Dog Constipation: How To Treat It Effectively!

You take your dog for a walk and notice that he just can’t seem to pass a bowel movement.

While you might think it’s an isolated incident, sometimes constipation can stick around for longer.

What defines canine constipation:

If your dog hasn’t managed to have a bowel movement in two or more days, then he’s probably constipated, but there are other signs, such as if he crouches or strains, or yelps when he can’t seem to defecate.

If you’ve never dealt with dog constipation before, there are ways to treat it. Before you can, however, you will have to first determine what the reason is for why they’re constipated.

What Causes Constipation In Dogs?

There are many different reasons why dogs might experience constipation. These include:

Lifestyle Habits

  • Lack of exercise
  • Too much or not enough fiber in the diet


There could be other illnesses that your dog is experiencing which could cause constipation. These include:

  • Tumors on the anus or inside the rectum
  • Blocked anal sacs
  • Enlarged prostate gland
  • Neurological disorders

There are also other illness-related reasons for dog constipation, such as if your dog’s on medication to treat an illness and constipation is a side effect of it. In addition, some illnesses can cause dehydration, and a lack of water can cause your dog not to have a bowel movement.


If your dog is older, then he or she will be more prone to constipation.

Excess Fur

This might seem like a strange reason for why your dog is constipated, but it can be the culprit if your dog’s very fluffy or has thick fur.

If you look at your dog’s rear and see that there’s matted fur in this area, this can mean that the hair is covering your dog’s anus and is making bowel movements difficult or even impossible for your dog to do.

Consumption Of Non-Edible Items

If your dog has ingested something that it shouldn’t have, such as a candle or charcoal, this can cause an obstruction that can prevent bowel movements.

Dog constipation and how to treat it graphic
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Why You Should Treat Your Dog’s Constipation ASAP

Why You Should Treat Your Dog’s Constipation ASAP

It’s important to get your dog seen to by the vet if he or she is battling with constipation. This is important so that more serious health issues can be ruled out, but it also ensures that you prevent complications arising from constipation.

If your dog can’t have a bowel movement, this can result in an inability to have a bowel movement on their own in future. This condition can cause the colon to fill up with materials, and that can have horrible side effects, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, discomfort, and vomiting.

When Should You Take Your Dog To The Vet?

Just because your dog is constipated, it doesn’t mean that you have to take him or her to the vet immediately. If the constipation is mild and your dog doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort, you can try to treat the constipation at home.

However, if your dog seems to be in pain, refuses to eat, is vomiting, or has been battling to have a bowel movement for more than three days, then you should take him to the vet. The same goes for if your dog’s belly is swollen, your dog’s weak, or your dog’s stool has blood in it.

If a dog’s very constipated, this can cause the dog to become systemically ill. It can also cause permanent damage to your dog’s gastrointestinal tract!  

Home Remedies To Help Your Constipated Dog

Right, if your dog is otherwise healthy but suffering from mild constipation, you’ll see that they might strain when defecating, look uncomfortable during the process, produce small quantities of hard faeces, and/or take a long time to defecate.

There are some home remedies that you can give your dog to relieve their constipation. These include:

  • Pumpkin. Since it’s high in moisture and fiber, pumpkin can help to get things moving to encourage a bowel movement. Best of all, it can also help dogs who are dealing with diarrhea.

  • Canned dog food. If your dog’s on a dry-food only diet, adding canned food will help to give them more water content in their food that can aid digestion and encourage bowel movements.

  • Give your dog more water. It’s essential for your dog to have access to fresh water daily. If your dog isn’t interested in drinking water, such as because the weather is cold, you could try warm it up a little or add a bit of chicken broth to the water to make it more appealing.

  • Let your dog get enough exercise. Whether your dog wants to exercise a lot or is happier on the couch, it’s always important to ensure that you give your dog exercise on a daily basis. How much exercise is a must for dogs? You should aim for a general amount of between half an hour and two hours daily, with larger dogs needing more than smaller dogs. Along with the size of your dog, dog breed will also determine how much activity your pooch needs – a Great Dane will obviously want and need more exercise than a Chihuahua.

  • Give your dog psyllium. This will help to boost your dog’s fiber content. You should aim to give your dog half a teaspoon per 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight. Mix it into their food once a day and see how your dog fares. Since boosting your dog’s fiber intake will help to draw more water to the intestines, you should always ensure your dog is well hydrated.

  • Stick to a feeding schedule. You should ensure you give your dog food at similar times in the day as this can help to keep them regular.

  • Remove matted fur on their rear end. If your dog’s a long-hair breed and their rear end is covered in matted fur that’s making bowel movements difficult, then you could try to remove some of the fur with electric clippers.

  • Give them longer toilet trips. Sometimes stress can cause your dog to battle with bowel movements, so you want to make their potty breaks as stress-free as possible. If you take your dog for a walk so that they will have a bowel movement, allow the dog to enjoy their walk for a few minutes so that they can relax and play. When they’re at ease, this will make having a bowel movement much easier and more comfortable for them.  

What To Avoid For Treating Dog Constipation

What To Avoid For Treating Dog Constipation

There’s a lot of information on the internet when it comes to home remedies for treating your dog’s ailments, but there are some things that you should avoid doing at home to treat your dog’s constipation, unless otherwise advised by your vet.


Milk (and dairy in general) isn’t good for dogs because it’s difficult for their bodies to digest. Consuming milk can result in gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, which can make your dog’s health problems even worse.


Sometimes these are prescribed to dogs to help soften stool. However, you should never give your dog human laxatives.

Human medications are never recommended for dogs, mainly because you can’t regulate the correct dosage for them, thus risking the laxatives being way too strong for them. This can cause other side effects and even cause complications, so they’re best avoided.  

You should only give your pet medication that’s been prescribed specifically for your dog by your vet.

Related Questions

Can your dog get constipation from dehydration?

Dehydration is a common cause of constipation in dogs, which is why it’s so important to ensure that your dog has fresh, clean water to drink every day.

How long does it take a puppy to have a bowel movement?

After you’ve fed your puppy, you should wait between five minutes and half an hour before taking your puppy outside to have a bowel movement. Sticking to this schedule will get them into a regular habit.


If your dog’s constipated, you should try some home remedies to help to get things moving.

However, if those don’t work or your dog has other symptoms, such as discomfort or vomiting, you should take them to the vet, who will be able to offer effective constipation remedies.

As can be seen in this article, there are many reasons why your dog might experience constipation. If your dog is in generally good health, there are some quick and easy lifestyle changes you can make to ensure that your dog stays regular.  

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