Help, My Dog is Constipated!

Puppy trying to go to the bathroom.

Watching your pet strain in an attempt to go poop is no fun at all. Or maybe you feel like it’s been too long since your dog last pooped. Straining to poop or skipping potty sessions are both signs of constipation. If you’re asking yourself, “Why is my dog constipated?” you’re not alone. You can always contact the team at East Sacramento Veterinary Center if you’re worried. In the meantime, let’s hope your pup stays regular!

Why is My Dog Constipated? 

One of the most common causes of constipation in dogs is eating a foreign object. This can be something like a shard of bone, a piece of fabric, or a broken bit of your pup’s favorite toy. The object can irritate your dog’s colon and block the feces from exiting the body. 

Other reasons for constipation in dogs include: 

  • Dehydration
  • Lack of fiber in the dog’s diet
  • Hair ingestion from self-grooming
  • Medications
  • Old age
  • Problems with the anal gland
  • Stress and changes in diet
  • Neurological issues
  • Little-to-no daily exercise
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Tumors or masses

Some of these causes are more serious than others, and all may require veterinary treatment for your dog to get better. That’s why keeping an eye out for signs of constipation is important. 

Signs of Constipation in Dogs

Most dogs poop one or two times a day. If you notice your dog straining to poop or avoiding any attempt to defecate, your dog may be constipated. We recommend keeping track of your dog’s constipation symptoms as soon as you notice them. Note the last time your dog enjoyed a regular bowel movement. Write down instances of straining or yelping while attempting to defecate, changes in your dog’s routine or diet, and all other details you can think of. This information will help your veterinarian understand what’s going on with your dog. 

If it’s only been a day or two since your pup last went poop, you can give us a call for some home remedies to try. Adding a fiber supplement to your dog’s diet, taking them for an extra walk, or giving them a few wet canned food meals can help get things going again. 

If you think your dog is constipated because he or she has ingested a foreign object, however, call us right away or head to your nearest animal emergency hospital. Your dog may need X-rays and special treatment, such as surgery, to identify and remove the object.

How to Treat Constipation in Dogs

Once a dog has been constipated for more than 48 hours, it’s time to bring your pup in to see a veterinarian. At East Sacramento Veterinary Center, our veterinary team can perform a variety of diagnostic exams to figure out what’s causing your pet discomfort. Depending on the culprit, an enema or stool softener may do the trick.

In more extreme cases, we may need to manually remove the feces, prescribe drugs to activate colon function, or perform surgery to address the obstruction. 

Do you have additional questions about constipation in dogs—or how you can prevent it? Give us a call or email us at We’d love to hear from you!