Canine constipation is never fun. It’s not only uncomfortable for your dog but, in some cases, it can even be dangerous.
If your dog is struggling to go to the bathroom, you may be wondering “what can I give my dog for constipation that is safe and effective?”
This is a great question, especially if your dog’s case of constipation is not yet severe enough for a vet visit.
In today’s article, we are going to answer your question of “what can I give my dog for constipation?”. However, before we do we want to encourage you to understand the symptoms of constipation in your dog and make sure this is indeed what is going on.
What Can I Give My Dog For Constipation? Understanding The Most Common Symptoms Of Constipation In Your Dog
Constipation can cause a few different symptoms and be very uncomfortable for your dog.
Like people, dogs can come down with constipation for a number of reasons. They may also exhibit constipation differently depending on how long the problem has been persisting and also depending on the causes of the constipation.
So before we get into what can I give my dog for constipation, let’s first take a look at the most common symptoms you should keep an eye out for.
Not Having Gone To The Bathroom In More Than Two Days
The first sign of constipation in dogs is generally going to be a lack of productive bowel movements over a period of 24 to 48 hours. For many dogs, going to the bathroom just once a day is normal, though it is common for dogs to go two or three times a day, and sometimes more.
So long as your dog’s stool is normal looking and your dog is not behaving oddly, and as long as he is relieving himself at least once a day, you’re not to worry.
However, there are times that even producing some stool can be a sign of constipation.
Going To The Bathroom, But The Stool Is Hard And Pebble-Like
Hard, pebble-like stool is another indicator that your dog is struggling and you should be asking yourself “what can I give my dog for constipation?”.
This is often a sign that your dog has been unable to go fully, as the longer the stool stays in the bowel the more hard and dry it becomes. This makes stool more difficult to pass, and can cause straining, constipation and discomfort for your dog.
Straining When Trying To Go To The Bathroom
Speaking of straining, this is another common sign of constipation in a dog. If you notice your dog working hard to go to the bathroom, it could be a sign you’ll need to look into what can I give my dog for constipation.
Scooting is often a sign that something is going on with your dog’s rear end. It can sometimes mean that his anal sacs are needing to be expressed or it may be a sign that he’s having trouble going to the bathroom.
Attempting To Go With No Success
If you’re taking your dog outside to go to the bathroom and you notice he’s giving all the telltale signs of needing to go like sniffing, circling and stopping, and if nothing is productive, it’s time to ask yourself “what can I give my dog for constipation?”.
Stopping And Circling But Not Going
This goes along with the above symptom, but some dogs will not go all the way to a stoop if they are constipated. Some may just sniff and circle endlessly, which is a sure sign they are constipated.
Obvious Discomfort Or Yelping
A sign of severe constipation is often coupled with a few of the above symptoms as well as symptoms of your dog being in obvious pain or discomfort. This could include your dog yelping or crying out when he attempts to relieve himself, trembling, refusing to move or walk, or growling, cowering, yelping or snapping if you touch his back or abdomen.
If you do notice symptoms that your dog is constipated and in obvious pain, instead of asking yourself “what can I give my dog for constipation”, it would be best to contact your veterinarian.
What Causes Constipation In Dogs?
Like humans, dogs can become constipated for a number of reasons.
If you’re pretty sure your dog is indeed constipated, it’s not only important to know what can I give my dog for constipation, but also what caused the constipation in the first place.
Understanding why your dog is having the symptoms he is having can help you not only in alleviating them, but also in preventing them in the future.
With that noted, let’s talk about some of the most common causes of constipation in dogs.
A Poor Or Improper Diet
A poor or improper diet is one of the most common reasons dogs suffer from constipation. A poor diet might include dog food that is of low quality and does not contain enough fiber, vitamins, minerals, nutrients and water to help your dog pass stool properly.
An improper diet could be a diet that is not right for your specific dog. Some dogs struggle with food sensitivities, and a certain food could cause digestive upset to your dog that could end up leading to constipation.
One of the first signs that your dog is not drinking enough water is going to be constipation. There are some medical issues that could lead to your dog being dehydrated, but some other more common causes tend to deal with diet and access to fresh water.
Even if your dog has a full bowl of water, he may not drink it when he is thirsty. This is especially true if that water is warm or old.
Your dog may also be dehydrated if his food does not contain an adequate amount of water. In fact, did you know that dogs can actually get a good amount of their daily water intake through their diet? This means that if their diet is off, their water intake may be as well.
This can lead to constipation in your dog and cause you to ask “what can I give my dog for constipation?”
Dogs have sensitive digestive systems, and while they are quite different from our human digestive tracts, they can still be affected in similar ways by medications. In fact, some of the same types of medications that can cause constipation in you can cause constipation in your dog.
These medications include:
- And Antibiotics
If your dog is on medication and you’re wondering “what can I give my dog for constipation”, we suggest contacting your veterinarian for more information. They may be able to adjust the dosage or offer advice on specific foods to help ease constipation, especially if the medication is temporary.
Excessive Self-Grooming Habits
Dogs that excessively groom themselves could be struggling with anxiety or stress, and this behavior can also lead to a higher risk of constipation.
This is because a dog that is constantly licking and grooming his body is going to wind up swallowing more hair than usual, which can cause blockages in the intestine. If you do notice your dog struggling with excessive grooming, it’s a good idea to contact a behaviorist or professional to learn how to alleviate this behavior.
It’s also a good idea to look into what can I give my dog for constipation in the meantime.
Not Getting Enough Exercise
Frequent movement is good for your dog and can help strengthen his muscles, bones, joints, and more. It can also help ensure he maintains good, healthy bowel movements.
This is one of the reasons it’s so important to make sure your dog has a walk or at least 30 minutes to an hour (depending on his age and size) of dedicated exercise every day.
Not Being Let Out To Go To The Bathroom Enough
Most experts recommend not leaving a dog home alone or in his crate for longer than five to eight hours. This is due to a number of reasons, but one of those reasons is to ensure your dog does not develop bladder or bowel issues.
As we mentioned above, the longer your dog’s stool stays in his bowel the more hard and dry it becomes. If your dog is holding his stool for longer than he should be, it can lead to complications such as constipation.
Consuming A Non-Food Item That Has Caused A Blockage
Dogs explore the world with their mouths, and many dogs tend to chew and swallow things that are not food. If you’re wondering what can I give my dog for constipation, it’s very important to make sure your dog has not consumed something that could have caused a blockage.
Some of the most common non-food items known to cause constipation in dogs include:
- Large Bones
- Children’s Toys
- Dog Toys
Last but not least, some constipation in dogs can be caused by medical issues. Many of these medical issues can lead to other symptoms as well, including scooting and dehydration. Some common issues that can lead to constipation include:
- Blocked or Absessed Anal Sacs
- And Neurological Disorders
If your dog is struggling with constipation and you’re wondering what can I give my dog for constipation but don’t see any relief once you’ve tried the remedies below, it’s best to contact your veterinarian for further diagnosis.
What Can I Give My Dog For Constipation? Best Products, According To Experts
Constipation is common in dogs, and there are a number of products you can use to remedy the problem.
Before deciding what can I give my dog for constipation, it’s best to first consider all the symptoms above and ensure you do speak with your veterinarian. Keep in mind that some forms of dog constipation are more severe than others, and you don’t want to overlook symptoms or signs that could be a red flag for something more serious.
However, if you are sure that your dog is struggling with minor constipation, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to go about treating this problem both over the counter and at home.
So, when looking into what can I give my dog for constipation, let’s first talk about products you can purchase that can help naturally alleviate constipation and improve digestive health in your four legged friend.
Bernie’s Perfect Poop Digestion Supplement
For dogs who struggle with more chronic constipation and stomach issues, we would recommend a product like the one listed above by the Bernie’s Perfect Poop Store.
While this product does have a comedic name, it truly works to enhance your dog’s digestive health and is a great supplement you can have on hand when looking for what can I give my dog for constipation.
This supplement contains probiotics, fiber, prebiotics, enzymes and other ingredients to help reduce digestive upset and lead to healthy, productive bowel movements every day.
Glandex Fiber Supplement For Dogs
The Glandex Store provides a fiber supplement specifically for dogs that can help support anal gland health as well as digestive health. When wondering what can I give my dog for constipation, we would recommend having this on hand.
It’s easy to use and even comes in a hypoallergenic formula for dogs with extra sensitivities. You can sprinkle it on your dog’s food to help alleviate constipation or you can purchase this product in small bite form if your dog isn’t too picky.
NaturVet Stool Ease
We would also recommend that you try Stool Ease by NaturVet. This is especially good if you’re wondering what can I give my dog for constipation when stool is being produced but it is small, hard and dry. This product works using beet pulp and flaxseed, and it’s perfectly safe to give to dogs over the age of 12 weeks.
You can even give this supplement to your dog daily if needed to help ease constipation and other digestive issues. However, as the directions state, it’s important to also ensure your dog is drinking plenty of water to help get him back into a normal rhythm, so to speak.
What Can I Give My Dog For Constipation? Best Home Remedies For Owners
Pumpkin puree can help alleviate dog constipation quickly and safely.
If your dog’s constipation is mild or if you’d like to begin some form of treatment right away to provide him with some relief, there are items you may already have in your home that could be used when you’re wondering what can I give my dog for constipation.
Try Pumpkin Puree
Off the cuff if you’re wondering what can I give my dog for constipation now, you can always try pumpkin puree. There are many different types of pumpkin puree available, and it’s very important you don’t get the kind that is combined with seasonings and sugars or the puree designed specifically as a pie filler.
Many pet stores provide pumpkin puree specifically made for dogs to help ease constipation and digestive issues, but you can also find natural, 100% canned pumpkin puree at most grocery stores.
Depending on your dog’s size, you can try giving him one to four tablespoons of pumpkin puree with his food to help give him some relief.
Nummy Tum Tum Pumpkin For Pets
If you’re not sure which pumpkin puree you should use when looking for what can I give my dog for constipation, we like the above pumpkin puree for pets by Nummy Tum Tum. This is a natural pumpkin puree that is 100% organic and is made specifically to be eaten by dogs and cats.
Not only will pumpkin puree help alleviate constipation, it can also help ease a number of other stomach issues and upset. Best of all, dogs tend to love it and you won’t have to force them to eat it!
Implement More Exercise
You don’t always have to be looking for what can I give my dog for constipation to help provide your dog with some relief. In fact, sometimes you should be thinking what can I do for my dog.
If your dog is struggling with mild symptoms of constipation, sometimes the easiest thing to do is to get your dog outside for a brisk walk or jog. This uptick in exercise can often help get things moving again in your dog’s bowel and help reduce symptoms and offer him relief.
Switch To Canned or Wet Dog Food
Most canned or wet dog foods contain about 80% water, which means they can help ensure your dog stays hydrated even if he’s not drinking very much out of his water bowl. Making this small adjustment can have a big impact on your dog’s digestive health, especially if he struggles chronically with constipation.
Increase Your Dog’s Fiber Intake
Canine constipation could be a sign your dog is not getting enough fiber in his diet. If you’re looking for what I can give my dog for constipation, look no further than fiber-rich foods. Many human foods contain a good amount of fiber and are safe for fido to consume in moderation.
Some of the best foods you can implement into your dog’s diet that contain a good amount of fiber include:
- Brown Rice
- Beet Pulp
- Ground Flaxseed
- Wheat germ Oil
- And Green Beans
When To Take Your Dog To The Vet For Constipation
If your dog is clearly struggling or in pain, it’s best not to wait to call your vet.
If you’ve looked into what can I give my dog for constipation and you feel that your dog’s problems may be more severe for home remedies or over the counter products, or if you’re simply concerned that your dog is exhibiting other symptoms, it’s best to contact your veterinarian.
In fact, and as we mentioned at the beginning of the article, we do suggest you contact your vet either way. It doesn’t cost you anything to simply call your veterinarian and ask for advice regarding the symptoms you are seeing in your dog.
Your vet may be able to guide you on other home remedies or products you can use that would be safest for your unique dog, or your vet may pick up on subtle symptoms you’re describing and decide that seeing your dog in person is best.
Otherwise, you should always take your dog to the veterinarian for constipation if:
Your Dog Is Clearly In Pain or Discomfort
Dogs who are in pain or are clearly in discomfort due to constipation could be dealing with something more serious like an intestinal blockage. It may be unsafe to wait or see if this constipation passes, and it’s best to help alleviate the pain your dog is in as soon as possible.
With that being said, remember that dogs are experts at hiding pain. Many owners will notice behavioral changes in their dog as opposed to obvious signs of pain like yelping or whining.
If your dog growls, snaps, cowers or yelps when you touch his back or stomach, or if he refuses to move, he may be in pain and it’s time to take him to the vet.
Your Dog Has Not Had A Bowel Movement In 48 to 72 Hours
Once your dog has hit the two-day mark without being able to use the bathroom, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
If your dog has had bowel movements but they are not as productive as usual, if there is blood or mucus in the stool for longer than 72 hours, or if the stool your dog produces continues to be hard and dry for longer than 72 hours, you should also take him to the veterinarian.
What Can I Give My Dog For Constipation – The Do’s And Don’ts Plus Tips For Prevention
Keeping your dog hydrated and ensuring he has a healthy diet is key to preventing further digestive issues.
So, what can I give my dog for constipation?
Just because we’ve answered this basic question does not mean we’ve covered all the bases. When you are looking into what can I give my dog for constipation, you should also look into what I can NOT give my dog for constipation.
With that in mind, we’ve listed a few of our dos and don’ts for what can I give my dog for constipation and how to prevent constipation in the future.
Do Make Sure Your Dog Is On A Quality Diet
A quality diet can not only help alleviate current constipation in your dog, but it can also help prevent constipation in the future.
The best dog foods for dogs with digestive issues are generally going to be limited ingredient diet dog foods, hypoallergenic dog foods, raw dog foods, or wet dog foods.
You can also do a combination of dry and wet dog foods as well. Whichever dog food you choose to feed your dog, remember to choose a quality dog food made with real meat protein and that contains a good amount of fatty acids, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and has a good source of water.
Do Provide Your Dog With Enough Fiber
If your dog struggles with constipation chronically, you may want to get him a specific type of dog food or invest in a supplement for digestive health that contains probiotics and fiber.
You can also include pumpkin in your dog’s diet daily to help reduce chances of constipation in the future.
Do Make Sure Your Dog Has Access To Fresh Water At All Times
When wondering what can I give my dog for constipation, remember that lots of time constipation in dogs is caused by dehydration. Your dog may not alway drink from his full water bowl, especially if the water is older than 24 hours, if there is debris in the water, and if the water is warm.
To ensure your dog is hydrated and getting enough water, make sure his bowl is clean and filled with fresh, cool water each and every day.
Do Let Your Dog Out Routinely To Go To The Bathroom And Get Exercise
Try and get on a good routine with your dog to help ensure he doesn’t become constipated. Remember, this can happen if your dog “holds it” for too long.
Don’t Give Your Dog Human Laxatives Or Stool Softeners
Never give your dog human medications like laxatives or stool softeners, no matter how large your dog is, unless otherwise recommended by your veterinarian.
While some human medications can work for dogs and may come up when you’re searching “what can I give my dog for constipation”, it’s important to remember that human doses are not designed for canine bodies and they could have severe effects on your dog.
Your vet is your best resource for medications when it comes to what I can give my dog for constipation, and he or she will help ensure that what you’re giving your dog is safe and effective.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on what can I give my dog for constipation. Thanks for reading and we hope your dog feels better soon!
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.