Constipation in dogs may be caused by too little fiber in the diet, a lack of exercise or as a side effect of medication, according to the ASPCA. Other causes of constipation in dogs may include ingested gravel, bones or sticks caught in the intestinal tract or a tumor in or around the anus.
A dog is constipated when it has difficulty having a bowel movement. Constipation is a common health concern among dog owners that appears as straining to pass stool, a mucus discharge when the pet tries to go or dry, hard stools that are often smaller than normal.
A dog is considered constipated when it has not had a bowel movement in more than 2 days or if it strains to go. Dogs who suffer from constipation should see their vet.
Other, less common causes for constipation include dehydration, a hernia, blocked anal glands or an enlarged prostate gland in male dogs. Pets who self-groom may suffer from constipation as hair collects in the stool and older dogs who suffer orthopedic problems may not be able to defecate. Elderly dogs are more susceptible to the condition, states the ASPCA.
Although it is best to see a vet when constipation occurs, there are a few remedies that owners may try at home. Adding pure canned pumpkin to the diet will add fiber and increasing a pet's exercise may also help. Be sure the dog is drinking enough water each day.
Seek veterinary help immediately if the dog shows signs of lethargy, vomiting or appetite loss in conjunction with constipation.