Medically reviewed and approved by a board-certified member

All You Need to Know About Dog Constipation

Sarah Jay
By Sarah Jay
Published: Tuesday, 11 August 2020
Updated: Tuesday, 11 August 2020 22:00
Login to get unlimited free access
Be the first to comment!
All You Need to Know About Dog Constipation
All You Need to Know About Dog Constipation

Dog constipation is a health problem that rarely happens, which causes temporary issues at the moment of defecating. Just like in humans, obstipation is the second and more severe form of this ailment. Dogs may experience straining and pain, and it is rarely an irreversible medical condition.

Dog constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too much water leading the stool to get harder. Since the dog is unable to excrete, the faeces become hard and dry and block the colon passage. Sometimes, the dog can become dehydrated due to the excessive absorption through the large intestine. The pet can also have blood in the stool and undergo short periods of diarrhoea temporarily.

It is possible that when the puppy strains, part of the faeces that remain liquid adhere around the faecal mass.


Generally, two causes lead to dog constipation.

All comes down to the colon function, which absorbs water and electrolytes from faeces providing the faecal matter with enough consistency. In layman’s terms, when the faecal material gets dried because of excessive liquid absorption, it is difficult to pass through the colon as it is like a rock attempting to travel through it.

This absorption process, which is called peristaltic waves, is disrupted when it becomes impaired or too slow, meaning that it takes too long to absorb enough water, which at the same time, gets the matter stuck in the large intestine.

The peristaltic waves ensure that faeces gain proper consistency which facilitates bowel movement through the colon. The faecal matter should never lose moisture.

Several reasons cause dog constipation.

One of them is the lack of exercise. Owners should walk their dogs very regularly.

The other cause of dog constipation is cancer, and it’s a severe problem that requires surgery.

Veterinarians have categorized dog constipation based on where the colon blockage occurs.

For instance:

  1. The pet has faecal material that blocks the colon.
  2. Dog constipation caused by a pelvic fracture.
  3. It is also due to nerve injuries and diseases.

These other reasons go as follows:

  1. Poor diet.
  2. Age of the dog.
  3. Sedentariness can lead to this issue.
  4. It occurs when the anal glands are inflamed.
  5. Prostate enlargement.
  6. Electrolyte imbalance.
  7. Dehydration.
  8. Some meds that can bring on dog constipation are diuretics, opiates, antacids, and antihistamines.
  9. Spinal diseases or injury in the spinal column.
  10. Central nervous disorders that affect bowel movements.
  11. Stress.
  12. Orthopaedic issues that make it difficult to squat when defecating.
  13. Some medical procedures can cause this issue, so it is essential to consult the veterinary for post-surgical advice.

However, none of the above causes is more common than the ingestion of irritating substances. The fact that your puppy grooms itself too often can cause constipation. For this reason, keep an eye on your pet to prevent it from eating strange substances.


Dog constipation can resolve with mild treatments in most cases where exercises and dietary fiber are enough. If you want to use laxative suppositories, consult a doctor before you do it.

Most cases are approached with mild treatments such as the intake of liquids and dietary fiber and more exercise. Laxative suppositories and enemas may be helpful, but should only be used with guidance from a veterinarian, especially if they are needed for long.

The most extreme cases will require medical interventions that may consist of removing impacted faeces, mainlining drugs for normal colon function, and lowering sure enzyme production.

Megacolon also originates from dog constipation, and a surgical procedure is the only solution. Megacolon is cured when part of the large intestine is cut off. Megacolon cannot be treated at home, take your pet to the veterinary if you have used all possible alternatives.

Dog constipation generally stems from a poor diet and lack of exercise, so make sure you give the dog a well-balanced diet and take it for a walk consistently.


Some remedies can help with dog constipation. It is important to clarify that it’s unfeasible to apply the same for all dogs. Anyway, some of these remedies and meds can be helpful. Note: if things get worse, go to the veterinary.

Pumpkin can work if the pet is constipated or with the runs. It is high in fiber, and most dogs find it tasty. Its primary function is to regulate the digestive tract. Canned dog food that has elevated moisture content can regulate the gastrointestinal tract but is useless in dogs that have the trots.

Another solution is to use powered fiber supplements like ginger, wheat bran, olive oil, and psyllium seeds.

Make sure your dog is well hydrated by giving it freshwater and electrolyte supplements.

In a nutshell, dog constipation is very treatable. Initially, you’ll have to get rid of the impacted faeces that stalled in the large intestine. To do this, use therapies, suppositories, manual removal, and meds likedioctyl and sulfosuccinate.

Pups can take laxatives for faecal matter removal also. Cisapride and tegaserod are highly recommended.

At worst, dog constipation can require hospitalization to replace fluids and correct dehydration. Some puppies will require lifelong meds to treat constipation. Canines with psychogenic causes constipation will need more treatments and surgery if the problem carries on. Probiotics are often prescribed against colon blockade.

Low or high fiber diets may also be necessary depending on the constipation cause.

Was this page helpful?
(0 votes)
All You Need to Know About Dog Constipation
End of the article