Constipation can cause abdominal discomfort for your dog, but natural remedies can usually alleviate the symptoms. The best natural constipation remedies for dogs are bulk-forming laxatives. These substances work by absorbing water and swelling in the colon, making your dog's stools softer and larger. The larger stool in the colon causes intestinal contractions and bowel movements.
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Natural laxatives for dogs include fiber supplements, pumpkin, wheat bran, and psyllium. Always talk to your veterinarian when you change your dog's diet. Note that constipation is different than internal blockage, which requires vet attention.
Natural laxatives for dogs
One of the most effective natural laxatives for dogs is fiber — feeding a quality diet is a good preventative step to avoid constipation in dogs. All commercial dog foods contain some fiber but some are better than others. A pet nutritionist or veterinarian can help with selection. Additional fiber can be added to a dog's diet with supplements or high-fiber foods. Water intake is also important, along with regular exercise to get the dog bowels moving.
Pumpkin: natural stool softener for dogs
The high water and fiber content of pumpkin makes it a natural stool softener for dogs. If using canned pumpkin, avoid varieties with added spices and sugar used for pie filling. Only use products that are 100 percent pumpkin with no added ingredients. Canned pumpkin specifically for dogs is also available at pet stores.
Add a small amount or pumpkin to wet dog food; the amount varies based on your dog's size. Dogs less than 25 pounds should have 1 to 2 teaspoons., while larger dogs can have up to 5 teaspoons, depending on weight. Most dogs like the taste of pumpkin — in fact, many dog treats are pumpkin flavored, though they likely won't help constipation.
Wheat bran laxative for dogs
Wheat bran is loaded with fiber, a natural laxative. Not only will wheat bran produce a bowel movement immediately after consuming it, wheat bran will also help keep your dog's digestive system regular after the constipation symptoms end. Use wheat bran by sprinkling 1 to 2 teaspoons — depending on the weight of your dog — on your dog's food twice a day. You can use oat bran in the same way.
Psyllium fiber supplement for dogs
Psyllium, a commonly prescribed laxative for dogs, is a natural fiber supplement manufacturers make from the coating of plant seeds. You can obtain a prescription for it or buy it over the counter. When giving psyllium to your dog, mix the powder with wet dog food according to your veterinarian's instructions.
Good eating habits
Good habits can ease and prevent constipation symptoms in your dog. Always provide plenty of water, since dehydration can often cause constipation. Poor diet can also lead to constipation, so give your dog high-quality food. Offer real meat and protein rather than grains and meat by-products. Keep an eye on your dog to prevent him from ingesting large pieces of bone or grass, which can obstruct the digestive tract — note that an obstruction is a different issue than constipation and requires immediate veterinary attention.