A bowel blockage is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency veterinary treatment and should not be treated at home. Even dogs suffering from partial obstructions that pass on their own need veterinary support to manage pain and ensure no complications arise.
Foreign body obstructions, which can occur when a dog eats something dangerous, are especially risky. Rocks and kitchen utensils are common causes of these obstructions, and both can cause perforations in the stomach or intestines if left to pass on their own. Blockages can also prevent adequate blood supply from reaching parts of the intestines, which causes the tissues to die. This is a fatal condition unless the dead tissue is surgically removed in time. Even then, the dog may suffer from sepsis.
Dogs who are suffering from bowel obstructions also tend to suffer from vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to severe dehydration. Even if the decision is made to see if the obstruction passes naturally, the dog may need intravenous fluids for survival. In addition, bowel blockages are very painful for dogs. Prescription pain medication, often administered intravenously or through the skin, is necessary for humane treatment and to help the dog relax enough to allow the blockage to pass.
The symptoms of bowel blockages are also similar to the symptoms of some other serious illnesses and ingestion of some poisons. Prompt diagnosis by a veterinarian is necessary to ensure the dog is getting the correct treatment.