Do you have a constipated puppy? Or are looking for some tips on how to look after constipated dogs? This article should help...
Is your puppy having difficulty pooping? Are his stools hard or dry? Does he strain or cry when having a bowel movement?
If you answered "yes" to one or more of these questions, you may have a constipated puppy on your hands.
Although true constipation in puppies isn't very common, tiny and toy breeds seem to experience more than their fair share of discomfort in this area.
As with many health issues, it's easier and better to prevent constipation from happening, than it is to treat it. However, as many people reading this are looking for help with a puppy who is already constipated, I'll start with the remedies!
The first thing to do when your puppy is having difficulty with constipation is to increase his fluid intake and his exercise level. Both of these help to keep his digestive system moving along.
If he's already straining unsuccessfully or is passing dry, hard stools, you may well need to try some other options as well. There are several different things you can add to his diet (don't add them all at once though, pick one and try that first!), that will help clear the 'log jam' inside him. These include:
CANNED PUMPKIN - this should be plain pumpkin, not the pie-filling variety. Add 1 tsp to 1 tbsp, depending on the size of your puppy.
BRAN - you can use regular bran, or Metamucil, oat bran, Grape Nuts and so on. Add 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp (depending on size of pup) to his food.
OIL - extra oil in his food can help to soften your pups' stools. 1/2 tsp of Olive Oil added to his meals is simple and safe. You can try 1 - 2 tsp of Mineral Oil for more stubborn constipation, but you need to be very careful about his. Never use Mineral Oil for more than a day or two as it can be harmful if used to excess.
MILK - dogs don't digest cows milk properly, and it would normally cause diarrhea or loose stools in a puppy. However, if your pup is constipated, a little cows milk (1/4 to 1/2 cup depending on the size of your pup) added to his food or water, may help get his bowels moving again.
OTC REMEDIES - never use a human constipation remedy for your dog! There are some specific products available to treat constipated dogs such as Laxatone to help with constipation due to hairballs. There are also natural, herbal remedies that keep bowel and digestive functions healthy.
Common causes of dog constipation
There may be one, or several reasons, why your puppy is constipated. Something simple like not drinking enough, or being a 'couch potato' can make your pups' bowels 'sluggish'. Other possible causes for constipation in dogs include :
Hairballs - these are more often seen in dogs with long hair. Or in dogs who have allergies or skin conditions and are constantly licking themselves.
Medicines - some medications can cause constipation in dogs, anti-histamines are common culprits.
Medical Conditions - this isn't very common in puppies, although a hernia or infection can sometimes be the culprit. However in older dogs, conditions such kidney disease or prostate problems can cause constipation.
Long Hair Around The Rectum - this is also sometimes called 'mechanical constipation', and it's basically an external physical obstruction that causes your pup to be unable to eliminate. If your puppy has long/thick hair, keep it trimmed short around the anus so that this doesn't happen.
Sometimes a more serious cause of constipation can arise, and this requires immediate veterinary attention.....
Ingesting Inappropriate Items - every puppy owner knows that a pup will try to eat just about anything!
And often they succeed in swallowing something that is definitely not meant to be eaten. In many cases, these 'foreign object' pass through your pups' digestive tract fairly easily, and come right out the other end.
However, occasionally something will get 'stuck' and can cause serious problems. If your dog seems to be in pain when he strains to poop, if he's vomiting or retching, his tummy is distended, or he seems distressed (panting, pacing, whining, drooling etc.) you need to seek veterinary help immediately.
This sort of blockage can be life-threatening. Don't try constipation remedies if this happens, take your puppy straight to the vet.
Once you've treated the constipation in your puppy, it's important to take steps to make sure that this doesn't become a regular condition.
Plenty of water and exercise are an important part of keeping his digestive system healthy. You can add a herbal supplement or pro-biotic to his food on a daily basis to keep his bowels 'regular'.
For pups or dogs who seem to have regular problems with constipation, there are some special dog foods that are formulated to help with this. These contain more fiber than the average food, and Hills Dog Food has two different formulas available from most veterinary offices.
The author is a life long dog-lover and has many years of experience in breeding, raising and training puppies.
Read the full article 'A Constipated Puppy', and find all the tips and advice you need to raise a happy, healthy puppy at http://www.the-puppy-dog-place.com
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