Constipation is extremely common in dogs. It is defined as an infrequent and difficult passage of excessively dry or hard faeces. It becomes progressively more severe if left untreated. Permanent and irreversible damage can be made to the colon and rectum.
The main causes of constipation:
- Diet/environment: bones, foreign matter, low fiber diet
- Painful defecation: disease of the anus, fracture of the pelvis
- Mechanical obstruction: prostate gland enlargement, pelvic cancer, perineal hernia
- Colonic muscle weakness: spinal cord injury
- Severe dehydration: Particularly common in working dogs
You may notice that your dog is straining to produce bowel movements. Liquid excretion from the blockage could be misinterpreted as diarrhea. Dogs may also vomit. If left untreated, constipation can turn into obstipation, an intractable form that requires surgical procedure. Contact your Franklin vets if you notice any irregularities in your canine’s toilet habits. It is much easier to treat a dog in the early stages than later.
Constipation will cause major discomfort to your dog. Fortunately, it can be prevented:
- Do not feed your dog bones, especially lamb bones that tend to splinter into small pieces and block the rectum
- Castrate male dogs when they reach 1-2 years of age. This prevents benign enlargement of the prostate gland
- Provide a diet full of fiber and water. Eukan Premium Diet is recommended for the working dog.
Contact Franklin Vets for information and preventive care for your dog.