Why puppies get constipated and how to treat it
The digestive system in puppies takes weeks to develop, so it’s not uncommon that they may have constipation issues. This is especially true when they first start eating solid food and wondering beyond your sight to check out other bits that may not agree with their developing digestive system.
Signs of Constipation in Puppies
The signs are usually obvious, such as leaving behind hard, dry stools or straining when trying to defecate. However, if you understand the causes, you may be able to prevent constipation from happening with your puppies.
- No sign of bowel movement for at least 24 to 48 hours
- Difficulty and straining when trying to have a bowel movement
- Crying or otherwise showing signs of distress when trying to defecate
Restlessness alone is generally not a reliable sign that something is wrong as puppies are often restless. However, when combined with other signs it may be an indication that something is up.
Why do Puppies get Constipated?
There are several reasons why constipation occurs in puppies, mostly due to conditions that are treatable or at least noticeable. Some of the most common reasons include the following;
- Not enough or too much fiber in diet
- Little to no exercise
- Hair swallowed due to excessive grooming
- Hair around the anus catching on the stool
- Ingesting gravel, small rocks, dirt, or other foreign objects
Such causes can be corrected by changing their diet to include enough fiber for regular bowel movements. Plus, exercising the puppies which helps make them regular. You can use the right brush to groom them, removing the excess hair so that it is not swallowed or by trimming the fur around the anus area, so it does not catch. You will need to be careful as the puppies are still developing, so do not brush them with the pressure and intensity you would a normal, adult dog.
Keeping them away from small objects that they could swallow such as gravel will also help and finally make sure they are drinking enough water. Think of making small changes at first to their diet before doing something radical. That way, you can judge the progress and know if what you are doing is having a positive effect.
Constipation a Sign of Serious Conditions?
Unfortunately, ongoing constipation may be a sign of something more serious which means that you will need to take them to the vet.
- Abscessed or blocked anal sacks
- Enlarged prostate
- Pelvis injury
- Orthopedic issues
- Neurologic disorder
When faced with these issues, the vet will have to make the decision about what treatment will be the best for your puppy. While obesity can be corrected with a change in diet and pelvic injuries can heal, an orthopedic or neurologic disorder may be far more complicated to treat.
Recognizing the signs that your puppy is constipated allows you to take the appropriate steps to ensure that the condition is treated quickly. In most cases, a little change in diet or more exercise will help them get past this phase while they are puppies.