Puppy constipation is when your pup has a difficult time doing their business. You might notice infrequent or absent bowel movements during this time, even if your puppy is trying to go. This is a common digestive problem for puppies, and it can become serious if not treated right away. If your puppy is constipated for long periods of time, they could suffer from a decreased appetite and weight loss. Both of these results are incredibly risky for a growing puppy.
What Causes Puppy Constipation?
There are a number of reasons as to why puppies get constipated. Sometimes, it can be difficult to narrow down which one is affecting your dog.
One of the most common reasons for dog constipation is a poor diet. Specifically, foods with filler ingredients or foods with too much or too little fiber can cause lots of digestive problems for your dog. Additionally, if they eat something that’s difficult to digest, such as a rawhide chew, it can cause constipation. Another common reason is not getting enough water. If a dog is dehydrated, they might have a hard time going to the bathroom.
Anxiety and Stress
When you bring a puppy home, there are a lot of things that will be unfamiliar or scary to them. So, they could become constipated if they get too stressed. This is often because dogs that are nervous don’t want to eat or drink, which makes doing their business much more difficult.
Not Enough Exercise
Puppies that don’t get enough exercise are at risk of many different health problems, including obesity. Puppies grow fast, so they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy. So, if your puppy sleeps all day instead of getting the exercise they need, it could have negative effects on their digestive health.
Poor grooming can also cause puppy constipation. If your pup has long hair that they lick often, they could get hairballs inside them, causing a blockage. Additionally, you need to make sure your dog stays properly groomed around their butt. Matted hair down there can cause anal inflammation. So, if you don’t feel comfortable keeping that area clean, you should take them to a professional groomer.
Constipation for Adult Dogs
It’s common for puppies to get constipated, but adult dogs can still get it too. Adult dogs can get constipated for all the same reasons as puppies, but they have even more potential causes too. After all, as dogs get older, it’s more likely that they will face underlying health problems.
Here are some common causes for adult dog constipation:
- Enlarged prostate gland
- Tumors in the prostate, rectum, or perianal areas
- Blocked anal sacs
- Kidney disease
- Items caught in the intestinal tract
- Side effects of medication
These are just some of the many possible constipation causes. Oftentimes, constipation could even be a symptom of a more serious disease. So, while puppies are the most at risk, it’s important to keep an eye out for constipation problems with your adult dog too.
Treatments for Adult and Puppy Constipation
If the constipation problems started recently, you should be able to treat the problem on your own. There are a few products and home remedies that can help with your dog’s digestion. However, these options might not work for every dog, especially if they have an underlying health problem.
One of the most common remedies for puppy constipation is pumpkin. Pumpkin is great for a dog’s digestion because it’s high in fiber and water. You can give them plain pumpkin by itself or you can give them pumpkin dog treats. Actual pumpkin is the most effective for constipation and diarrhea, but treats can still provide benefits for your dog. You can also find fiber supplements to benefit your dog’s digestive health too.
Canned dog food is another great way to benefit your dog’s digestion. Kibble doesn’t provide any moisture for your dog, so unless they drink water frequently, they can get dehydrated easily. So, serving them wet food instead of kibble can help keep them hydrated. You should also make sure their water dish is always full as well.
Finally, exercise is another easy way to prevent constipation. Active dogs are often healthier because they’re not at risk of obesity. So, exercising your dog and spending plenty of time with them is the key to keeping them healthy. If you’re giving your dog regular exercise, but they still don’t seem healthy, then you should switch them to a healthier diet. Your dog’s food should have no by-products or filler ingredients in it, so always check the ingredient list before deciding on a food for your dog.
When Should You See a Vet?
These home remedies can make a huge difference for your dog’s health, but they can’t cure a health problem that already exists. So, if your dog’s constipation doesn’t go away quickly or if you notice other unusual symptoms, such as vomiting or pain, then you should take them to the vet. If you just ignore the problem, then it will only hurt your dog more.
When you visit the vet, make sure you tell them as much about your dog’s condition as possible. It might seem gross, but you should tell them details about your dog’s stool, including the last time they had a normal bowel movement, what their stool has looked like since then, and if your dog has had any changes in their diet. This can help the vet find the root of the problem faster.
The vet will likely start off with a rectal exam, radiographs, or a colonoscopy to find out what’s going on. Most of the time, it will likely only be a minor fix, such as giving your dog more liquid or fiber. However, in extreme cases, they might have to remove the feces on their own or use drugs to help get the colon to function normally again. It’s possible that your dog might even need surgery, but that’s only if the vets are left with no other choice.
If you feed your dog a balanced diet, provide them with plenty of water, and take them on regular walks, then it’s unlikely that they’ll get constipated. Puppy constipation is a common problem that dog parents face, but it can easily be prevented and treated if it’s taken care of right away. Even if constipation doesn’t seem like a huge problem to you, it could worsen if you ignore it. So, always make your puppy’s health a priority, and don’t hesitate to contact your vet when things get tough.