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Digestive System: Dog Constipation Treatment

Overview:

Dog constipation  treatment is required when a dog hasn't defecated for a 24 hour period or when a dog appears to be straining, or if their are signs or blood or mucus in the feces. A visit to a veterinarian is suggested after this amount of time to be sure that there isn't any type of obstruction. Constipation is a symptom of a range of gastrointestinal problems such as an obstruction or blockage, dietary problem, or infection etc. in the large intestine, especially the colon. It occurs when excessive water either gets absorbed into the body, or remains in the intestines but cannot exit due to an obstruction; thus resulting in the dog having constipation. Water is a main component of the problem and should be supplied in high volume, as it will help problems caused by diet. Other options of treatment include the use of laxatives, systemic drugs and in chronic and severe cases, the use of enema solutions and the manual removal of  fecal contents.  A surgical colectomy  under general anesthesia is an option in cases of obstruction 

Options for Dogs and Constipation Treatment:

The best way to address dog constipation treatment is to identify and then correct the underlying cause. Options include:

Hydration; Constipation refers to a reduced level of water  in the colon; which in causes hardness and firmness in the fecal content; it should be treated initially by hydrating affected dogs with large volumes of water. Mild cases of dog constipation can be resolved with hydration alone. 

Water should be provided, along with an adjustment in diet.  High-energy foods containing  fiber and adequate fats should be fed, in small but frequent meals. Laxatives can also be used with water. Consider adding an extra water dish in another location of the house in order to encourage more drinking. 

Laxatives; Laxatives help to increase intestinal motility and enhance the mechanism of fluid flow through the gastrointestinal tract. Laxatives should not be administered in severely dehydrated dogs, as it can cause severe intestinal friction and injury.
Decussate sodium,  decussate calcium and magnesium hydroxide (don't use in dogs with kidney disease) are three of the most commonly used laxatives. Commercially these are available in the form of capsules; which can be administered in 50mg capsules for 1–4 days.   Medication include Colace, Surfak and Dialose.

Over the counter brands include Milk of Magnesia, Mylanta dn Maalox.  Provide 2 to 4ml per body wieght every 12 to 24 hours.  Only provide under the direction of a veterinarian, as laxatives can cause harm if the constipation is actually an intestinal blockage. 

Other preparations, like coarse wheat bran (1–4 Tablespoons), petrolatum products and mineral oils (5–20 ml - 5 ml per 20 pounds of body weight) may also act as mild laxatives, and are effective in increasing intestinal motility.  One mineral oil and petrolatum based over the counter laxative made for dogs is Lax'aire.

Enema Solutions; These are preparations introduced directly into the colon, at the rate of 5–10 ml/Kg B.W; which acts as an irritant and softens the fecal material, resulting in what is known as facilitated defecation. These solutions may be isotonic, meaning normal saline or tap water combined with a mild soap; which should not contain “Hexachlorophene” may be used. 

Other preparations such  as Sodium Phosphate Enemas are also available and are effective in dogs, but should be prohibited in dehydrated, vomiting or cardiac patients.

Manual retraction on the other hand is another “mechanical” option, but requires definite expertise, as improper handling may cause irreversible injury in the colon. Manual retraction and induction of enema solutions should only be carried out under general anesthesia.

Surgery: Recurring chronic cases, tumors, and absolute obstruction may require surgical procedures. In most cases, subtotal or total colectomy is usually practiced.

Dog Constipation Remedies

There are several types of home remedy for dog constipation treatment. These include:

Psyllium Seed Husks: Adding psyllium seed husks to the diet could be a simple canine constipation cure.  This can be simply obtained from the brand Metamucil.  Add to a dogs food to make it palatable.  Provide 1 teaspoon per 11 to 22 pounds of body weight 1x per day .  A homeopathic product that contains psylllium and other helpful ingredients called Natural Moves would also be a good choice worth exploring.

Wheat Bran: Add Grape Nuts Flakes - 1 to e teaspoons to your dog's food.  To make it more palatable consider combining with warm broth.

Canned Pumpkin: Pumpkin is a high fiber food.  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons to a dog's diet.

Milk: 1/8 to 1/2 cup per day can help with constipation.  Reduce the amount of milk given each day as the constipation subsides.

Prevention:

In order to prevent the need for dog constipation treatment, dogs must be fed a diet with a dog food that is approximately 7 to 13% fiber.  A dogs diet should be continually reviewed until dog constipation is no longer a problem.  Dog foods made for seniors are usually high in fiber or ask your veterinarian about Hill's Prescription Diet w/d.


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