Dog constipation happens when a dog strains repeatedly and is unable to pass stool. The leading cause of constipation in dogs is ingesting bones, wood, or other indigestibles. A healthy dog should have one or two stools a day. If your dog is not straining and is active, alert and eating well, but has not defecated in a few days chances are the problem is not serious. Other causes of irregular bowel movements are ingestion of hair balls from cleaning themselves, tumors, and the slower intestinal movements, perineal hernia’s or prostatic enlargement in older dogs and lack of exercise.
A dog that has an impaction will pass blood tinged or watery brown stool. This can be mistaken for diarrhea. This is caused by the liquid stool being forced around the blockage. The dog may have lack of appetite, be listless and may vomit or pass small amounts of blood streaked, foul smelling feces. Some long haired dogs get feces stuck and matted over their anus. They can not defecate. This referred to as Pseudocoprostasis. The hair and matted feces must be clipped around the anus so the dog can defecate.
Mild constipation in a dog can be relieved by adding over the counter laxatives such as Metamucil to the dogs food. Adding water to a dry dog food diet may be helpful for inactive bowels. Mineral oil, which lubricates and softens the stools, maybe be a relief for constipation. It is best to put the mineral oil in the food. It may pass into the respiratory system and cause pneumonia. Milk and liver have a laxative effect and can be a cure for constipation.
In older dogs with constipation, the intestines become lazy and moves the feces through the intestines much more slowly. The long the feces is allowed to stay in the intestine, the more water is removed from them, which makes the stool much harder and drier.
Preventing irregular bowel movements includes giving your dog plenty of water, feeding a balanced diet with fiber, and make sure the dog gets plenty of exercise. Do not give your dog bones. Chicken, steak, and pork chop bones are all dangerous for your dog. They can cause obstructions and can cut the intestines.