Natural Laxatives for Dog Constipation
While diarrhea might be a more common experience for dog owners, constipation can be a very real and troublesome problem. Although it’s usually mild and treatable at home with natural remedies and laxatives, it’s crucial to be on the lookout for signs that your dog’s constipation may be indicative of a more serious underlying condition.
Causes of Constipation in Dogs
If your pooch is constipated, he’s either having difficulty passing dry hard feces or isn’t able to go at all. There are many potential reasons why this condition may occur, but the most common causes of constipation in dogs tend to be dehydration, insufficient dietary fiber, lack of exercise, stress, and medication side effects.
Eric Barchas, DVM notes that “Age is a leading risk factor. Constipation is more common among older cats and dogs.” He also notes that it “is suspected that gender is a risk factor, with females suffering higher rates of constipation than males.”
Some more serious causes of constipation include partial or complete colon obstruction caused by ingestion of indigestible materials, or tumors, infected anal glands, prostate enlargement, neuromuscular disorders that affect the muscles or nerves of the colon, and pelvic or hip injuries. Because some of these conditions can lead to death if not treated quickly, a lack of response to home remedies for dog constipation should be followed by a visit with your veterinarian.
Natural Laxatives for Dogs
Before trying natural laxatives to treat your dog’s constipation, make sure he’s getting enough water, fiber, and exercise. If you have any questions or concerns about the appropriate amount of each for your pup, reach out to your vet for guidance. If your pooch’s water and fiber intake and exercise level are all within healthy limits, it’s time to try something else.
Probiotics and digestive enzymes can have some benefits, as can adding 1/4 tsp per 10 pounds of body weight of aloe juice to your dog’s meals. Pumpkin, which is naturally high in water and contains plenty of fiber, makes a good snack for constipated dogs, and olive or fish oil can lubricate and get things moving. Ginger, powdered psyllium seeds, and wheat bran may also be beneficial, according to the American Kennel Club, and a bowl of milk may loosen things up for some dogs.
When to Worry?
In addition to the need to rule out life-threatening obstructions and other serious problems, if waste is left inside your pup’s colon for too long, the condition can worsen, potentially stretching the large intestines. This chronic condition, called megacolon, can cause a lifetime of recurrent constipation and distress.
Innocent constipation usually resolves within a few days of home treatment. If the constipation does not respond to increased fluids and fiber or natural laxatives, or if it recurs, see your veterinarian for a full evaluation.
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