When your dog is dealing with constipation, it’s not fun for either of you. Like humans, many dogs struggle with constipation on occasion. However, if they’re experiencing constipation regularly, treatment can help them feel better. We’ve rounded up 12 of the most effective home remedies for dog constipation that can help your furry friend feel better.
Causes and Symptoms of Canine Constipation
It’s important to know the symptoms of constipation in dogs so that you can tell when your pet needs some help. Pay attention when your dog goes to the bathroom – are they straining or struggling? You might notice a difference in their stool as well.
Dogs who are constipated often have pieces of stool that are smaller and harder than normal. They’ll also whine and want to go outside more often. Constipation can also make your dog appear bloated and uncomfortable, and they may have a hunched posture. If they’re experiencing constipation regularly, they may also lose their appetite.
There are a number of different factors that can cause constipation in dogs. If they don’t have enough fiber in their diet or aren’t drinking enough water, they may struggle to process food. They may also feel constipated as a result of eating something they aren’t supposed to, like hair, grass, or feces.
Other foreign objects can also cause blockages that prevent your dog from passing food normally. In more serious situations, your dog could also be experiencing constipation as a result of a hernia, enlarged prostate glands, neurological condition, tumor, or other chronic health problem.
Certain dog breeds could also be struggling with hip dysplasia or another painful condition that limits their ability to squat. This is why it’s so important to consult your vet if your dog’s constipation goes on for an extended period of time.
Remedies for Constipation
If you think your dog might be dealing with constipation, here are 12 home remedies you can try to help your companion feel more comfortable.
1. Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of constipation. The first step to helping your dog feel better is to make sure they have access to plenty of water. This might mean putting multiple bowls of water throughout the house, as well as carrying a travel bowl when you’re on the go.
If your dog doesn’t like to drink water, make sure to offer them plenty of affection or even a treat when they do – this will help them think of drinking water as a positive experience.
Another way to motivate your dog to drink water is to add some chicken or bone broth to the water, as the flavor can make it more enticing for them. You can even put a teaspoon of ginger in there to calm your dog’s stomach even more. Finally, you might consider giving your dog ice cubes to chew on. Some dogs enjoy this and it’s an easy way to ensure they get more water in their diet.
2. Stimulate Your Dog’s Digestive System
There are plenty of simple things you can do to stimulate your dog’s digestive system. If your dog only struggles with occasional constipation, a little bit of extra exercise could be what they need to get their digestive system moving again. Make sure you are going for walks on a regular schedule, and consider making their walk slightly longer.
There are also many dietary changes that you can make that will help to stimulate your dog’s digestive system. Look for foods that can provide plenty of hydration or fiber to help speed up your dog’s natural digestive processes.
Finally, you can physically massage your dog’s stomach to help ease constipation in some cases. You’ll want to be very gentle, as your dog is likely already very uncomfortable. If this is a frequent problem, ask your vet how you can most effectively massage your dog to stimulate their digestive system.
3. Olive Oil
Olive oil can lubricate your dog’s digestive system and works as a very effective stool softener. Add a small amount of olive oil to their food and you’ll likely see results very quickly. Olive oil can cause diarrhea in dogs if used often, so this should be a last resort for when your dog is particularly uncomfortable. If you don’t have olive oil on hand, vegetable oil can also do the trick.
Canned pumpkin can also work as a very effective solution for constipation in dogs. It’s full of fiber, which is a must-have for a healthy digestive system. A little bit of pumpkin can help with both constipation and diarrhea, settling your dog’s upset stomach and helping them feel more comfortable.
Mix about 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight into their food. Make sure you’re purchasing fresh pumpkin and not a mix or filling that could have additives. Added sugar and seasoning could further irritate your dog’s stomach, so read the ingredients thoroughly.
5. Adjust Your Dog’s Diet
Adjusting your dog’s diet could potentially get rid of their constipation. Check the fiber content in your dog’s food – the problem may simply be that they are not getting enough water in their diet.
Another easy change is to switch to a combination of wet and dry dog food, instead of only using kibble. Wet dog food can help increase your dog’s daily water intake, which makes it much easier for them to process it. If you aren’t sure which dog foods are going to be most effective for your pet, talk to your veterinarian and see what they recommend.
6. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can also serve as a stool softener and help ease your dog’s constipation. It’s very easy to mix in with wet food to lubricate your dog’s digestive system and ease the constipation. A very small amount is all you should need to reduce constipation and discomfort. As with olive oil, excessive coconut oil could cause diarrhea.
7. Increase Your Dog’s Fiber Intake
Making sure your dog gets enough fiber is key to preventing constipation. It’s one of the most important nutrients for your dog to have – without it, your dog could end up with chronic constipation or even blocked anal sacs. Assess your dog’s diet and see if there are any ways to add more fiber on a regular basis. This could mean switching to a new type of food that is higher in fiber.
However, there are also supplements that you can add to your dog’s diet that will improve their digestion. For example, topping your dog’s meals with a bit of unsweetened wheat bran is an easy way to add a bit of fiber to their diet. Additionally, you can consider adding chopped leafy greens to some of their meals, which are very high in fiber and are safe for dogs to eat.
8. Probiotics For Constipation
If your dog struggles with constipation regularly, probiotics can be a very effective way to improve their gut health. There are many probiotic supplements on the market that are designed specifically for dogs.
These supplements promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your dog’s gut, enabling them to digest food more easily. If your dog won’t take a probiotic supplement straight, try crushing it up and mixing it in with their food. Never give your dog human probiotic supplements, as they may not be safe for their more sensitive systems and could have side effects.
9. Psyllium Seeds
Psyllium seeds are an easy natural supplement that you can give your dog to encourage regular bowel movements and prevent constipation. These seeds are very high in fiber, which is excellent for your dog’s digestive system. These supplements should always be taken with plenty of water to help your dog process them.
Psyllium seed supplements are available in many different forms, including tablets and powders, so you can select one that is most palatable for your dog. As with any supplement, you’ll need to make sure that you choose a formula without any sweeteners or other added ingredients that could irritate your dog’s stomach further.
10. Aloe Vera
You might be surprised to learn that aloe vera can also be very helpful for soothing your dog’s stomach. Aloe vera juice can act as a natural laxative to help your dog process their food more efficiently. Unlike artificial laxatives, it’s much more gentle on your dog’s stomach and shouldn’t cause any diarrhea or other irritation. Aloe vera is also anti-inflammatory, so it can soothe your dog’s stomach and ease any ongoing discomfort.
11. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular home remedies for many different health problems, and dog constipation is no exception. Add a very small amount to your dog’s water dish to ease their stomach troubles.
Apple cider vinegar should only be consumed in small doses, otherwise it could actually end up irritating your dog’s stomach more. However, when used occasionally in small quantities, its prebiotic properties can balance the good bacteria in your dog’s stomach. It is also known to be anti-microbial, which means that it can control bad bacteria.
In more serious situations, a laxative can clean out your dog’s bowels quickly. There are some dog stool softeners that are available over the counter, or you can talk to your vet about stronger prescription laxatives if the problem is very serious.
One of the most common stool softeners that is available over the counter is docusate sodium. This supplement helps your dog’s intestine absorb more water and therefore pass food much more easily. Keep in mind that it may take some time for your dog’s bowel movements to return to a regular pattern after taking laxatives.
When To Consult Your Vet
Although a little bit of constipation can be normal for some dogs, it can also be an indication of more serious health problems. It’s important to keep a close eye on your pet in case their symptoms need professional treatment.
Talking to your vet will always be helpful if your dog is struggling with constipation – they can help you determine the cause and recommend solutions based on your dog’s health. It’s particularly important if your dog deals with chronic constipation, as this could be indicative of an underlying health issue. There are certain situations in which consulting your vet is not only recommended – it’s essential.
One sign that your dog should see the vet is if they are continually vomiting or panting. Dogs with serious constipation problems may also be acting lethargic or refuse to move, which should also be cause to schedule an appointment. Anal discharge is another serious issue that should also be addressed.
Finally, if your dog’s belly is consistently swollen and does not calm down with any of these home remedies, you should talk to a vet. Another situation where you should seek help immediately is when your dog consumes an object that isn’t food, as this could cause a dangerous bowel obstruction.
Dog Constipation: Our Final Thoughts
If your dog is having tummy issues, these home remedies can help them feel better in no time. Sometimes it’s just as simple as making sure your dog gets more water or fiber in their diet every day. In other cases, they may need a stool softener to help them pass a blockage.
Keeping a close eye on your dog’s symptoms can help you nip this constipation problem in the bud. Using natural supplements on a regular basis can also help with their overall health and wellness.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a natural laxative for dogs?
There are a few different natural laxatives that you can use for dogs. One popular option is olive oil, which acts as a stool softener. Aloe vera juice is another mild laxative that can be very effective.
Can a bowel obstruction clear on its own?
Dogs may occasionally have bowel obstructions from eating foreign objects. Bowel obstructions can be extremely dangerous, and you shouldn’t wait to find out if they will clear on their own. Contact your vet immediately if you think your dog may have a bowel obstruction.
Can milk help dogs with constipation?
There is a popular myth that milk can help dogs with constipation. However, you should avoid giving your dog milk, as it can irritate their stomach and cause further problems.
What fruits can I give my dog for constipation?
Pumpkin is the best fruit or vegetable to give your dog if they are struggling with constipation. This is because it is very high in fiber.
Will oatmeal help my dog poop?
Adding a small bit of oatmeal to your dog’s diet could help with constipation, as it contains fiber. However, if you are going to add oatmeal to your dog’s meals, make sure it is fully cooked and does not contain any additives.