Intestinal blockages in dogs may be caused by nonfood items ingested by the dog, tumors in the gastrointestinal tract, heavy infestations with worms or navel and groin hernias. The condition is manifested through lack of feces elimination, lack of appetite, swollen abdomen, nausea and vomiting. The blockage may be partial or total. The problem may be fixed through surgery, but certain remedies, such as mineral oil, may be used to prevent the need for surgery.
Intestinal Blockage Treatment
Intestinal blockage is a severe problem in dogs and requires immediate veterinary help. The vet needs to perform an X-ray and determine whether the blockage is total or partial and to see whether the swallowed object caused any punctures in the GI tract. A total blockage means that the dog is constipated and hasn't passed feces, because the swallowed object or the tumor blocks the passage completely. A total obstruction is typically treated with surgery. In some cases, the bowels may become gangrenous, and this condition necessitates surgery as well.
Treatment with Mineral Oil
Severe cases of intestinal blockage require surgical treatment. If the blockage is partial and the dog passes feces, you may administer mineral oil, also known as liquid petrolatum. The oil acts as a lubricant and laxative and may help bowel movement. Administer 1 tsp. of oil per 10 lbs. of body weight until your dog starts to pass feces normally. Typically, dogs don't have trouble ingesting mineral oil, because it has no odor and no taste. Mix the dog's food with mineral oil or dip a treat into a bit of oil and administer it to your dog.
Mineral Oil in Commercial Laxatives
Mineral oil is broadly used as a laxative in horses and less commonly in cats and dogs. Formally, mineral oil is not a veterinary-approved substance to be used in food, but there are several commercial laxative products available on the market that are recommended as treatment for constipation from intestinal blockage.
When administered in excess or over a long period of time, mineral oil causes constipation and may also interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. Consult your veterinarian when you see symptoms of constipation or intestinal blockage in your pet and administer mineral oil or laxatives containing mineral oil only if instructed by the veterinarian. Don't administer mineral oil for longer than one week.