(First Of 2 Parts)
Constipation in dogs may be a symptom of a serious illness. This requires immediate medical attention and might require hospitalization.
But mild cases of constipation can be treated at home.
Thus, is it important to determine how serious the problem is.
In Five Ways to Help Your Constipated Dog, Dr. Jennifer Coates says: “Since you are constantly picking up after your dog, you are in the best position to recognize when your dog is becoming constipated. But do you know how to handle the problem should it develop?”
Symptoms of severe constipation
This is the time to call a vet: Your dog
1. is very uncomfortable
2. is vomiting
3. is not eating
4. has not pooped for over three days
5. has a distended belly
6. has blood in his/her stool.
“Dogs who are severely constipated can become systemically ill and risk permanent damage to the gastrointestinal tract,” Coates says
But if your dog has mild constipation, it can be treated at home.
A dog becomes constipated when the stool is too large and/or too firm to be easily passed from the body.
Your vet will tell you if the condition is severe or mild. He/She will determine the cause and will decide on what to do based on this.
Conditions that cause constipation
The following cause constipation:
2. Treatment with some types of medication
3. Electrolyte abnormalities
4. Intestinal inflammation
5. Pain while defecating (for example, a broken pelvis or arthritis)
6. Neurologic problems
7. Eating material that can not be digested
10. Hormonal disorder
11.Anatomical abnormalities (matted fur around the anus, birth defect, traumatic injury, among others.)
12.Lack of exercise
13. Fear or anxiety that prevents normal behavior such as thunderstorm or travelling
Symptoms of mild constipation
Mildly constipated dogs
1. strain to poop
2. take longer than normal to poop
3. may be a little uncomfortable while defecating, and
4. produce small amounts of feces that are harder than normal.
If these are the symptoms and your dog looks fine, Coates says you can try some home treatment.
“But, if your dog does not begin to defecate normally within a day of initiating home treatment, or his constipation becomes a recurring problem, be sure to call your veterinarian,” says Coates.
(To be continued next week)
How to treat mild cases
1. Check the Rear End
Look at your dog’s rear end. Long-haired dogs are most likely to develop mats of fur which can have poop. This can cover the anus, making defecating difficult. You can try to remove the mat by washing and cutting the mats. But if you can not, and you see any foreign material protruding from the anus or a tumor, for example, please bring your dog to the vet immediately.
2.Increase Water Intake
Dehydration causes constipation. Make sure that water is accessible to the dog always. Canned food, because it is wet food, has extra water that can ensure your dog is hydrated. You can also put water in dry dog food or prepare natural food with a little boiled lean meat and boiled vegetables that are allowed for dogs and put a lot of water.
3.Get Some Exercise
Exercise is good for promoting normal movement within the gastrointestinal tract. If your dog seems mildly constipated, take him out for a short walk on a leash in the morning and in the afternoon. But make sure your dog is well hydrated and it is not very hot outside.
“The exercise combined with the smells of other dogs who have ‘used’ the area previously might just do the trick. Hopefully, you’ll need that bag you surely remembered to bring along!’ Coates says.
4. Increase Fiber Intake
Fiber in your dog’s diet is “a bit tricky since it can help some cases of constipation but worsen others. Therefore, it’s best to start with a small amount and monitor how your dog responds,” Coates says.
Mashed pumpkin is good but do not give this everyday as it has natural sugar. When the sugar accumulates in the body, it can cause diabetes.
Do research more on other sources of fiber recommended by vets. Or ask your vet.
5. Laxatives and Enemas
Only a veterinarian can prescribe a laxative.
“Many are not safe for dogs, particularly if used under the wrong circumstances. But if your veterinarian is comfortable doing so, he or she may recommend that you try giving your mildly constipated dog a gentle laxative at home before making an appointment,” Coates says.
This is very important: never give your dog liquid mineral oil for constipation. “These products can cause severe pneumonia if inhaled.” Coates warns.
Coates adds, “never give your dog an enema at home unless your veterinarian has recommended a specific product and has shown you how to safely perform the procedure.”
To ensure your dog is safe, always consult your veterinarian.