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Dog Constipation… Is it a Big Deal? And When Should I Worry!

Constipation may seem like NBD (or No Big Deal for us non-millennials), but truth be told, it can actually be a very big deal, especially when it’s your dog that’s constipated.


There are some remedies you may want to try before you rush off to the vet, but remember, we’re talking about the health of your best friend, and since he or she can’t actually tell you how they are feeling, you really don’t want to take matters into your own hands for very long.

Especially if…

Your dog has “free reign” of the backyard, and you’re not “intimately” aware of his or her very bowl movement like us “dog walkers” are!  Because, if you don’t have to walk your dog every time he or she has a bowl movement, chances are, their “constipation” issues could go unnoticed for quite a bit longer than you might expect.


Constipation in dogs can be serious if it goes on for too long!  This is why we choose to include constipation in our list of potential medical issues list here at IndulgeYourPet and wanted to take a moment and discuss this issue so that our readers would have a better understanding of this condition and not take its development too lightly!

So, without further ado, let’s get right down to it.

Constipation in Dogs: what is it?

In order for your dog to defecate normally, he will need to go at least once a day, sometimes more. Signs of constipation in a dog include:

  • Straining to defecate but nothing’s coming out.
  • No “new poos” in the backyard.
  • Or no poos on your normal “poo walk”.

These are pretty much the basic ways you’ll know your dog is constipated. If it’s really serious and you’ve gone to the vet, they may actually choose to do an ultrasound to help determine how “serious” the constipation is by determining how “backed” up your dog may be. This can even be done on a cat as well!

Reasons for Constipation and when to worry!

Missing a poo here or there isn’t the end of the world, but if it keeps happening or it’s been days since he’s had a bowl movement, then there could be some serious issues causing your dog to be constipated.

Issues such as:

  • Diet changes, perhaps your dog has stopped eating or is eating less, which could be an indication of some other medical condition
  • Not enough fiber in dog food
  • Autoimmune issues
  • Needs grooming around the anus
  • Medication side effect
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Being an older dog

Some of the more serious causes could be:

  • Pelvis trauma,
  • Tumor,
  • Neurological Disorder
  • Dehydration
  • Prostate Problems

Remember: constipation is actually most often a symptom rather than a sickness! This means that most important thing in treating the “symptom of constipation” will be to first find out what’s causing the constipation and then create a treat plan to focus on the root cause.

Is it really constipation?

If you see your dog or cat straining to go to the bathroom, but nothing is coming out and you saw him or her defecate already, the reason may not be constipation.

There’s a chance…

Your pet has swallowed something and is now trying to push it out!  You just never know!  In fact, you only need to spend a few minutes on Google looking up the search term: “Things Dogs Swallow” to be amazed that we as dog owners aren’t visiting our veterinarians on a weekly basis!

Which is why…

It’s so tough for us here at IndulgeYourPet to write about this topic, because remember, while we are passionate about the health of all animals, we’re not actually medical professionals.  And we’re certainly not veterinarians!


“When in doubt, have a vet check it out!”

But what we can tell you is that in most cases….

If your veterinarian has determined that your dog is only suffering from “mild constipation” he or she is likely to recommend that you try to give your dog a natural laxative agent.

Most common choices are:

Mixing any of the following in with regular dog food:

  • Canned pumpkin
  • Metamucil
  • Coconut oil (1 tsp per 10 pounds of your dog’s weight)
  • Wheat bran
  • Mineral oil (1 tsp per 10 pounds of your dog’s weight)


Don’t go crazy with any of these or you can quickly go from constipation to diarrhea which isn’t fun!  And is certainly not the desired outcome any of us are looking for.

You may also…

Be advised to try and “adjust” your dog’s diet to a high fiber diet, particularly if your dog has a reoccurring problem with constipation. Now if none of these are working, then your vet may decide to give your dog an enema, or your veterinarian may also suggest stronger laxatives or something else.

As we mentioned before…

Your vet will also be “looking” for a root cause of your dog’s constipation as well, and depending on what that is, the treatments could range drastically. If there is cancer, then treatment will be a long, emotionally and financially expensive journey. If it’s another disease it could also be a long process.

Which is why…

If this is the first time that your dog has developed constipation, we definitely recommend that you have him or her checked out by a professional so that they can help you create a treatment plan that will not only help your pet today and will also help you prevent this from happening again in the future.

Which brings us to…

The last topic we want to discuss here in this article which is pet insurance.  Because we here at IndulgeYourPet feel pretty confident that there are few folks out there that actually thought on the day that they decided to adopt their pet that one day he or she would be “researching” what it means to have a constipated canine!

And as a devoted…

Pet owner, this may only be the first of many medical conditions you may find yourself researching over the lifespan of your companion.  Now we don’t want to scare you or make you worry, but we just like to suggest that in addition to doing a bit of research on the “bowl routines” of a normal dog, you may also want to do a bit of research on what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy on you furry little buddy so that if he or she does ever suffer from a “serious” medical condition, you won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of those veterinarian bills.

For more information on some of the pros and cons of owning a pet insurance policy, feel free to check out our article: Best Pet Insurance Companies, where we attempt to answer many of the questions you may have about these types of insurance products.

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