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Signs Your Dog Is Constipated

Signs Your Dog Is Constipated

on July 08, 2024

Have you ever noticed your furry friend struggling during their potty time? As a dog parent, it can be heartbreaking to see your canine companion in discomfort. Constipation in dogs, while relatively common, can be a concerning issue if not addressed promptly.

Let's explore the signs, causes, and treatments for dog constipation, including the benefits of using a dog gut health supplement, the best probiotic chews for dogs, and the best probiotic with digestive enzymes, to ensure your pup stays happy and healthy.

Is Constipation in Dogs Common?

Constipation is a frequent issue among dogs, similar to how it affects humans. It is common and can affect any breed. While certain breeds like Dachshunds and Bulldogs may have a higher risk of spinal and orthopedic issues, which can affect bowel movements, constipation can arise in any dog due to factors like diet, lack of exercise, medical conditions, medications, and obstructions.

While occasional constipation is not unusual, chronic constipation can indicate underlying health problems that need attention. Understanding whether this condition is common requires knowing its contributing factors and recognizing its signs early. It's essential for us dog parents to monitor their bowel habits and seek veterinary advice if constipation becomes persistent or severe.

Regular exercise, a balanced diet with adequate fiber, and proper hydration are key to maintaining your dog's digestive health and preventing constipation.

Should Dog Parents Be Worried About Constipation?

Constipation in dogs can be a source of discomfort and concern, but whether it requires immediate attention depends on the severity and duration of the symptoms. Occasional constipation might not be an immediate cause for alarm; however, persistent or severe cases certainly warrant prompt attention from dog parents.

Initially, occasional constipation in dogs is relatively common and may result from minor dietary issues or temporary changes in routine. Monitoring the situation closely and making slight dietary adjustments can often resolve these mild cases. However, if constipation persists beyond a couple of days or is accompanied by other symptoms such as straining, pain, lethargy, or loss of appetite, it becomes a matter of more immediate concern.

Identifying the Signs of Constipation in Your Dog

As a dog parent, you want to ensure your pet's overall well-being. Identifying the signs of constipation is the first step:

1. Straining During Defecation

One of the most noticeable signs of constipation in dogs is straining during defecation. If your dog is taking longer than usual to pass stool or seems to be straining excessively without producing much fecal matter, it could be a sign of constipation. You may notice your dog making frequent attempts to defecate with a look of discomfort or frustration.

2. Dry, Hard Stools

Dogs typically produce moist, well-formed feces. Dry, hard stools are a key indicator of constipation. It can be painful for your dog to pass and is often a result of dehydration or insufficient fiber in the diet.

3. Infrequent Bowel Movements

A healthy dog typically has one to two bowel movements per day, depending on their diet and activity level. If your dog goes more than two days without a bowel movement, it's an indicator of infrequent bowel movements that can further leave your dog constipated.

4. Discomfort and Pain

Constipation can cause significant discomfort and pain for your dog. Look for signs of discomfort, such as whining, whimpering, or a hunched posture, which may indicate your dog is in pain. Your dog may also exhibit reluctance to move, play, or engage in everyday activities.

5. Loss of Appetite

Constipation can sometimes lead to a decreased appetite or reluctance to eat. A loss of appetite can exacerbate constipation, creating a cycle that needs to be broken with proper care and treatment. If your dog shows less interest in food or stops eating altogether, it could be a sign of digestive discomfort.

6. Abdominal Swelling

A swollen abdomen might suggest a buildup of waste or gas, necessitating immediate veterinary attention. If you notice any swelling in your dog's abdomen, immediate veterinary attention is necessary to prevent further complications such as intestinal blockages or megacolon.

Causes of Constipation in Dogs

Understanding the causes can help in preventing constipation and ensuring proper treatment. Common causes include:

1. Dietary Issues

Fiber helps to bulk up a dog's excrement and promote regular bowel movements. A diet low in fiber can make it difficult for dogs to pass stools easily. Low fiber intake, dehydration, or sudden changes in diet can contribute to constipation.

2. Lack of Exercise

Regular physical activity is essential for dogs to maintain a healthy digestive system. Exercise helps to stimulate bowel movements by promoting normal muscle contractions in the intestines. Dogs that lead a sedentary lifestyle are more prone to constipation.

3. Medical Conditions

Several medical conditions can contribute to constipation in dogs. Anal gland issues, such as impaction or infection, and orthopedic problems, like arthritis or hip dysplasia, can lead to constipation.

4. Medications

Certain medications can cause constipation as a side effect. Most commonly, pain relievers like opioids are known to slow down the digestive system, which can lead to hard and dry stools.

5. Obstructions

Dogs are naturally curious and may swallow items that can cause blockages in the digestive tract, such as bones, toys, or even hair. These obstructions can prevent the normal passage of fecal matter and lead to constipation.

Treating Constipation in Dogs

Once you've identified that your dog is constipated, the next step is treatment. Treatment can vary based on the underlying cause:

1. Dietary Adjustments

Increasing fiber intake through dog gut health supplements or adding high-fiber foods like pumpkin to their diet can help.

2. Hydration

Ensure your dog drinks plenty of water. Hydration is crucial for preventing and alleviating constipation.

3. Exercise

Regular walks and playtime can stimulate bowel movements and improve overall gut health.

4. Probiotics

Using the best probiotic chews for dogs or the best probiotic with digestive enzymes can support a healthy digestive system.

5. Medical Intervention

For severe cases, a visit to the vet is essential. They may recommend laxatives, enemas, or even surgery in extreme cases.


While common, dog constipation cannot be ignored. You can ensure your dog's comfort and health by identifying the signs early, understanding the causes, and implementing appropriate treatments. Regular check-ups, a balanced diet, sufficient hydration, and exercise are crucial to preventing constipation and promoting overall gut health.

Your dog relies on you for their well-being. Stay vigilant, informed, and proactive to keep their digestive system running smoothly. After all, a happy gut makes for a happy pup!

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