How to Help Your Constipated Dog Find Relief: Quick and Natural Remedies

Before diving into remedies, it’s essential to understand what constipation in dogs means. Just like humans, dogs can experience infrequent bowel movements, difficulty pooping, or producing hard, dry stools. Numerous factors can lead to constipation in dogs, including dehydration, ingested foreign objects, certain medications, or an inadequate diet.

The Superfood Solution: Pure Pumpkin Purée

Why It Works: Pumpkin is rich in fiber and moisture, making it an effective and natural laxative for dogs.

How to Use: Introduce 100% pure pumpkin purée (not the sugary pie filling) into your dog’s diet. The general guideline suggests 1 teaspoon of pumpkin purée per 10 lbs of your dog’s weight. Always monitor your pet for any allergic reactions.

The Hydration Booster: Electrolyte Solutions

Why It Works: Mild dehydration can be a reason behind constipation. An electrolyte solution can prevent dehydration and improve bowel movements.

How to Use: Mix an unflavored electrolyte replacement drink (like PediaLyte) with warm water in a 50/50 ratio. Serve this mixture to your pet in moderation to prevent mild dehydration.

Natural Oils: A Slippery Solution

Why It Works: Oils like olive oil and coconut oil can act as mild laxatives, stimulating bowel movements and lubricating the intestines.

How to Use: Add a small amount (1-2 teaspoons for a medium-sized dog) to their regular meals. Note: This remedy should be used sparingly as excessive oil can lead to diarrhea.

The Fiber Boost: Increase Water Intake With Kibble

Why It Works: Softening the dog’s food can make it easier to digest and pass.

How to Use: For every cup of dry kibble, add .25-.5 cup of water. This method will create a gravy-like consistency, making it palatable for dogs and ensuring they get an extra hydration boost.

The Cold Trick: Ice Cube Method

Why It Works: It’s not entirely understood why this trick works, but some pet owners have found success with it. It’s believed the cold sensation can stimulate the dog’s bowel movements.

How to Use: Gently rub an ice cube over your dog’s anus for a few seconds. Always be gentle and ensure your pet is comfortable.

Over-the-Counter Gentle Solutions: Miralax

Why It Works: Miralax is a gentle laxative available at pharmacies.

How to Use: For dogs, the dosage is about 1 tsp per 50 lbs. However, it’s always recommended to consult with a vet before introducing any medication to your pet’s regimen.

Massage and Movement

Why It Works: Physical activity can stimulate bowel movements. Gentle abdominal massages might help in stimulating the intestines.

How to Use: Engage your dog in light exercises or playtime. Also, gently massage your dog’s abdominal area in a clockwise motion. Remember, if the dog seems uncomfortable or in pain, stop immediately.

When to Consult the Vet

While these remedies can offer relief, it’s vital to understand when professional help is needed. If your dog has not had a bowel movement for more than 48 hours, is in pain, or if there’s any sign of blood in their stools, seek veterinary attention immediately. Constipation can sometimes indicate more serious health issues.


1. How do I distinguish between occasional constipation and chronic constipation in my dog?

Occasional constipation may last for a day or two and is often related to a temporary issue, like a change in diet or reduced water intake. Chronic constipation lasts for extended periods and may occur repeatedly. If your dog regularly struggles with bowel movements over weeks or frequently shows signs of discomfort while trying to poop, it may be chronic.

2. Can my dog’s medication be causing constipation?

Yes, some medications can lead to constipation as a side effect. Drugs like antihistamines, diuretics, and certain types of painkillers can affect bowel movements. If you suspect a medication is causing constipation, consult with your veterinarian.

3. Is it safe to use human laxatives for my dog?

Not all human laxatives are safe for canine consumption. Always avoid giving any medication without a vet’s approval. Some laxatives may contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs, leading to further complications.

4. How will I know if there’s an obstruction in my dog’s digestive system?

Obstruction signs include prolonged constipation, vomiting, loss of appetite, and visible discomfort. If you notice these symptoms, especially after your dog has swallowed a foreign object, it’s essential to seek veterinary attention immediately.

5. Are certain breeds more susceptible to constipation?

While any dog can suffer from constipation, older dogs and specific breeds like Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, and Dachshunds might be more prone due to their anatomy and genetic predispositions.

6. How does age play a role in a dog’s constipation?

As dogs age, their metabolic rate often slows down, which can affect digestion. Their muscles, including the ones related to bowel movements, may weaken, making it more challenging to pass stools. Also, older dogs might be less active, further reducing bowel motility.

7. Can overfeeding cause constipation in dogs?

Yes, overfeeding, especially with low-fiber diets, can lead to constipation. It’s essential to follow recommended feeding guidelines based on your dog’s weight, age, and activity level.

8. How do grooming and constipation relate?

In long-haired breeds, hair can sometimes mat around the anal region, making defecation difficult. Regular grooming and checking the area for matted fur can prevent this issue.

9. Can stress cause constipation in dogs?

Absolutely. Just like in humans, stress can manifest physically in dogs. A significant change, such as a new environment or a change in the household, can lead to temporary constipation.

10. When should I absolutely seek professional help for my dog’s constipation?

If your dog hasn’t had a bowel movement in 72 hours, shows signs of severe pain, has blood in their stools, or experiences additional symptoms like vomiting, it’s time to visit the vet.

11. How does hydration impact my dog’s bowel movements?

Hydration is crucial for digestive health. A lack of adequate water intake can lead to harder, dry stools, making them difficult to pass. Always ensure your dog has access to fresh, clean water throughout the day, and monitor its drinking habits, especially during hot weather or after vigorous activity.

12. Are there any specific foods known to alleviate constipation?

Yes, foods rich in fiber can assist. Pureed pumpkin (not pie filling) is a common recommendation. Additionally, introducing natural sources of fiber like green beans, sweet potatoes, or bran can help bulk up stools and stimulate bowel movements. Always introduce new foods gradually to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach.

13. How can regular exercise benefit my constipated dog?

Regular exercise stimulates the natural movement of the intestines, known as peristalsis, helping to move stools through the digestive tract. A daily walk or play session can do wonders for a constipated pup.

14. What role do anal glands play in my dog’s defecation process?

Anal glands are small sacs located on either side of a dog’s anus. They secrete a smelly fluid during defecation. However, if these glands become impacted or infected, they can make defecation painful, leading to reluctance or inability to poop.

15. Are there any dog breeds with higher fiber requirements?

While there’s no specific breed with a higher fiber requirement, dogs with slower metabolic rates or lower activity levels may benefit from a higher fiber intake to facilitate regular bowel movements.

16. Can a sudden change in diet cause constipation?

Yes, an abrupt change in diet can disrupt your dog’s digestive balance. Transitioning slowly over a week or more, gradually mixing in the new food with the old, can help prevent digestive issues, including constipation.

17. How do probiotics fit into the equation?

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can aid digestion. While they’re more commonly associated with treating diarrhea, they can also help maintain a healthy balance in the gut, potentially preventing constipation.

18. Does the temperature of the food or water affect bowel movements?

Cold food or water can slow down the digestive process slightly. It’s always best to offer food at room temperature and ensure water isn’t too cold, especially in colder climates.

19. Can neutering or spaying impact bowel movements?

Neutering or spaying can alter a dog’s metabolism, which in turn might influence bowel habits. Some dogs may experience temporary constipation post-surgery due to medications or a brief change in diet.

20. How do worms or parasites relate to constipation?

Intestinal parasites can sometimes lead to constipation. If your dog’s constipation is accompanied by other symptoms like weight loss, bloating, or visible worms in the stool, a parasitic infection might be the culprit.


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