If you have a dog, you may have experienced your dog becoming constipated before. Although constipation in dogs is not terribly common, it is also not rare, and many dogs will suffer with this issue at some point in their lives.
If your dog is constipated, you may find yourself wondering when it’s time to go to the veterinarian. It’s important to learn how to recognize signs that your dog needs to see a vet for constipation so you can respond efficiently.
Straining vs. Constipation
It’s important to learn how to recognize signs of straining in dogs versus signs of constipation. Straining may be a good indicator that constipation is not far away, but it isn’t quite the same thing. If your dog is straining to poop but can still produce normal stool with a little effort, then she may just need some more fiber, fluids, or a little canned pumpkin in her diet.
If your dog is straining and is unable to poop at all, however, then she is fully constipated. In this situation, she will need the help of a vet to improve her condition and assist her in getting back to full health as soon as possible.
Signs of Constipation
You probably already know how many times per day your dog poops. If she suddenly stops pooping quite as often, or if she stops pooping altogether, then this is a good sign she’s dealing with constipation and needs to see a vet as soon as possible.
There are other symptoms associated with constipation in dogs too, however. For example, dogs who are having trouble pooping may try to scoot to relieve the strain and pressure. They may also squat and try to poop frequently, even when they’re inside and even if they’re house trained already. Constipated dogs may have a stomach that is very tight and full to the touch, and they may show signs of pain or aggression when you try to touch them. Dogs with very severe constipation may be in so much pain they cannot get up to do anything, and they may lose interest in food altogether as well.
When to Go to the Vet
If it has been 2 to 3 days since your dog’s last bowel movement, then it’s time to see a vet about her constipation. If your dog poops within the first couple days of being constipated, and if she goes back to her normal pooping habits shortly after this, then you don’t need to worry about taking her to the vet.
You should also consider taking your dog to the vet for constipation if she has a known health condition related to this problem. For example, if she has a colon problem or if she has severe anxiety, these are both conditions that can worsen and cause constipation. Dogs who show signs of more severe sickness also need to see a vet, as there is a risk they could have cancer.
Treatments for Constipation
If your dog is constipated and you go to the vet, the vet will work to determine the severity of the dog’s constipation. From there they will recommend a treatment.
The vet will either remove the feces from the dog manually or may give the dog medication to help the stool pass, depending on the severity.
If your dog’s constipation is very severe, however, your dog may need to be kept overnight at the vet’s office. She may require IV fluids and enema treatments to remove the blocked feces. In this situation, your vet will keep you up to date with information about your dog’s condition throughout the process.
At Home Treatments
In mild cases of constipation, you may be able to help your dog get some relief at home, without needing to see a vet. However, this is only true if your dog’s constipation is mild and if she has only been constipated for less than a day.
In this situation, try giving your dog about a tablespoon or so of canned pumpkin. Make sure she is getting enough fluids as well, as this will help her pass the stool more easily.
Need to Talk with a Vet? Call Northern Pike Veterinary Hospital
With the help of the information in the article above, you should be prepared for just about anything that may happen with your pet in terms of constipation. You should know when constipation is an issue for your dog, and you should understand when it’s time to contact the vet, too.
If you know your dog has swallowed a foreign object that is potentially going to cause a blockage, don’t wait. Take your dog to the emergency vet right away, as she may need to have emergency surgery to remove the item from her digestive system. Otherwise, your regular vet can usually help with other causes of constipation in your pet.