While the majority of dog owners have more experience with doggy diarrhea than constipation, pups do on occasion become constipated.
Sometimes the problem is no more complicated than a lack of fiber in the diet or inadequate water consumption, but there can be more serious causes as well.
“Please keep in mind that you should always consult your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet or administering medications (and also to be certain that he isn’t exhibiting symptoms of a more serious illness or disorder).”
One of the most frequent causes of constipation in dogs is dehydration. If you suspect your pup is constipated or you’ve noticed dry, hard stools when she’s able to go, it’s important to monitor her water intake.
- A balanced, species-appropriate diet. Hands down, ‘dietary indiscretion’ is the most common cause of occasional canine constipation. And while indiscretions can include eating rocks, sticks, socks and kitty litter clumps, they can also include a dry, processed kibble diet full of junk your pup wasn’t designed by nature to eat. Feeding raw or preparing cooked meals yourself based on complete and balanced recipes is the best way to keep your dog’s whole body operating well – especially his digestion.
- Digestive enzymes and probiotics. Both these supplements will help with maldigestion, which is often the cause of intermittent bouts of constipation as well as diarrhea. Your holistic vet can advise you on products and dosing, depending on your dog’s individual situation.
- Plenty of exercise; plenty of clean, fresh drinking water. The bodies of all animals need to move to keep things moving, including stool through the colon. Regular physical activity and adequate amounts of fresh, clean drinking water can prevent or remedy doggy constipation.
- Additional dietary fiber. In the wild, the fur on a dog’s prey provides fiber in his diet. Needless to say, domesticated dogs don’t get a lot of fur in their meals! Good sources of fiber for your canine companion include:
- Organic apple cider vinegar (ACV). Organic ACV is a bit of a natural wonder drug, in that it can alleviate a wide variety of conditions in both people and pets. It is well known to improve digestion, including relieving constipation. I prefer raw, unfiltered ACV, 1/4 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight added to your dog’s food 1-2 times daily.
- Aloe juice (not the topical gel): 1/4 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight 1-2 times daily on food.
- Chiropractic, acupuncture/pressure and massage. All three of these natural modalities have been proven to help with chronic constipation in pet.
- Psyllium husk powder: 1/2 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight 1-2 times daily on food.
- Ground dark green leafy veggies: 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight 1-2 times daily with food
- Coconut fiber: 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight 1-2 times daily on food
- Canned 100 percent pumpkin: 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight 1-2 times daily on food
- One Teaspoon of Olive Oil three times per week on the kibble
A Few Things I DO NOT Recommend….
- Laxatives meant for humans. Please don’t give your dog any human laxative or stool softener without consulting your veterinarian. There are some human laxatives that may be safe and effective under certain circumstances, but please don’t guess at which ones or how much to give. Call your holistic vet for guidance. There are laxatives — Lactulose is one — formulated specifically for pets.
- High fiber grains meant for humans. Don’t attempt to resolve your dog’s constipation with grains, cereals or other high fiber people foods without consulting your holistic veterinarian first. Remember – your dog is a carnivore. Grains aren’t a natural part of her diet and could make a bad situation worse.
- Mineral oil. Please don’t give your pup mineral oil. It’s not effective, and it can be inhaled into the lungs, causing permanent damage.
- Home enemas. Please don’t attempt to give your pet an enema, or even a suppository, without consulting your veterinarian. Some commercially available enemas are highly toxic to pets.