Dog Constipation: When Should Pet Owners Be Worried? 4 Causes

Hey there! I’ve got something important to talk to you about today, Dog Constipation: When Should Pet Owners Be Worried, especially if you’re a proud pet parent like me. We’re going to discuss our furry friends and a common issue they sometimes face – dog constipation. It might sound like a topic that makes you cringe a bit, but it’s essential for us to understand so we can take good care of our four-legged companions.

This article explores the topic of dog constipation, highlighting when pet owners should be worried about their canine friend’s digestive health.

What is Dog Constipation?

First off, let’s break down what dog constipation is. Just like us humans, dogs can experience difficulty in passing stools from time to time. It’s not pleasant for them, and as pet owners, it can be a cause for concern. Dogs usually have a regular bathroom routine, so if you notice that your pup is having trouble pooping or hasn’t been going as often as usual, it’s time to pay attention.

Scientific Research on Dog Constipation

Now, let’s back up our understanding with some scientific research.

Studies have shown that proper hydration and a fiber-rich diet play a significant role in maintaining regular bowel movements in dogs.

Additionally, sudden changes in diet can lead to gastrointestinal issues in dogs, including constipation.

Here are some figures

  • The prevalence of constipation in dogs is estimated to be between 5% and 20%.
  • The most common age group for dogs with constipation is 6-10 years old.
  • Male dogs are more likely to be constipated than female dogs.
  • Dogs with certain underlying medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, kidney disease, and spinal cord disorders, are more likely to develop constipation.
  • The signs of constipation in dogs can include straining to defecate, hard or dry stool, infrequent bowel movements, and a swollen abdomen.
  • In most cases, constipation in dogs can be treated with home remedies, such as increasing fiber intake, providing more water, and increasing exercise.
  • However, if constipation is severe or does not respond to home treatment, a veterinarian may recommend medication or surgery.

Causes of Constipation in Dogs

Constipation is a common problem in dogs, and it can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Inadequate fiber intake: Dogs need fiber in their diet to help keep their stool soft and easy to pass. If your dog is not getting enough fiber, it may become constipated.
  • Dehydration: Dehydration can also lead to constipation. When dogs are dehydrated, their stool becomes harder and more difficult to pass.
  • Lack of exercise: Exercise helps to keep the digestive system moving, so if your dog is not getting enough exercise, they may be more likely to become constipated.
  • Underlying medical conditions: Constipation can also be a symptom of underlying medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, kidney disease, and spinal cord disorders.

Identifying the Red Flags

While occasional changes in bowel movements are normal for dogs, there are certain signs that should raise concerns for pet owners. Here are some red flags that indicate it’s time to be worried about your dog’s constipation:

  • Extended Duration: If your dog hasn’t passed stool for more than two days, it’s a sign that something might be amiss. Normal dogs typically have bowel movements at least once a day or every two days.
  • Training: If you notice your dog straining to defecate without producing much stool, it could be a sign of constipation. The dog may appear uncomfortable, squatting frequently but with limited results.
  • Hard, Dry Stool: Stools that are dry, hard, and difficult to pass are a classic indicator of constipation. This can be uncomfortable and painful for your dog.
  • Loss of Appetite: Constipation may lead to a loss of appetite in dogs. If your dog seems disinterested in food, it could be due to an underlying digestive issue.
  • Vomiting: Persistent vomiting, especially when accompanied by signs of distress, could be related to constipation, as the digestive system may become blocked.

When to Seek Veterinary Care

While mild constipation can often be relieved with dietary adjustments and increased hydration, there are situations where professional veterinary care is essential. Here are circumstances in which you should seek help from your veterinarian:

  • Persistent Symptoms: If your dog exhibits any of the red flags mentioned above and the symptoms persist for more than a couple of days, it’s time to consult a vet.
  • Dehydration: If your dog shows signs of dehydration, such as sunken eyes, dry gums, or lethargy, the constipation may be severe and requires prompt medical attention.
  • Blood in Stool: If you notice blood in your dog’s stool, it could indicate a more severe issue and a veterinarian’s expertise is crucial to diagnose the underlying cause.
  • Obvious Discomfort: If your dog is in obvious pain, seems distressed, or is unable to defecate despite repeated attempts, immediate veterinary care is necessary.

If your dog is constipated, there are a few things you can do to help relieve the problem:

  • Increase fiber intake: Add high-fiber foods to your dog’s diet, such as canned pumpkin, cooked vegetables, or psyllium husk.
  • Provide more water: Make sure your dog has access to fresh, clean water at all times.
  • Increase exercise: Take your dog for more walks or play fetch with them.
  • Give your dog a laxative: If your dog is severely constipated, your veterinarian may prescribe a laxative to help soften their stool and make it easier to pass.

In most cases, constipation can be easily treated at home with these simple steps. However, if your dog’s constipation is severe or does not respond to home treatment, you should take them to the veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Here are some additional tips for preventing dog constipation:

  • Feed your dog a high-quality diet that is specifically formulated for their age and breed.
  • Avoid feeding your dog table scraps, as these can often be high in fat and low in fiber.
  • Make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times.
  • Take your dog for regular walks or play fetch with them.
  • If you notice any changes in your dog’s bowel habits, such as straining to defecate, hard or dry stool, or infrequent bowel movements, contact your veterinarian.
Dog Constipation


Dog Constipation: When Should Pet Owners Be Worried? Keeping an eye on your dog’s bathroom habits is crucial, and if you notice any signs of constipation, it’s time to take action. Consult your veterinarian to ensure your furry friend gets the right care. Remember, our pups rely on us for their well-being, and understanding when to be worried about dog constipation is a significant step in being the best pet parents we can be.


What causes dog constipation?

Constipation in dogs can be caused by various factors, including lack of fiber in their diet, dehydration, a sudden change in diet, ingestion of foreign objects, or underlying health conditions.

When should I be worried about my dog’s constipation?

You should be concerned if your dog hasn’t had a bowel movement for more than two days, is in obvious distress, or if you notice any blood in their stool.

How can I help prevent constipation in my dog?

Ensure your dog has a balanced diet with enough fiber, keep them hydrated, and encourage regular exercise

Can I use human laxatives to relieve my dog’s constipation?

No, it’s not safe to use human laxatives for dogs without consulting a vet. Some ingredients can be toxic to pets.


  1. Study on hydration and fiber in dog’s diet
  2. Effects of sudden diet changes on dogs

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