What Causes Constipation in Puppies?

by Tami Fisher

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Although constipation isn't altogether common in dogs, it does happen, and it is important to recognize the signs if your puppy becomes constipated. If a puppy is unable to have normal bowel movements, you need to take steps to help the puppy. The things to look for are straining to go to the bathroom but not really having success, or having small, hard and dry bowel movements at very irregular periods.

Recognizing Constipation

Although constipation isn't altogether common in dogs, it does happen, and it is important to recognize the signs if your puppy becomes constipated. If a puppy is unable to have normal bowel movements, you need to take steps to help the puppy. The things to look for are straining to go to the bathroom but not really having success, or having small, hard and dry bowel movements at very irregular periods.

Causes of Constipation

The most common cause of constipation in puppies is hairballs. Puppies that constantly lick or clean themselves ingest quite a bit of hair. This hair then balls up in the intestinal tract, causing a blockage to occur. Puppies are also known for eating weird things. Almost everything a puppy comes in contact with might go into its mouth. Some things, like plastic toys or baggies, can actually cause a blockage to occur, resulting in a constipated puppy. Certain medications the puppy takes may also cause constipation. Another issue is with puppies that have long hair. Sometimes the hair around the puppy's anus may get so matted that it blocks the puppy from having a bowel movement, which can eventually result in constipation.

Prevention

Because there are many causes of constipation in puppies, it is imperative that the puppy's owner take control at the first sign of trouble. If a puppy has a tendency to become constipated, try to prevent it from occurring in the future. Monitor everything the puppy comes in contact with, and make sure that non-food items don't get digested. Also, if the puppy is a long-haired breed, be sure to keep the hair trimmed around its bottom. If you feed your puppy a steady diet that is high in fiber and keep it well-hydrated, plus make sure your puppy gets the exercise it needs each and every day, constipation shouldn't be an issue.

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About the Author

Tami Fisher received her undergraduate degree in mathematics, while also receiving a full-ride golf scholarship. She has extensive experience in the golf industry, as well as the employee benefits area. She is a die-hard Kansas basketball fan, and loves all sports.