3 Ways to Stop Your Dog Getting Constipated

Posted on: 25 September 2017

Constipation can be just as uncomfortable for your dog as it is for you. To make matters worse, long term constipation could hurt your pup's colon health, leading to obstipation (the inability for your dog to pass faeces), vomiting, lethargy, and other unpleasant symptoms. Luckily, constipation is easy to prevent when you know how. Here are 3 ways to keep your dog's bowel movements healthy and regular.

Increase Your Dog's Fibre Intake

While all nutrients are important in keeping your dog's digestive system healthy, fibre is one of the most important when it comes to preventing constipation. Fibre helps your dog's stool retain water and bulk up so it passes through the gut quickly and without pain. Check your dog's food packaging for the crude fibre content--it should be around 4%. If the food doesn't contain enough fibre and you can't find one that does, or if your vet has advised that your dog needs a higher fibre content in your diet, there are several pup-safe foods you can try. A sprinkle of bran or cooked oats, a few spoonfuls of cooked and mashed sweet potatoes or pumpkin, or a few chopped green beans are all great options. Under a vet's guidance, you can also try a fibre supplement. 

Keep Your Dog Hydrated

Aside from fibre, water is another essential in keeping your dog constipation-free. A healthy dog should drink 0.5 to 1 ounce (15 to 30 ml) of water per pound (450g) of body weight per day. So, for example, a 30kg Labrador should drink 1 to 2 litres of water a day. If your dog isn't reaching this level, there are a few options you can try. In the summer, you can try ice cube treats made with fresh water or a small amount of juice in fresh water. When the weather's too cold for that, some dogs enjoy drinking cooled, onion-free broth. Your dog may also prefer to drink from a fountain-style bowl. If your dog just isn't a big fan of drinking, make sure you use wet food to increase their water intake through what they eat.

Groom Your Dog Regularly

When dogs lick themselves, they get fur in their mouths. If this fur is swallowed in excess, it can cause a blockage in their intestine which makes it harder for them to pass stools, leading to constipation. To prevent this, make sure you groom your dog regularly. Alongside regular groomer visits, a simple brush down every week or every few days will remove those loose hairs that could get stuck in your dog's digestive system.

If your dog is constipated, make sure you take them to a vet as soon as possible. Whether your dog's constipation is caused by one of the above reasons, an anal abscess, a foreign body in the intestinal tract, or something more serious, a vet will be able to diagnose and treat the problem before it develops into a chronic or life-threatening problem.