Dog usually have no problem moving their bowels, but sometimes you’ve noticed the dog is not performing. There are several reasons for this, and there are several remedies that you can try before calling the vet. If none of these aids help, then it’s time to see the doctor.
Constipation in dogs has several causes that can tie up the poor pup’s innards. Among these are:
Lack of proper diet--The dog’s regular food should contain plenty of fiber. He also should have access to lots of water. Whatever you do, don’t feed the dog from the table, no matter how cute he looks begging. In particular, avoid sugar and bones. These can hurt the dog, not just constipate him.
Lack of exercise--Dogs need to walk and play. Lots of activity keeps all those internal organs humming along. In the course of the walk, the dog will stop and relieve himself if everything is right inside.
Ingestion of fur--Dogs lick themselves, as you know. Licking means fur is going inside the dog, especially long-haired dogs. That fur can get tangled with the feces and prevent a bowel movement.
Bones, toys or other foreign objects--Dogs eat anything and everything. If the little bell inside the ball comes loose, the dog just might pounce on it. In the process of destroying a cloth toy, he can swallow cloth or some appliqué on the toy. Cloth is not good to swallow. Whatever it is he ate, it ends up in the bowel as an obstruction.
Stress/Change in routine--If you’ve added to your family either a child or another pet, the dog may have a hard time adjusting. The same problem arises if you’ve moved. No matter how supportive you are to the dog, his bowels just might tighten up.
There are several methods for loosening the dog’s bowels, depending on what the problem is.
Grooming--All dogs need a good, regular brushing, even short-hair dogs. The Furminator has an excellent reputation for really getting all the fur there is to get.
Bran/fiber--Adding some form of bran or additional fiber, such as Metamucil, to the dog's diet will hold onto moisture, so the stool isn’t too hard to pass. Don’t add human portions to his food, but doggy portions. Also, keep in mind the size of the dog when deciding how much to give. A little may go a long way.
OTC stool softener--There are dog-specific stool softeners available over the counter. They’re laxatives for dogs, just as humans have laxative.
Mineral oil--Mineral oil is not digested, but moves through the system until it comes to the bowels and makes everything slide right out. Consider it a facilitator.
Pumpkin (pumpkin only, no spices)--Do not use pumpkin pie filling. A small amount in the dog’s food will regulate the dog’s bowels in no time. Pumpkin also helps with diarrhea.
Alfalfa--A crushed tablet or a portion of one acts as a laxative. Be careful, however, it contains phosphorous, which is very bad for a dog with kidney disease. Also, too much will cause diarrhea, not what you want.
If the dog still can’t go, loses his appetite, has blood in whatever stool he can pass or is lethargic, there’s a problem. Now, it’s time for the vet. The vet has other medicines that can help, can also give an enema or in extreme cases, perform surgery on the dog. It probably won’t get to that point.