What To Give a Constipated Dog: 5 Remedies for Dog Constipation

Jennifer Coates, DVM
By Jennifer Coates, DVM. Reviewed by Veronica Higgs, DVM on Feb. 28, 2024
black brindle and white french bulldog lying on a couch and looking sad

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It’s important to pay attention to what’s going into your dog and what’s coming out—or not coming out. While many pet parents may worry about their dog having diarrhea, you should also notice when your dog isn’t pooping on their normal schedule.

If your dog is having trouble pooping or has not pooped as often as they usually do, they could be constipated. Follow this guide to learn how to help your constipated dog, what to give a constipated dog, and when you should go to the vet.

How To Help a Constipated Dog

If your dog is showing only mild signs of constipation, there may be a few remedies you can try at home to help ease their constipation. Signs of mild constipation in dogs include:

  • Straining to poop

  • Taking longer than normal to poop

  • Seeming a little uncomfortable while pooping (walking while in hunched position, vocalizing, looking back at their hind end frequently)

  • Producing small amounts of feces that are harder than normal

But if your dog is showing severe symptoms of constipation, no home remedies can help. You need to call your vet for an appointment as soon as possible. Constipation can affect a dog’s entire body and cause permanent damage to their gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

If you see any of these signs, take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible:

If your dog is showing severe symptoms of constipation, no home remedies can help. You need to call your vet for an appointment as soon as possible.

5 Home Remedies for Dog Constipation

If your dog only has symptoms of mild constipation and seems to feel fine otherwise, home treatment may be an option—but you should call your vet to discuss the symptoms and make a plan. If your dog does not begin to poop normally within a day of trying a home remedy for constipation or if their constipation becomes a recurring problem, an in-person visit to your vet is likely needed.

Here’s how to make a constipated dog poop quickly.

1. Check Your Dog’s Rear End

Take a look at your dog’s bottom—sometimes the problem will be obvious.

Long-haired dogs are at risk for developing mats of fur that can completely cover the anus and make it impossible for your dog to poop. You may find feces stuck in these mats.

You can try removing the mats with electric dog grooming clippers (not scissors, which can accidentally cut your dog). If you aren’t able to remove the matting, don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian or a groomer. If you see any other abnormalities (anything sticking out of the anus, a tumor, etc.), make an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. 

Do not remove any foreign material from your dog’s anus on your own, as this can cause trauma to the rectum or gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

2. Increase Your Dog’s Water Intake

Dehydration in dogs can cause constipation because the body responds by reabsorbing as much water as possible from the feces, hardening the stool and making it difficult to pass.

Make sure that your dog always has access to fresh water. Dog water fountains can be helpful to entice dogs to hydrate throughout the day.

This is especially important for dogs that have trouble getting around due to arthritis or other mobility issues, as they may not feel like making the effort to visit the water bowl. You can try elevated water bowls so your dog doesn’t have to bend down to drink water. Place multiple water bowls or fountains around your home to make it easier for your dog to get to one.

Feeding your dog canned food or mixing a small amount of extra water into dry food can help provide your constipated dog with extra hydration.

3. Go for More Walks

Exercise promotes normal movement within the GI tract. So if your dog is a little blocked up, consider taking them for an extra walk in the morning or afternoon—be sure your dog is well-hydrated first. Short, frequent walks help stimulate movement of feces.

The exercise combined with the smells of other dogs that have defecated in the area previously might just do the trick for your constipated dog.

4. Give Your Dog More Fiber

Adding fiber to your dog’s diet can be tricky; it can help some cases of constipation but worsen others. It’s best to talk to your vet about adding fiber to your dog’s diet before doing so. 

One common recommendation may be canned pumpkin. Small dogs can typically get 1 teaspoon of canned pumpkin mixed in with each meal. Larger dogs can often handle up to 1 tablespoon or so. Be sure you’re using plain, 100% canned pumpkin—not pumpkin pie filling.

Another option your vet may discuss could be psyllium (e.g. unflavored Metamucil®). Dosing will vary based on the size of the dog and the potential severity of the issue.

5. Try Probiotics

An over-the-counter probiotic for dogs, such as Nutramax® Proviable® or Purina® Pro Plan® Fortiflora®, can help reinstitute good bacteria into your dog’s colon.

Can You Give a Dog Laxatives?

Do not give your constipated dog a laxative without first speaking to your veterinarian. Many laxatives are not safe for dogs, particularly if used under the wrong circumstances.

But if your veterinarian is comfortable doing so, they may recommend that you try giving your mildly constipated dog a gentle laxative at home before making an appointment. Petroleum-based lubricant gels like Laxatone® or over-the-counter unflavored Miralax® powder may be good first options.  Discuss with your veterinarian the proper dosage to avoid dehydration and/or diarrhea.

Can You Give a Dog an Enema?

Never give your dog an enema at home unless your veterinarian has recommended a specific product and has shown you how to safely perform the procedure.

Constipated Dog FAQs

How long can dogs go without pooping?

If a dog goes longer than 48 hours without pooping, this could be a sign of constipation. Contact your veterinarian for the best next steps.

What do I feed a constipated dog?

Mildly constipated dogs may benefit from increased water consumption, which can be achieved by feeding a canned diet or adding water to their food. Additionally, increasing their fiber content can sometimes be useful.

What should I do if my dog hasn’t pooped in two days?

Your dog may need an in-person exam by a veterinarian if they haven’t defecated in more than 48 hours or are having any of the following symptoms: straining to defecate, vomiting, not eating, lethargy, or blood in the stool.

Jennifer Coates, DVM


Jennifer Coates, DVM


Dr. Jennifer Coates is an accomplished veterinarian, writer, editor, and consultant with years of experience in the fields of veterinary...

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