Ask a Vet: I Think My Dog Is Constipated—What Should I Do?

Constipation is serious. Not only is it uncomfortable for your dog, it can also be a sign of an underlying gastrointestinal (GI) issue that has been plaguing your pup for some time.

Constipation can be caused by a number of different GI diseases and can have some serious consequences if not addressed right away. The causes of constipation can range from blockages in the colon and other parts of the GI tract to dietary indiscretion or poor nutrition. In more extreme scenarios, continued constipation can lead to megacolon, a condition in which the colon becomes “stretched out” and loses functionality. It becomes so backed up that it loses its ability to hold and push out feces. 

If your dog is prone to constipation, there are a couple things you should do:

Call your vet. When your dog first becomes constipated, it’s unclear how serious it is. It can be a sign that your dog is in need of a nutritional fix, or it can be a symptom of a serious underlying GI disease. Talking to your vet can help you differentiate between the two and get your dog feeling better.

Start a new diet. Whether it’s the first time your dog is constipated or a chronic issue, your dog is going to need a new diet that is high in insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber will help make the colon slicker so the feces can slide out with more ease. Ensuring that your dog has insoluble fiber in his diet is a great way to help maintain GI health and decrease occurrences of constipation. 

Be sure to check with your vet if you have any questions about your dog’s GI symptoms and to help keep your dog’s system functioning smoothly. 

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