Constipated dogs have a hard time defecating and show signs of physical distress. They experience lack of appetite, lethargy and vomiting when constipation persists, reports PetMD. Their stools are unusually small, and their anuses have matted fecal matter, strings or grass particles. Straining occurs in constipated dogs with intense diarrhea and colitis.
Lack of bowel movement after two days and crying, crouching or straining while defecating indicate constipation in dogs, explains WebMD. Pet owners should immediately contact their veterinarians, as the signs and symptoms of constipation are similar to those associated with urinary tract conditions.
Dogs who swallow items that are hard to digest, such as hair, grass or dry bone, tend to suffer constipation. Other possible causes of constipation in dogs include hernias, concurrent kidney disease, enlarged prostates and slow intestinal processes, according to PetMD.
Veterinarians warn against pulling threads or strings in the anus of a constipated dog, as it can damage internal organs. They diagnose constipation by conducting blood tests, ultrasounds and radiographs, notes PetMD. If an object obstructs the area inside the anus, treatment of dog constipation may require hospitalization and enemas.
Veterinarians also administer fluids below the skin to properly hydrate constipated dogs, reports PetMD. To avoid constipation problems in dogs, pet owners should restrict their dogs from eating grass, provide nylon chew toys instead of dog bones, give water regularly and use purpose-made laxatives for softening stools.