This, is an awkward situation.
The strangler, unwilling to let go. The cliffhanger. A hard thing- stuck in an even harder place.
Let’s cut to the chase. What do you do when your dog’s poop is stuck halfway, ingloriously swaying in mid-air for all to see?
This is one of those times that it’s not great to be a dog owner. It’s surely tied first equal for when you have to clean your dog’s mouth after it’s decided to partake in some droppings it found in the backyard.
Cleaning out their inverted nipples comes a close, yet unconvincing, second.
It isn’t exactly great for the dog either, I imagine. No one wants to be caught like this.
Constipation is when a dog can’t poop, and is especially troublesome when the dog is old or handicapped.
Still, a problem is a problem until you solve it. And to solve this one, you will have to be prepared to get down and dirty. This will involve getting the gloves and paper towels out, so if you feel you’re too squeamish for that, you can always take your dog to the vet for ‘extraction’.
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And if you do end up buying something- Thank you! I really appreciate your support and I’ll always do my best to put out more quality content for you 🙂 )
- Why Does My Dog’s Poop Get Stuck?
- Can You Pull Poop Out Of A Dog?
- How To Prevent Dog Poop Being Stuck Halfway In The Future
- In Conclusion
The number one, most common reason why a dog ends up with poop lodged in the middle of no-man’s-land is due to a little affliction called constipation. By the sound of it, your dog has quite the serious blockage.
Constipation is when a dog is unable to poop normally on a regular schedule. They will either not be able to go to the toilet at all, or will have to strain painfully hard (did you wince there? I did) to produce stools that are reminiscent of little, dark-brown rocks.
In fact, poop can become so hard that scientists have for a long time officially described them as “concretions”! No wonder they become lodged in places where they shouldn’t.
What is it that causes constipation? Usually, as fecal matter moves through the dog’s digestive tract, the water and electrolytes contained within will be reabsorbed by the colon.
However, if the travel time becomes too slow or impaired for whatever reason, the digested mass will stay put in the colon and continually lose moisture. As it loses more and more moisture, it becomes harder, drier, and more difficult to pass.
As the digestive process is connected directly to hydration and moisture, there is a very good chance that the reason behind your dog’s constipation is dehydration. However, there are also a few other common reasons that dogs can become constipated, including:
- Diet– A dog’s diet is often lacking in fiber. To make matters worse, dogs tend to eat non-edible objects such as squeakers, tree bark, and duct tape as well. These can all contribute to blockages and other abnormal fecal movement in the intestines. Sources of calcium such as bones can also give rise to constipation.
- Age– Senior dogs will be more prone to constipation.
- Lifestyle habits– Lack of exercise and being more sedentary will lead to slower digestive transit.
- Dehydration or electrolyte disparities
- Illnesses such as metabolic diseases, psychological problems, orthopedic disorders, tumors in the digestive tract and pelvic region, enlarged prostate, spinal issues and central nervous system dysfunction can all cause a dog to experience difficulties defecating.
If constipation becomes chronic, it may develop into further conditions of obstipation and megacolon. This is where the feces in the digestive tract becomes so hard and compacted that the dog is unable to poop at all.
On A Side Note…Why Electrolytes are Important For Your Dog
Electrolytes are vital for various purposes, including:
- Maintenance of water levels to prevent constipation
- Regulation of muscle and nerve activity
- Balancing the acidity (pH) of blood
Some important electrolytes required for optimal health and hydration in dogs include potassium, sodium, phosphorus, chloride, magnesium, calcium and bicarbonate.
A product that contains most of these electrolytes is unflavored Pedialyte. It is generally safe to provide unflavored Pedialyte to your dog, though you should consult with your vet first and ask for the appropriate dosage. Dosages of around 15mL per pound of bodyweight can be expected.
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Another reason that your dog’s poop might become lodged halfway is simply because it ate a long object such as string, rope, hair, or other fabric or material.
Part of the object may already be outside, while a decent length of it is still inside of the dog. This will obviously cause the feces to become stuck midway, hanging on by a literal thread.
The final reason why a dog’s poop could become lodged is due to a condition called pseudocoprostasis. Pseudocoprostasis is just a fancy scientific way of describing feces that have become entangled in the hair surrounding an animal’s anal opening.
This is especially common in dog breeds with long hair, as softer stools can stick to the fur during defecation. These feces begin to dry and cause matting, which can then block the exit completely on future attempts and cause the poop to become stuck in the middle.
Passing feces will then become a difficult and often painful task, and since the poop has so much contact with the surrounding skin, the risk of irritation and infection rises significantly.
Yes you can, and in most situations it’s definitely recommended- as opposed to the alternative of leaving the poop swinging to-and-fro like the world’s worst pendulum.
However, be gentle! It’s a very sensitive area of your dog’s anatomy, as you should be able to tell. In fact, it is possible to seriously hurt a dog, and even cause internal bleeding, if you pull a straggling poop out roughly.
There is a higher risk of this happening if there is a clearly visible string or rope connecting the fecal mass. In situations involving fabric or soft materials, give it a gentle pull first to see if it will come out.
If you are met with any resistance or painful reaction at all, it is best to simply cut it off with scissors and allow the dog to pass the rest in its own time. And if your dog isn’t able to pass the material for a significant period, it would be a good idea to take it to the vet.
This is because whatever material is still inside your dog might be wrapped and twisted up in its lower intestines. By pulling too hard on the string, you risk putting pressure on the dogs insides, cutting off circulation, and causing serious internal injury.
Here are some of the recommended, safe ways to remove dog poop that’s currently hanging out of your dog’s butt. It’s going to get up close and personal, so remember to put on your gloves and lay out the paper towels before you attempt these!
One of the easiest ways to remove feces lodged in a dog’s anal sphincter is by immersing him in a warm water bath. The warm water will help to soften and loosen the poop for easy removal as you allow your dog to sit in the water for a few minutes.
If there are feces sticking in the long hair surrounding the region, it is recommended that you lather and wash the area with a sensitive dog shampoo.
This will remove much of the stuck poop, and the long fur can be cut off afterwards with a pair of blunt scissors to create a “potty chute” so that poop doesn’t become stuck again in the future.
It’s really as simple as it sounds.
Put some Vaseline, Aquaphor or other lubricant generously around the sides of the anus and gently attempt to pull the poop out. If the feces are very hard, you might need to dig your fingers in a little bit- which is just as much fun as it sounds.
If you are not comfortable doing this, or if the attempts seem to cause your dog significant pain, it might be quicker and better to go to a vet to have the procedure done.
Using your thumb, middle, and index fingers, grasp the area encircling the dog’s butt and massage in an outward motion to trigger the action of pooping. Applying lubricants such as KY Jelly to the area beforehand will also be helpful.
The action will stimulate the rectal muscles and cause them to work harder, hopefully resulting in poop being fully excreted after 4 to 5 pulling motions.
The idea behind the Spray Method is to stimulate the dog’s anus to contract, and thereby triggering bowel movement.
Using either cool water, or water mixed with an antiseptic solution such as povidone-iodine, spray the dog’s butt until the sphincter shows signs of puckering.
Follow that up by gently wiping the area with a moist baby wipe in a circular motion, and the dog should be able to release the rest of its poop.
Inserting a lubricated cotton swab or pinky finger (gloved, of course) has been shown to elicit defecation responses even in completely paralyzed animals.
Make sure that you insert only the tip of the swab or finger- ever so gently.
The Squeeze Method can be very effective because you can potentially feel exactly what is causing an anal blockage in your dog.
By using your fingertips to press gently in the circular area around its butt, you may find a solid texture inside the rectum. This is the impacted stool that is causing defecation difficulties.
Press your thumb and index finger inwards on either side of the rectum and try to grip the stool through the skin.
Once you have a hold on it, pinch down more firmly to break off the hardened poop. As you pinch, the anus should open simultaneously and the droppings will naturally come out.
Try not to pinch too hard, since if you do you will risk damaging the lining of the colon and the rectum. This action can be repeated until all of the stool is passed, and the tissue surrounding the butt becomes soft once again.
Regardless of which method(s) you decide to use, it will likely leave your dog feeling a bit sore and tender in his butt area for the next few days.
You can help to make your dog a bit more comfortable by applying Neosporin to the butt region a few times every day until it’s back to normal. If it is really red and irritated, you can use a cold pack to bring down the swelling.
In the event that none of the methods end up working and you are still left with a dog that has poop stuck and going nowhere, then it would be advisable to take it in for professional treatment.
Your vet will be able to provide appropriate laxatives to help your dog poop out the rest of the droppings. In cases where a dog is severely constipated, the vet will be able to perform an enema to flush out the remainder of the feces.
What Gloves Should I Use To Remove the Poop?
When removing poop yourself, it is recommended to sanitize your hands first and use a glove to prevent any infections from developing.
Choosing the correct gloves to use can be difficult. However, here is a list of parameters that make up the ideal glove to use.
The ideal glove should be:
- Disposable: To prevent contamination and potential infection from external factors
- Nitrile or Vinyl: Whilst plastic or latex gloves can also work, just be aware of the quality as you would not want gloves that rip easily- especially in situations such as these!
- Thin: Allows for more flexible movement
- Preferably Powder-free/Non-powdered
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As mentioned above, most cases of constipation have a direct connection to how dehydrated a dog is. If your dog is not pooping as it should be, here are a few different ways of preventing constipation through a more holistic approach:
- Always make sure that your dog is drinking enough water. If it is not fond of drinking water for whatever reason, there are other ways you can entice it to drink, such as giving it collagen-rich chicken bone broth, unflavored Pedialyte, or ice cubes to chew on.
- Add high fiber foods such as sweet potato or plain pumpkin paste to its regular diet. Pumpkin is especially effective for digestive issues as it is high in both fiber and moisture. Powdered fiber supplements such as Metamucil, Benefiber and psyllium husk can also be given. Figs have been scientifically shown to be effective in the treatment of constipation in canines.
- Replace your average dry dog kibble with a canned wet food alternative, The extra moisture content won’t even be noticed by your dog as he gulps down a whole containers-worth! Wet products such as Cesar Gourmet Wet Dog Food not only helps hydrate dogs but also tops up their daily mineral and vitamin requirements.
- To combat current constipation, you can give your dog a teaspoon of mineral oil every 12 hours. Laxatone, the laxative commonly used for hairballs in cats, can also be used. Milk can also be given during constipation, as it will have a stool-softening effect.
Finally, if your dog has soft poop and doesn’t seem to be constipated, but the poop is still getting stopped midway, it may be a case of pseudocoprostasis where feces-matted fur is partially or fully plugging the exit.
In this case, simply wash and then clip or shave the area around your dog’s butt so that future poops don’t encounter any furry resistance. If you don’t want or have the tools to do this, a groomer will easily be able to perform this task.
If you find your dog has poop that’s dangling somewhere between its butt and your carpet, don’t despair.
Well, despair a little- until you put down some newspapers at least.
Once you’re ready, put on some gloves and help your pup! There are a variety of methods that you can use to remove the hard, lodged poop that’s causing the current problem.
The Simple Pull, Bowel Express, The Squeeze… they can all be effective ways of inducing your dog to finish the job.
Whatever you do, make sure to be gentle! Not only is it a particularly sensitive region, whatever is still connected inside the dog’s body could have the potential to wrap, cut or tangle. If you feel any resistance at all, stop and take your dog to the vet immediately for professional advice!
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.