog will want to drink more to fight the heat. A dehydrated dog will not have the water in their colon to form healthy feces, causing the stool to harden. If your dog is dehydrated, you can add electrolytes to their water to hydrate them while giving them the nutrients necessary for a healthy digestive tract.
Foods to Help with Constipation
If your dog is experiencing constipation, you can add various foods to their diet to help them pass stool before it becomes too difficult. Canned pumpkin can easily be added to your dog’s food. It may take up to twelve hours to see the benefit of pumpkin, but with the fiber pumpkin offers, it can be an easy fix for early constipation in your dog. You can also add bran or oatmeal to your dog’s food to regulate their system until your dog is eliminating on a regular schedule. Fibrous vegetables can also be a daily treat or added to your dog’s meals for a healthy digestive tract.
Prevention and Care for Constipation
There are many ways to combat constipation before it becomes a problem, causing pain and discomfort in your dog. Be sure your dog is eating a well-balanced, healthy, and natural diet approved by your veterinarian. Fresh water should always be available for your dog. Staying hydrated is the best way to fight constipation before it starts. Once your dog is uncomfortable and constipated, you can add natural foods such as pumpkin to their diet to help the dog eliminate. Foods high in fiber, such a green vegetables and carrots, can be added to all your dog’s meals to assist with digestion and to add natural fiber to their diet. You can support your dog’s overall health and keep them from battling constipation with healthy eating.