Dog constipation

dog in a kennel
Written by: Sam Webster (BVetMed MRCVS) Head Vet at Joii

Constipation is a common health issue for dogs, and most will experience it at least once in their lifetime. There are many different causes, but it’s rarely because of anything serious. However, constipation can be quite an uncomfortable issue to deal with, so it’s important to know what signs to look out for, what you can do at home to manage it and make it easier for your furry friend, and when it might be time to see a vet. 

How do I know if my dog is constipated?


It’s usually easy to notice when your dog is constipated by picking up on changes in their daily habits – if they have not had a poo within 24 hours then there’s a good chance they are constipated.

Common signs of constipation may also include:

  • Small, hard and dry stools
  • Finding it hard to pass stool
  • Passing mucus or even blood
  • Tense and hard abdomen
  • Decreased appetite

Why is my dog constipated?


Constipation can be caused by all sorts of reasons, which may include:

  • Eating things that are difficult to digest like grass or hair
  • Eating something solid that causes a blockage
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Having too much or too little fibre
  • Side effects of some medications
  • Medical problems such as a hernia or blocked anal glands.

How can I help my constipated dog?


If you notice your dog is constipated, there are a couple of different things you can do to help:

  • Keep them well hydrated – ensure that your pup has access to fresh water at all times and try to feed them more wet food rather than dry kibble.
  • Keep them active – regular exercise can be quite helpful for dogs who are constipated so try to incorporate some more physical activities into their routine as well as frequent walks
  • Keeping up with a regular feeding pattern for your dog is a good way to try and keep their bowel motions regular. Ensure that their diet contains the appropriate amount of fibre, as too much or too little can cause digestive problems. If you are thinking of switching certain foods in their diet, always check with your vet first.


If your dog is constipated, you should never give them an enema, a laxative or milk as this can cause more problems and complications.


When should I call the vet?


It’s always a good idea to contact your vet as soon as you notice something is up so you can get their advice and fully understand how to treat them at home or whether they should be taken to the vets to be assessed. 

If your dog is vomiting, very flat, or displaying any other concerning symptoms, or you are worried they may have swallowed something that could be causing a blockage, you should take them to your vet immediately.


With Asda Pet Insurance you can get access to a 24-hour Vet Advice line as well feel confident your pet pooch is covered should they get an unexpected illness or injury.

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