Constipation can cause discomfort and anxiety, especially in a small puppy. When defecation is not making it’s route out daily and remains in the colon for 3 days or more then the colon will lack moisture which will, in turn, make passing the dry, hard feces very uncomfortable.
You will see your puppy straining and squatting but producing nothing. They generally will lose their appetite and so not gain the weight that they should be at this young age. Left too long and the colon will become inflamed and so when your puppy does manage to poop then this will be hard along with dark fluid which occurs when the bowel lining becomes inflamed. It can resemble diarrhea.
What Causes Constipation in Puppies
There are many reasons why your puppy can become constipated.
- Swallowing non-digestible objects – these can include cloth, grass, gravel, stone, bits of stick, paper and these can become impacted and therefore cause constipation.
- Pieces of bone turn into rock hard masses that can block their colon. Lack of fiber in their diet will cause constipation as their poop will become much smaller and hard to pass.
- Lack of adequate exercise
- Dehydration from not drinking enough water or due to another illness
- Blocked anal sacs
The Effects of Untreated Constipation
A condition called obstipation can occur if constipation is untreated. This means that the puppy or dog will not be able to empty his colon on his own, therefore, becoming packed with large amounts of feces and causing straining, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
How to Treat Constipation in Puppies
It is always best to get your vet’s advice but he will more often than not advise the following:
Some form of stool softener
Increasing the amount of fiber in your puppies diet
Increasing the amount of exercise that your puppy has. If he is not fully inoculated then make play times that bit more playful!