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Dog Constipation: How to Relieve Your Constipated Dog [2024]

Dog Constipation: How to Relieve Your Constipated Dog [2024]

A common (but stressful) health issue pet owners often encounter is dog constipation. Various factors can play into this, including their current diet, possible food allergies, and certain health conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

This article will review all you need to know about dog constipation, including symptoms, causes, home remedies, and treatments–particularly focusing on the role of a well-balanced diet!

What is constipation in dogs? 

Dog constipation is a relatively common health condition where a dog experiences difficulty in passing stools or is unable to defecate normally. This can be due to various reasons such as a lack of fiber in their diet, inadequate water intake, lack of activity, or possibly an underlying medical issue.

It’s often only a temporary issue, though some dogs may suffer from chronic constipation. 


Dog Constipation Symptoms

How do you know if your dog is constipated? Keep a lookout for infrequent or no bowel movements for a few days, straining without producing much stool, discomfort during defecation, and the presence of hard, pebble-like stool. 

Some dogs may show signs of discomfort like being lethargic, restless, or present a decreased appetite, and can also be associated with mucus or blood in the stool. 


What Causes Constipation in Dogs?

Several factors contribute to constipation in dogs. Some of the most common include: 

  • Lack of Exercise: Regular physical activity helps the canine digestive system function efficiently. Exercise promotes blood circulation and encourages new cell growth in the stomach, helping to stimulate regular bowel movements. 
  • Poor Diet or Sudden Diet Changes: Dogs fed a low-fiber or excessively high-fiber diet are more susceptible to constipation. Suddenly changing their food can be shocking to their systems, causing constipation. Change your pet’s diet gradually, transitioning over the course of a couple of weeks to ensure the new food agrees with your pet.
  • Age: Older dogs are more prone to constipation due to a decrease in overall body function efficiency.
  • Ingesting Indigestible Materials: Sometimes dogs swallow things they shouldn't, like bones, toys, or other foreign objects, which can lead to gastrointestinal obstruction.
  • Medication Side Effects: Certain medications, such as antihistamines, can cause constipation in dogs.
  • Dehydration: Water is incredibly vital for healthy digestion. Dehydrated dogs can suffer from dry and hard stool.


Dog Constipation Remedy: What to Give a Dog for Constipation at Home

We know you love your fur baby and would do anything to help them live their best lives. Luckily, a few simple at-home remedies can help alleviate your dog's constipation symptoms.


Wet Dog Food & Water

When a dog is constipated, it can signify that it's not getting enough moisture in its diet. Two simple yet effective constipation remedies are increasing water intake and switching to wet dog food.

Water intake is crucial for proper digestion. It helps break down food, enabling your dog's digestive system to absorb nutrients efficiently. Water also softens the stool, aiding in regular bowel movements.

Wet dog food, such as KOHA canned dog food options, provides relief for constipated dogs, in part due to the high moisture content. The additional water in wet food helps ensure your dog is getting enough hydration, facilitating easier and more regular bowel movements.

By focusing on singular meat sources, such as duck, beef, lamb, turkey, salmon, and pork, the recipes are both gentle and beneficial for the dog's digestive system.



When a dog exercises, its tummy muscles also work harder. This activity helps move food along the digestive tract more efficiently. The easier the food passes through, the less chance your dog will have problems with constipation.

Exercise also makes dogs thirsty. This means that an active dog will drink more water. As we discussed above, more water in your dog's system can help soften the stool, making it easier for them to pass stools.

Further, regular exercise helps establish a consistent potty schedule. Dogs often defecate during or after exercise, so maintaining regular physical activities like daily walks, playtime, or training sessions can encourage more predictable poop times.

Remember, the type of activity can vary based on the dog's age, breed, and health condition. Always check with your vet to figure out the best exercise routine for your pet.


Fiber-rich Diet

Fiber is critical in your dog's diet, particularly when dealing with constipation. It adds bulk to the stool and helps it move through the digestive tract more efficiently.

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, can help soften the dog's stool, making it easier to pass. On the other hand, insoluble fiber, which doesn’t break down, helps move food through the digestive system, promoting regular bowel movements.

KOHA's dog food is well-formulated to cater to your dog's fiber needs. By adding pumpkin, a beneficial fiber-rich ingredient that replaces fillers like potatoes and peas, to their recipes, KOHA products help prevent and relieve constipation.

Pumpkin is rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers, effectively helping to soften stools, adding bulk, and enhancing overall bowel regularity.

In addition to their wet dog food variants, KOHA's Dehydrated Mixes provide superfood supplements to give an extra fiber boost, promoting healthy digestion.


When to Take a Constipated Dog to the Vet

If your dog's constipation continues for more than two days or if they’re straining while trying to defecate, it's time to visit a veterinarian. Excessive straining can be an indicator of health conditions apart from constipation. 

It’s also critical to schedule a vet visit if constipation is accompanied by symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, or loss of appetite. These may be a sign of more chronic issues, like IBD or IBS.

During the visit, your vet might conduct examination procedures like radiography or ultrasound to identify the root cause of constipation. Depending upon the diagnosis, they might recommend medication, diet modifications, probiotics, or in some severe cases, surgery.


More About Dog Constipation

How can I prevent my dog from becoming constipated again?

First and foremost, feed your dog a balanced diet of high-quality food stocked with moisture and the proper levels of fiber. Opt for wet foods like KOHA’s stews or shreds which have a high moisture content that promotes better digestion and softer stools.

Equally important to diet is giving your dog regular exercise, encouraging frequent hydration, and not letting them eat anything they shouldn't–like sticks or toys. Finally, have regular vet check-ups to ensure your furry friend stays in optimal health.


Milk for dog constipation

Dairy products are generally not recommended for dogs. Many dogs are lactose intolerant, meaning they don't have the necessary enzymes to digest lactose in milk. This intolerance can actually cause diarrhea or vomiting rather than relieving constipation.

Although milk could temporarily help in passing stool, it can create other digestive problems and discomforts in the long run. It's better to rely on other methods that are safer and designed for dogs, like ensuring a balanced diet, providing access to clean water, regular exercise, and considering vet-approved fiber supplements or stool softeners if necessary. 


Coconut oil for dog constipation


Some people wonder if coconut oil can help with dog constipation. Though its high fat content could help stool pass more smoothly through the digestive system, it should only be used under a vet’s supervision. Vets may recommend coconut oil as a remedy in certain situations, but they typically advise doing so as part of a balanced diet and not as the primary solution for recurring constipation.

Too much fat, even from a healthy source like coconut oil, can lead to other issues–especially if your pup has any coconut allergies or sensitivities. 



Provide Relief For Your Constipated Dog

Keeping your dog's digestive health in check plays a critical role in their overall health and happiness. To prevent constipation in dogs, feeding them a balanced, moisture-rich, and fiber-packed diet, ensuring they have enough water, and giving them regular exercise can all contribute to a healthy digestive system. 

KOHA's dog foods promote holistic health for your canine companion with our limited-ingredient, high-protein, and moisture- and fiber-rich recipes. From limited ingredient entrées to shredded meats and delicious stews, KOHA covers all your dog's dietary needs–and their taste bud needs too!

Provide your four-legged friend with the nutrition they deserve. Keep them healthy, happy, and constipation-free!


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