When an animal is constipated their bowel movements are infrequent or difficult to pass. It is an uncomfortable, but common problem that can be easily treated and resolved in all but the most serious of cases.
A healthy dog averages one to two stools a day, however they can go as long as a day or two days without a bowel movement. This should not be of concern as long as the stools are normal in size and there is no difficultly of straining and defecating. Any longer and stools will become hard, dry, and difficult to pass.
Constipation has many causes from inadequate water consumption to the ingestion of indigestible materials such as bone chips, hair, grass, cloth, and paper. Some drugs used to treat a variety of disorders can also cause constipation.
No dogs are immune from constipation, however dogs who are middle-aged and older are especially susceptible. Often this is related to a failure to drink enough water, resulting is minor dehydration; which in turn dehydrates the feces.
Constipation can be confused with colitis therefore it is important to visit your vet to rule this possibility out.
To prevent constipation, provide your dog with plenty of water and limit their access to foreign objects such as bone chips. Also remember to let your dog out frequently during the day so that they have adequate time to defecate. Never give your dog laxatives that may be used for humans, as they can be very dangerous.
- absence of bowel moments
- painful defecation
- obvious discomfort