Constipation is uncommon in dogs. A constipated dog will have infrequent bowel movements, strains when trying to pass a stool, and is producing hard, dry stools. Sometimes dogs can pass mucus when attempting to defecate, scoot along the ground, circle excessively, squat often without defecating, or cry/act like they are in pain with trying to defecate. (Some of these signs are also seen with colitis, an inflammatory condition.)

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms for a brief period of time and returns to normal bowel habits, it’s probably nothing to worry about. But if your pet’s constipation lasts for more than a day or two, it’s time to see the vet!

What causes constipation in dogs?

The most common reasons for constipation are:

  • A change in their diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • A side-effect of medication
  • Excessive or insufficient fiber in their diet
  • Blocked or abscessed anal glands
  • Dehydration
  • Trauma to the pelvis
  • Enlarged prostate gland
  • Matted hair surrounding the anus
  • An obstruction in the digestive system
  • Obstipation: a large block of feces packed in the colon

What should I do at home if my dog seems constipated?

When you first notice your dog is constipated, you can try:

  • Making sure your dog is drinking plenty of water
  • Giving your dog more exercise than usual
  • Adding canned pumpkin or wheat bran to their food
  • Giving your dog a small bowl of goat or cow’s milk

If none of these suggestions help, you should call us so we can determine if something more serious is causing your pup’s constipation.

Remember: never give a dog human laxatives or attempt to give an enema at home!