Q. What should I do with a constipated dog?
JESSICA L DESROSIERS
A. Constipation can be tricky to deal with, and attempting to find the cause of the constipation can help with long-term relief. It is also good to figure out if your dog is truly constipated (no bowel movements) or if he is instead straining after an episode of a bowel movement (either solid or diarrhea). Dogs that are straining after a bowel movement can appear as if they are constipated, but instead may be having something else going on.
If your dog is constipated, adding in some fiber such as a little pureed pumpkin, or a probiotic such as plain yogurt to meals can help to make the stools easier to pass. However, if there is a stool piece that is currently stuck or lodged, preventing remaining stool from passing, it may need to be removed by your veterinarian before bowel habits can return to normal. Diet changes may also help if digestive issues or a food allergy are causing chronic constipation.
If your dog does not have a bowel movement at all for a few days, or the stools do not improve with an increase in water or supplementation, then it is best to contact your vet for an appointment. Your vet can checkfor any signs of foreign bodies blocking stool, and may also recommend performing an enema to remove any stuck or impacted stools so the body can return to normal.