What can we give our dog to help with constipation?

Our question this week was:

Our German Shepherd, Max, age 9 seems to be quite constipated. Our vet suggested giving him canned pumpkin and also recommended fiber cereal (Fiber One). This has been to no avail. He gets in the position to defecate and even moans as if trying to pass a hard stool but very little if anything comes out. What else can we give to help him?

Marshia        DiMartino

Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. Your email indicated that your 9-year-old GS is constipated. You are treating him with fiber supplements but that have not been helping.

Do you know if there are any underlying causes for him to be constipated? Let me back up for a second – we have a very good article on Constipation on dogs– just click on that link and it will take you to the article.

You may already know and as written in the article that I just mentioned,

Constipation is infrequent, incomplete, or difficult defecation with passage of hard or dry feces. Constipation is sometimes used interchangeably with obstipation, which is intractable constipation where defecation becomes impossible. It may cause great distress and pain.

There are many possible causes including dietary changes, nerve problems, metabolic and endocrine diseases, certain drugs, anal gland problems, prostate problems, bit wounds, and tumors to name a few.

It may be beneficial to have some tests done to help determine the underlying cause. The most effective treatment would be to try to correct the underlying problem.

Symptomatic treatments are fiber (like you are doing), increasing water intake, exercise, and drugs such as "stool softeners" – for exampledocusate sodium (DSS, Colase)

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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