Just like humans, dogs can suffer from constipation. This phenomenon can have several origins and leads to the manifestation of various characteristic signs. While constipation may seem trivial, it should not be taken lightly, as its consequences are serious for the health and well-being of the pooch. Let’s discover its possible causes, the clinical signs to observe as well as the existing treatments.
Constipation in dogs: what are the causes?
Constipation consists of a slowing down of transit or difficult or even impossible defecation in dogs. This problem, which can have serious consequences for the animal, can be caused by several causes.
- A diet low in fiber can cause constipation, because fiber facilitates the descent of the food bolus and the natural evacuation of stool.
- Dehydration is also possible, because transit is facilitated by moist intestinal contents, which are more flexible and easier to eliminate.
- An unsuitable food ration can be the cause of this problem if the animal eats too much or too little and if it consumes food that is not suitable for it.
- The consumption of too many bones generates the presence of too much bone powder in the feces of the doggie, which hardens them and thwarts their natural evacuation.
- A lack of physical activity is also a possible source, as moving around makes it easier for stool to pass through the intestines. An inactive pooch is more at risk of constipation than a regularly walked dog.
- Some drug treatments can cause constipation. This is particularly the case of certain spasmolytics which, by fighting against the phenomenon of diarrhea, can cause an opposite effect, but also morphine derivatives which can interrupt transit.
- Certain diseases can promote the onset of constipation. Among these are certain tumors, hernia, hypothyroidism, prostate disorders, spinal diseases, kidney pathologies, etc.
- Stress can, as in humans, play a leading role in the onset of constipation in dogs.
- The ingestion of an object can also promote the onset of constipation by slowing down or blocking the proper evacuation of stool.
What are the symptoms of canine constipation?
The majority of dogs pass stools twice a day. In the doggie that is taken out and walked by its master, it is easier to detect an absence of these natural emissions. Suspecting constipation is then easier. But when the animal goes out alone, especially if it is released into a garden or a natural space to relieve itself and exert itself, it is more difficult to monitor that this evacuation is carried out correctly. Consequently, it is not uncommon for the occurrence of other clinical signs to alert the master to the possibility of constipation in his little companion.
Here are the telltale symptoms of this disorder:
- abdominal pain,
- a tense, contacted abdomen,
- an often hunched position, the animal sometimes tries to settle down comfortably without succeeding,
- loss of appetite,
- difficulty urinating,
- a general state of fatigue,
- hard, dry and dehydrated stools, difficult to expel and sometimes accompanied by bleeding from the anus.
If you notice one or more of these clinical signs, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. Indeed, constipation is a disorder not to be neglected and which can have serious consequences on the dog’s health when it persists. In addition to the pain it causes for the doggie, it can cause intestinal obstruction, which is an absolute emergency.
How to treat constipation in dogs?
It only takes three to four days of constipation for the consequences of this problem to be serious for the dog. Do not wait to act and consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
To confirm this phenomenon, the practitioner will have to auscultate the dog. He can feel his stomach to detect the presence of hard stools blocked in the intestines and perform additional examinations, such as a blood test, an abdominal X-ray or an abdominal ultrasound.
These examinations can make it possible to check if a foreign body is present and likely to block the natural elimination of the stools. Similarly, a benign or malignant tumor may have developed and interfere with the proper functioning of the intestines and the transit of the dog. A biopsy may therefore be necessary to find out if this tumor is cancerous or not.
There is no single treatment for curing constipation in dogs. The solution must be prescribed on a case-by-case basis depending on the origin of this phenomenon. The objective of the veterinarian is to revive the dog’s transit and the natural elimination of excrement, and this, by techniques that must correspond to the cause of this disorder.
- The administration of a laxative is generally unavoidable to allow the evacuation of stools blocked in the body of the doggie.
- If the origin is food, the practitioner can set up an adapted diet, rebalancing, richer in fibers and wet elements, but also better calibrated and dosed.
- In the event of a lack of activity, it will be necessary for the dog’s master to take him out more regularly and set up a new activity routine that allows his little companion to exert himself as it should to promote the proper functioning of his intestinal transit.
- In case of severe dehydration, the doggie can be hospitalized and placed on a drip.
- An animal constipated due to a tumor or a foreign body can be operated on. The surgical solution is sometimes necessary to remedy an origin of this form.
In the event of severe constipation or imminent intestinal obstruction, the dog is generally hospitalized for a few days in order to undergo an enema and possible surgery, if the latter proves necessary.
Note that a healthy lifestyle remains the best way to prevent constipation. It is indeed important to take the dog out daily, to allow him to exert himself well, but also to provide him with quality food, healthy, well balanced and adapted to his needs, as well as fresh and clean water at all times. . Finally, of course, any suspicious symptom should give rise to a consultation with the veterinarian. Prevention is better than cure and early treatment can avoid many serious risks and dangers.