Lactulose is a prescription medication given to dogs to treat constipation and liver disease. The medication increases the amount of liquid in your dog's intestine, which softens the stool and promotes defecation. Proper administration of lactulose is essential to get a safe and favorable outcome. For success, you must always stick to the veterinarian's dosage and administration instructions.
How to give a dog lactulose by mouth
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Lactulose is a liquid administered to dogs orally with a syringe or dropper. To deliver the medication this way, hold your dog's lips closed and slightly tilt their chin upward. Then, insert the syringe in the cheek pouch of your dog's mouth and gradually release the liquid. Once the liquid enters your dog's mouth, they'll automatically swallow it.
If you're dealing with a temperamental dog, have a friend assist you with holding the dog while you administer the liquid. If approved by your veterinarian, you may also mix the medicine with water or food as they advise. Veterinarians do not recommend mixing the lactulose with milk as the medication is already sweet.
Other treatments for constipation in dogs
Your dog may benefit from other over-the-counter and prescription forms of stool softeners. Before administering these medications, confirm use and dosage with your dog's veterinarian. The vet may advise you to use an over-the-counter stool softener in place of or in addition to lactulose. For the health and safety of your dog, ensure you inform your pet's veterinarian of any over-the-counter medications they are already taking.
Lactulose enema dose for dogs
If your dog is in severe danger of liver failure, or if they have to undergo an endoscopy, your veterinarian may decide to give them a lactulose enema. The lactulose is administered through a tube into your dog's rectum. After this, your dog will be taken to an area where they can defecate.
This method of administering lactulose is best performed by a veterinarian, because rectal trauma is not uncommon. As your veterinarian administers lactulose, they can best determine the lactulose enema dose for your dog based on their weight and condition(s).
About lactulose dosage for canine constipation
To treat liver disease, also known as hepatic encephalopathy, your veterinarian will likely prescribe 3-4 lactulose dosages per day. Typically, a lactulose dose is 1-2 milliliters per 10 pounds of body weight. Always follow your veterinarian's dosage instruction.
Give the lactulose to your dog at the same times each day. If you forget a dose, give it to them as soon as possible, or skip it if the next dose is approximately two hours away. Always consult your veterinarian about the best time to take lactulose.
How to get a lactulose prescription for your dog
Your veterinarian may proscribe lactulose for your dog after an examination and asking you about your dog's behavior. Before getting a prescription for lactulose, review your dog's medical history with your veterinarian and ensure it's up-to-date.
Like people, allergies are fairly common in dogs. We call this "hypersensitivity." Dogs hypersensitive to milk proteins must not use lactulose because it could worsen their allergies. If your dog is diabetic, caution is required since lactulose is sugar that your dog can't absorb. Lactulose may also interact with antibiotics or other laxatives that your dog is taking. Because lactulose can cause diarrhea and dehydration, make sure your dog has free access to plenty of water.
Side effects of lactulose in dogs
After administering lactulose for dogs, it's essential to observe their behavior. If your dog is allergic to lactulose, they may have difficulty breathing. Their face, lips and tongue may swell. Other lactulose side effects in dogs include nausea, vomiting, and flatulence. If any of these lactulose side effects occur, discontinue the use of the medication and contact your veterinarian or seek emergency care.