Dog Constipation: Causes and 3 Natural Remedies

Can dogs eat it

The Can Dogs Eat It Team

Dog Constipation: Causes and 3 Natural Remedies
Reading Time: 7 minutes

joana garridoReviewed By Joana Garrido DVM

According to studies, constipation is one of the most common digestive problems observed in dogs. It causes an uncomfortable and sometimes painful sensation when defecating.

If not treated early, dog constipation can completely halt the passing of stools, which may lead to serious consequences.

To find out why, let us learn about the nature of dog constipation. We also shared natural home remedies that can help provide constipated dogs relief.

What Is Dog Constipation?

an ill looking dogDog constipation refers to the hindered passage of feces, resulting in straining during defecation.

To shed some light on how it happens, we need to look into the digestive process occurring in the colon or the large intestine. One of this organ’s important functions is water absorption.

The colon acquires electrolytes and water from chyme, which is a thick semifluid mass of partially digested food and digestive juices. Once both are completely absorbed, the chyme turns into fecal material.

When there is difficulty in passing stools, the colon continues absorbing water and electrolytes from it. This causes the feces to dry out, making it harder to pass through the colon. It leads to dog constipation.

Dog Constipation vs. Obstipation

In some cases, obstipation is mistaken for dog constipation. Distinguishing the two from each other is crucial as one is more dangerous than the other.

Dog constipation is a temporary problem that causes difficulties in eliminating. In contrast, obstipation is a severe and chronic form of dog constipation.

Pooches with this digestive issue cannot empty their bowels due to the formation of extremely dry and hard feces.

Without proper medical treatment, life-threatening complications like colon impaction and damage may take place.

What Causes Dog Constipation?

The causes can be broadly categorized as colonic obstruction and colonic motility disorders. Among dogs, one of the most frequent causes of constipation is an improper diet, often linked to the ingestion of bones. However, many factors can trigger this gastrointestinal problem, including but not limited to:

Health Issues

  • Anal gland issues
  • Dehydration
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Prostate enlargement


  • Antihistamines
  • Diuretics
  • Opiates


  • Consuming low-fiber meals
  • Switching to a new dog food
  • Feeding too much bones


  • Exposure to stressful situations
  • Lack of exercise

Dogs at any age can experience constipation, but elderly canines are more susceptible to this condition. Because of their old age, they live a more sedentary lifestyle and have a slow metabolism, predisposing them to constipation.

What Are the Symptoms of Dog Constipation?

a puppy sitting next to a toilet rollThe most common sign that your canine companion suffers from constipation is trouble defecating. This may be accompanied by:

  • Hardened and dry stools
  • Reduced bowel movements
  • Swollen anus
  • Scooting
  • Increased vocalization during defecation

Watch out for severe signs of constipation, including:

  • Lethargy
  • Inappetence
  • Vomiting
  • Tense painful abdomen
  • Bloody stools
  • Eliminating small amounts of liquid fecal matter

If your dog is exhibiting symptoms of dog constipation, get him checked by a veterinarian. They will conduct a rectal examination to rule out other potential causes of these clinical signs.

Mild dog constipation can be treated with medications like stool softeners, enemas, and laxatives. However, these should not be used without the veterinarian’s instructions.

Severe dog constipation or obstipation often requires more extreme forms of treatment. Depending on the grievousness of the condition, manual removal of the impacted feces or surgery might be recommended by a veterinarian.

3 Natural Dog Constipation Home Remedies

a poodle sitting on a toilet panTreating constipation in dogs in its early stages is vital to prevent it from progressing into obstipation. Here are natural ways to relieve your furry pal from this discomforting digestive problem:

1. Increased Water Intake as a Natural Dog Constipation Home Remedy

an ill looking dog with water bottle next to it

Dog constipation may persist in pooches that do not drink enough water. Dehydration causes the colon to absorb more water from the waste passing through the digestive tract, which produces dry and tough stools.

Encouraging dehydrated dogs to drink enough water alleviates stress in the colon and promotes regular bowel movements.


  1. You can greatly increase your furry pal’s water intake by temporarily switching him to a wet food diet. Just be sure to seek a veterinarian’s opinion before making any changes to his regular diet.
  2. An alternative way is to moisten dry dog food with water. You can get creative and use other options such as sodium-free broth or gravy.
  3. Feeding your pooch frozen homemade dog treats such as pupsicles is also a good way to keep him well-hydrated.
  4. You may want to consider providing your constipated dog with a dog water fountain. Running water tastes fresher, which may encourage him to drink more.

Nutritional information

  • Water is integral to the survival of dogs. It is a critical part of many important body functions such as maintaining normal body temperature, absorption of nutrients, and lubricating the joints.


  • This home remedy for dog constipation caters to dehydrated dogs. Pooches that drink adequate amounts of water are unlikely to benefit from it.

2. Prunes as a Natural Dog Constipation Home Remedy

a bowl of prunes

Prunes are high in fiber and sorbitol, which work well in combating constipation according to studies. Dietary fiber promotes regular bowel movements, while sorbitol has a laxative effect.


  1. Wash half a dozen plums with clean water.
  2. Remove their pits before dicing them into small cubes.
  3. For every 2 pounds of body weight, combine 1 tablespoon of diced plums with your constipated dog’s food.

Nutritional information

  • Prunes are rich in antioxidants, including vitamins A and C which are good for boosting the immune system of dogs.
  • The high fiber levels of prunes help stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetic canines.


  • High-fiber diets are beneficial to the digestive tract and the overall health of pooches. However, excessive consumption can reverse their positive effects.
  • So make sure to avoid offering this natural home remedy for dog constipation in excessive amounts.

3. Fig as a Natural Dog Constipation Home Remedy

3 figs

Researchers conducted an experiment observing the fig’s laxative effects on a constipation-induced Beagle model.

Participating canines were given 12 grams of fig paste per 2 pounds of body weight daily for up to 3 weeks. According to the results, the fruit was able to greatly increase fecal weight.

It also reduced segmental colonic transit time (CTT), which refers to the duration of time food travels through the colon. The positive outcome of the study suggests that figs can be a good remedy for dog constipation.


  • 3 whole ripe figs
  • 5 cups distilled water


  1. Rinse the figs for dog constipation thoroughly and trim off their stalks.
  2. Cut them into small pieces using kitchen scissors.
  3. Place the sliced figs into a bowl and then set aside.
  4. Boil 5 cups of water in a medium-sized pot.
  5. Pour the boiled water into the bowl of figs.
  6. Allow them to soak for up to 15 minutes.
  7. Strain the boiled figs, but do not throw away the water.
  8. Blend the fruit in a blender to create a fig paste home remedy for dog constipation.
  9. If the consistency is too thick, add a little bit of the water you have set aside into the blender to form a thinner paste.
  10. Mix 2 tablespoons of fig paste for every meal to relieve dog constipation.

Nutritional information

  • Figs provide healthy amounts of potassium, calcium, and phosphorus, which help improve the bone health of dogs.

When Does Dog Constipation Need Immediate Medical Attention?

A constipated dog needs to be rushed to an animal clinic if does not have bowel movements in 2 to 3 days. The manifestation of severe symptoms of dog constipation also needs prompt veterinary treatment.

Before driving your constipated dog to a veterinarian, note down this information:

  • The most recent occurrence of his bowel movement
  • The color and consistency of his stool
  • Other dog constipation symptoms he is exhibiting
  • Medications he is currently taking
  • Any changes in his lifestyle and diet

These details are useful in quickly narrowing down the main cause of your pet’s dog constipation.

FAQs About Dog Constipation

1. Can I Massage My Dog to Help Him Poop?

Massing your dog can help him poop since it stimulates bowel movement. Target areas connected to the digestive system such as his sides, spine, and abdomen.

Gently rub them in small, circular motions. Keep massage sessions for dog constipation short but consistent. Carry it out at least once a day for at least 2 to 5 minutes.

2. Does Water Help Dogs with Constipation?

Increased water intake can help dogs with constipation if they are dehydrated. It lightens the colon’s workload and promotes regular bowel movements.

However, this home remedy for dog constipation will not be effective if dehydration is not a contributing problem.

3. How Long Can a Dog Go Without Pooping?

Healthy dogs can go 12 to 24 hours without pooping. If your pooch has not shown any bowel movement for 48 to 72 hours, it is a serious problem that needs to be looked into by a veterinarian.

4. What Happens If a Dog Cannot Poop?

If a dog cannot poop no matter how hard he tries, it is a sign that he has developed a condition called obstipation. This GI disorder is a serious form of dog constipation.

Natural home remedies will not work against it due to its severity. You will need a veterinarian’s expertise to treat obstipation.


a dog on the toilet with a roll of toilet paperMild dog constipation must be dealt with before it escalates to something more serious like obstipation.

Natural home remedies like fig paste and prunes can help bring your furry pal’s bowel movements back to normal. Increasing his water intake is also a good idea if dehydration plays a part in the manifestation of dog constipation.

Aside from constipation, diarrhea is one of the leading gastrointestinal issues in canines. Solve this problem at home with the help of these 4 Natural Remedies for Dog Diarrhea.