Home Remedies for Canine Constipation

By Lisa McQuerrey

Occasional constipation, or an inability to have a regular, normal bowel movement for more than two days, can be uncomfortable for your dog. If home remedies don’t do the trick and get things moving, or if your dog shows signs of physical distress, consult your vet for a checkup. Constipation could be a sign of an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed.

Identifying Constipation

It’s always a good idea to monitor your dog’s bathroom habits, as stool and urine output can be a good indicator of your dog’s overall health. If your dog strains while having a bowel movement, cries when trying to evacuate or has infrequent small, thin or hard stools, he’s probably constipated. Collect a sample to take to the vet if the condition worsens. He may recommend a prescription stool softener or canine laxative or perform an enema.

Increase Fiber and Fluid Intake

Get more fiber into your dog’s diet to add bulk to his stool and reduce constipation. You may opt for a high fiber content commercial dog food or add fiber to your existing brand. A few tablespoons of pure canned pumpkin or wheat bran can be a good additive that your dog will likely consider a special treat. Castor oil, olive oil, mineral oil and slippery elm can be added to your dog’s regular food to help relieve constipation, as can psyllium husk, aloe and green, leafy vegetables in quantities suitable for your dog’s weight.

Add More Exercise and Water

Not only can physical exercise help relieve constipation, but if your dog is obese, getting to a normal weight can help prevent bouts of constipation in the future. If your dog is elderly or has a health or physical condition, check with your vet before taking on any type of vigorous exercise routine. Get more fluid into your dog’s diet by encouraging him to drink more water. Always have fresh, clean water available for your pup, and if he had mobility issues, take the water directly to him.

Express Anal Glands

Irritated or impacted anal glands can result in constipation. If your dog has matted feces around his anus, a red, swollen bottom, foul-smelling discharge or is dragging or scooting his behind around the ground, this could be the cause. You can express the glands yourself or employ a vet or dog groomer to handle the task for you.

Danger Signs

Blocked or perforated bowels or tumors can sometimes mimic the signs of constipation. Watch your dog for other signs of distress, such as a change in energy levels, bloody anal discharge or diarrhea or abdominal pain and vomiting, and consult a vet if symptoms worsen. If your dog is taking medication, constipation could be a side effect that also should be reported to your vet.