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Dog Constipation – What to Do When Your Dog Isn’t Pooping!

Constipation tends to be one of the most common digestive issues in dogs and refers to an absent, infrequent and difficult bowel movement.

While our blog’s mascot is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, these tips apply for any breed.

Most obvious signs of a constipated dog include hard and dry stool and constant straining when defecating. Dogs will be trying to defecate more frequently the usual and pass a certain amount of mucus liquid while doing so.

Causes of Dog Constipation

There are numerous reasons why your dog may be constipated. One of the reasons includes imbalanced diet and wrong feeding habits. Food lacking enough fiber can be one of the reasons for constipation. Moreover, the lack of proper exercise can also contribute to reduced bowel movement and retained stool.

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Blocked intestinal pathways can result in constipation and dry stool. It’s not a rare thing for dogs to ingest foreign bodies without being able to defecate them. This goes for stones, bones, toys, fabric, shoes which can be stuck inside the digestive system blocking the path for the stool. Blockages are also caused by large tumors inside the rectum or on the anus causing obstruction. Dogs with matted fur around the anal area due to lack of grooming often suffer from constipation.

Less frequently constipation is developed when there is a traumatic injury on the pelvis so the dog experiences a lot of pain when trying to pass the stool. Orthopedic injuries of any kind can also contribute to this. This way the material inside the guts loses water and gets even harder to push out of the body. Additional causes for constipation in dogs include dehydration secondary so some illness, medication side-effects (anesthesia), neurologic disorders etc.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Pooping?

Normally, dogs can go up to 48 hours without pooping. If your dog hasn’t gone potty in over 48 hours, you should take him to the vet immediately to know what the reason is. In most cases, constipation in dogs isn’t something to worry too much about and isn’t usually a symptom of a severe condition.

Predisposition and Signs

Although any age category of dogs can suffer from constipation, elderly pets suffer more often than others. The signs are very similar to the ones seen when the dog has urinary tract problems so many owners get confused. Crouching and crying when trying to defecate is the most obvious sign of constipation. If you notice that with your pet you should visit your veterinarian immediately. Untreated cases of constipation can seriously put your dog’s life and risk and the dog will become lethargic progressively losing his appetite and comfort.

What to Give a Constipated Dog?

Any suspicion of constipation should be immediately discussed with a veterinarian. The dog will be thoroughly examined in order to determine the exact cause of the problem.

In mild cases of constipation, the vet would probably prescribe laxative agents and a stool softener, as well as medications that increase the intestine’s contractile strength. Long-term problems can be changed with an adaptation of a diet rich in fibers and feeding the animal canned pumpkin.

Moreover, the dog should exercise more than it used to so better be ready to stretch your legs.

More severe cases are managed with an enema that must be administered by a professional. When the problem is foreign body diagnosed with x-rays or enteroscopy most likely the dog will need to go to surgery so that the unwanted material will be extracted from his digestive system.


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