Constipation in dogs is much more common than many owners realize, and one of the first signs you may see in your pet is a sudden bout of depression.
Just like people who become constipated and do not feel well as a result, your dog is no different and they are depressed simply because they are downright miserable.
However, it can and does make than more than just miserable.
If it becomes severe enough, your dog may become so ill as a result that it will require hospitalization for several days before it can be corrected.
Constipation in dogs is described as the infrequent, difficult, or the incomplete defecation of the passage of hard or dry feces.
It should be noted however, that it should not be confused with two other very similar conditions; Obstipation and Mega-colon.
Obstipation is an intractable form of constipation and it is entirely different as it cannot be stopped and is resistant to any type of control.
Mega-colon is a condition where there is an extreme dilation of your dog’s colon.
With either of these two disorders, your dog is habitually constipated, but if they are constipated for just brief periods, it is not an indication that they have these conditions.
However, it is still a very painful and stressful event for your dog and in most all cases can make them very ill.
Constipation in dogs will show you systemic signs that can vary in degrees of severity depending on the actual disorder that is causing it.
It is almost always a disorder of some type that is stopping or impairing the passage of fecal through your dog’s colon.
This delay in the actual passage, however, does not stop the removal of salt and water from the feces.
Both will still continue to be removed, and as a result it causes extremely hard and dry stools.
The initial signs that your dog will show you may take several days to actually surface, unless you observe your dog very closely every time they are let out to relieve themselves.
However, most owners do not observe this closely until they think something is wrong.
The first symptoms of constipation in dogs will develop very early and you can catch it just as early if watch, as your dog will strain for long periods and then only produces a dry and firm stool.
In most cases it will be very small compared to their regular defecation. In some cases, your dog may produce nothing at all in this attempt.
As it increases in severity, your dog will strain even harder and for longer periods.
In this case, the next symptom that you will see will be a small amount of liquid being produced, but still no normal stool.
By now your dog may also be vomiting, have absolutely no appetite, and has become very depressed.
Constipation in dogs has several potential causes and it is important to remember that every dog sometime during their life will become constipated.
This is quite normal, but reoccurring constipation is not normal and as such the actual underlying cause will have to be determined.
The most common cause is always related to your dog’s diet and will include the type of diet as well as the amount of water your dog is consuming.
If your dog is eating a very lower fiber pet food or a homemade diet that is low in fiber, this is most likely the cause.
But it does not mean that you have to drastically change their diet if there is a reason you have them on a low fiber or homemade diet.
By simply adding methyl cellulose in A supplement form as well as bran or pumpkin supplements or treats, it will almost immediately remedy the constipation.
It will also help if your pet eats a lot of bones or for that matter sticks or sand, as they can also form hard masses that will cause constipation in dogs.
And as all owners know, from time to time, your dog may eat almost anything that gets in their path.
Sufficient water supply is also a major cause as your dog must have 2.5 times the amount of water verses the amount of food that they eat.
If they eat 8 ounces of food a day, they must have 20 ounces of water.
If your pet is getting older or for some reason they have limited access to exercise, it can also cause constipation in dogs.
There are also several drugs as well as some supplements that can cause constipation in your pet. Antihistamines, iron supplements in excess, as well as diuretics can bound your dog up as well.
There are also obstructions that may be the actual cause and they can be outside of the colon wall or inside the wall.
Obstructions outside of the wall, called extra-luminal disorders, include a narrowed pelvic canal as the result of a fracture, a prostate enlargement, or enlarged nymph nodes directly above the colon.
Intra-luminal disorders include colonic or rectal tumors or polyps, some type of a rectal foreign body, as well as perianal hernias or rectal prolapse.
A rectal prolapse is the protrusion of rectal tissue through the anus.
However, there are two other potential underlying disorders that may trigger constipation: Neurological and metabolic disorders.
Neurological disorders include some type of a paralysis that may be temporary or permanent, a spinal cord or disc disease, or lead poisoning.
Metabolic and endocrine disorders can also be the underlying cause as they impair the transmission of feces through the colon.
This would include kidney disease, hypothyroidism, and hypokalemia, which are decreased potassium levels in your dog.
There is also a disorder called hyperparathyroidism, which results in the calcium levels in your dog becoming severely elevated.
Constipation in dogs will occur sometime in your dog’s lifetime and in most cases adjustments in their diet as well as their water supply will rectify it.
However, if it starts to happen more than a couple of times, you will need to immediately have your dog examined by your veterinarian as it is now a condition that has to be corrected.