Dog Constipation: Signs, Causes, & Treatment

dog poop on the ground

Constipation is the inability to produce regular and normal stools. For a dog, the normal stool schedule is one or twice a day. If your dog is suffering from constipation, he will produce rock-hard stools or strain to defecate.

In chronic cases, the dry and hard fecal matter is held in the digestive tract. It is also referred to as obstipation; a situation whereby the fecal matter is compacted, preventing the dog from defecating.

Signs of Dog Constipation

  • Failure to defecate for several days
  • Pain or distress during a bowel movement
  • Blood in the stool
  • Hard and dry stool that feels like pebbles
  • Dyschezia: This can be very painful
  • Tenesmus: This includes strain during defecation
black dog pooping

Why do Dogs Become Constipated?

At some point in life, many dogs become constipated. Although it is not common, constipation is a minor problem that can be solved with various home remedies. If your dog is constipated, he may show signs of strain during a bowel movement, and it may be hard and dry. His appetite may then reduce, and he may begin to vomit.  Your dog may even urinate blood. There are many things that can lead to the constipation of your dog. Some of them may include:

  • Dehydration
  • Foreign body obstruction
  • Ingested grass, dirt and debris
  • Obstruction from abnormal tissue growth such as tumor
  • Medication side effects
  • Insufficient exercise
  • Insufficient fiber in the diet
  • Enlarged prostrate in male dogs
  • Neurological or orthopedic issues
  • Sedentary lifestyle

If any of the mentioned signs are noted, it is important that you contact your veterinary immediately. Sometimes, constipation resolves itself without you figuring out the cause.

Which Dogs are more prone to Constipation?

Older dogs are more likely to suffer from constipation. However, this condition can affect any dog that suffers from any of the conditions mentioned above.

Home Remedies for a Constipated Dog

You may find success with clearing the constipation issues by using some readily available items to relieve your dog of constipation. The following are the foods you could try:

  • Milk: Many dogs, like the case with humans, are lactose intolerant. In a crisis, however, a small amount of milk can act as a laxative.
  • Canned pumpkin: Feed your dog pumpkin to relieve it of constipation. Pumpkin is high in water and fiber content. Either canned or pure pureed pumpkin can be used.
  • Coconut or olive oil: Mineral oil, fruit or vegetable can help in lubricating dog stool.
  • Broth and ginger: In cases of indigestion, a lot of people turn to ginger. This is also a remedy that can work for dogs with constipation. Prepare a ¼ tsp of ginger and mix it with a ½ cup of chicken or beef broth.
  • Cooked green beans: These are rich in fiber and can help in cleaning the colon. It also stimulates bowel movement.

Giving more than necessary of these home remedies can trigger severe diarrhea and dehydration in dogs. Before treating your dog with any home remedy, it is vital that you first check with your vet. Paying a trip to your vet creates the right avenue for tests that could catch and prevent severe conditions.

black and white dog

How is Constipation in Dogs Diagnosed?

Constipation cases in dogs are diagnosed through a medical history or physical examination. Upon evaluating the abdomen, the vet will likely be able to feel a firm colon. Rectal examination may then be conducted to rule out any chances of rectal strictures, foreign bodies, tumors, or any other abnormality. Your vet may also choose to perform an x-ray to determine the extent of constipation and also find out if any obstruction exists. A blood test may also be done to check if there is any infection or dehydration issues. In severe cases, an ultrasound may be performed to identify the cause of the constipation.

Constipation Treatment

Many constipation cases in dogs are easy to treat. If your dog is straining to defecate, it is important that you are sure he has not had a diarrhea episode. Many a times, the urgency to defecate happens after diarrhea. If your dog is actually having diarrhea without your notice yet you believe he is constipating, trying out home remedies will only make the situation worse.  Your vet should determine if your dog is constipating, what caused it, and the best method to control it.

Your vet may need the following information for a proper diagnosis and treatment:

  • The last time your pet had a normal bowel movement
  • Changes in diet
  • Color and consistency of the stool
  • Nonfood items your dog may have ingested
  • Drugs he is using
  • Any injuries

The exam may consist of:

  • Rectal exam
  • Abdominal palpation
  • Barium enema
  • Radiographs of the area around the abdomen
  • Ultrasound
  • Full blood count
  • Urinalysis
  • Neurological exam

Most dog constipation cases can be resolved with mild treatment. The initial treatment may include exercise, hydration, and an increase in dietary fiber in the diet. Enemas and laxative suppositories may be helpful. However, use this only with the prescription of your vet. In severe cases, your vet may choose to undertake the following:

  • Manual removal of feces
  • Use drugs that activate the functioning of the colon
  • Surgery: Sections of the colon may need to be removed to control the constipation

Be sure to maintain a regular schedule of exercise to help your dog avoid constipation. Physical activities encourage sufficient blood flow in the colon for proper functioning. Constipated dogs should also be given enough amounts of fiber. If your dog experiences frequent constipation episodes, consider adding more canned food to his diet to increase the amount of moisture in food.

What Happens when Constipation goes Untreated?

Not relieving the constipation can lead to the inability to empty the colon on its own. This causes the colon to have an overload of feces, which can then lead to lethargy, unproductive straining, vomiting, or loss of appetite.

For many dogs, constipation is an infrequent occurrence that clears within a short time, often not requiring any medical interventions. It is one of the most common digestive issues among animals and affects dogs of all breeds and ages. While it is a common problem, it should not be ignored. Prevent the occurrence by feeding your dog a balanced diet, ensure frequent hydration, and regular exercise.

Dog Mast Cell Tumor: Diagnosis and Treatment

2 vets examining a white dog

Mast cell tumor (MCT) is a type of blood cell cancer. These cells reside in the connective tissue, especially in the nerves and vessels closest to the external surfaces, including the lungs, mouth, nose, and skin. The primary function of mast cells is to defend the body against parasitic infestations and also promote the formation of new blood vessels.

How common is Mast Cell Tumor in Dogs?

MCT is the most common skin cancer in dogs and can also affect other areas of the body, including the liver, bone marrow, spleen, and gastrointestinal tract. Retriever breeds and the flat-faced dog breeds (brachycephalic) are the most predisposed to this type of cancer, including Boxers, Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boston Terriers.

These tumors are graded in terms of the presence of inflammation, the location, and how well they are differentiated. When they form on the skin, they vary in appearance and can appear as bumps on or under the skin, swollen, red, or ulcerated.

Mast cells have granules containing substances which can be released into the bloodstream leading to systemic problems such as bleeding, stomach ulceration, and redness. This can also result in life-threatening conditions, including a dangerous drop in blood pressure. The biological behavior of these tumors can also vary. Some of them can remain in the skin for months without changing in size, while others can form and begin to grow big within a short time.

Dog at the vet
Veterinarian with dog in examination room

Signs and Symptoms of Mast Cell Tumors

These tumors do not have any characteristic form. They can appear as big, small, soft, raised, flat, or firm. They can also be present on any part of the body, especially the legs, head, chest, and abdomen. One of the most interesting features of these tumors is how fast they change in size. Should you notice a new lump on your dog, report to your vet immediately. Some of the symptoms of these tumors include:

  • Rapid growth of lumps
  • The tumor may appear to fluctuate
  • The lumps may resemble an insect bite or an allergic reaction
  • It can appear on or under the skin for days or months
  • Single skin mass or multiple masses in the body
  • The lymph nodes could be enlarged around the area of the lump
  • The masses could be itchy or inflamed
  • Enlarged spleen and liver as a sign of widespread cancer
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

These symptoms are also characterized by the stage of cancer in the following manner:

  • Stage 1 contains a single tumor that does not contain metastasis
  • Stage 2 has a single tumor containing metastasis in the surrounding nodes
  • Stage 3 has multiple tumors
  • Stage 4 has a tumor containing metastasis to one organ. It may also be characterized by a widespread mast cell in the blood

The causes of mast cell tumor are unknown.

Diagnosis

In the initial evaluation of your dog, the vet will need the full history of your pet, including his health and the history of the symptoms. Whether your dog has given up any food or drinks. The history given will lead your vet in identifying the organs likely to have been affected by cancer.

A biopsy of the suspicions mass may be taken for definitive identification of the grade of the cells, followed by other diagnostics to determine the extent of the tumor. The vet may also examine a sample from the lymph node, the bone marrow, the spleen, or the kidney. Ultrasound images and an X-ray of the abdomen and the chest may also be done to determine the location and the stage of the tumor. Urine sampling and a complete blood count may also be required. The most preliminary test will include an examination of the cells from the tumor.

Skinny dog lying under the sun

Prognosis and Treatment

The biopsy taken should determine the right therapy, such as chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. The grade, completeness of the surgical margins, and the stage of the cancer are the most important factors needed for decision making. Low-grade tumors have low spreading chances, while high-grade tumors can be aggressive with very high metastasis incidences.

Most mast cell tumors are treated through surgical excision. This is especially effective in low-grade cases. If after the surgery, the histopathology report shows that the surgical margins are not clean, radiation therapy may be conducted.  Low-grade cases that are removed completely with adequate margins do not require additional therapy. However, dogs that present high-grade cancer or those with a clear spread of the tumors to the lymph nodes require systemic therapy and could also need extra treatment, also known as multi-modality therapy. Other strong drugs can be used for MCT, including steroids, RTK-inhibitors, or traditional chemotherapy.

If your dog is found to have MCT, he may be kept under supportive medication during the course of treatment. These may include a steroid and prednisone that may kill cancerous mast cells, antacids, and antihistamines. Although prednisone is a drug that works against the cancer cells, it can lead to certain side effects such as increased urination, thirst, appetite, panting, vomiting, and nausea. You may even find traces of blood in his urination. It can also cause bleeding and gastrointestinal irritation. You will find blood in its diarrhea and vomit. Antacids may be prescribed along this drug to prevent or lessen some of the side effects.

Dogs that have had a mast cell tumor before are at a higher risk of developing additional tumors. Detecting these cancer tumors early when they are still small can increase the chances of successful treatment. Tumors that spread quickly and those that form in other parts of the body apart from the skin tend to have a poor prognosis. The treatment of choice is to surgically remove these tumors and the surrounding tissue.

The Management

Your vet may choose to microscopically evaluate new masses and the lymph nodes regularly to aid in detecting the masses early before they graduate to grade 2, 3, and 4. The vet may also require regular full blood count when your dog is undergoing chemotherapy. Because your dog will be exposed to poor immunity, it is important that you boost it with a proper diet and protect him from communicable diseases during his treatment period.

For many pets, including dogs, cancer is an unfortunate reality. Fortunately, veterinary oncology today, is armed with advanced measures of treating the condition. The key to fighting cancer is early detection, diagnosis, and the start of treatment.

What You Should Do If Your Dog is Sneezing?

dog with its eyes closed, about to sneeze

Sneezing in dogs is common and normal. But what does it mean? Well, when it comes to sneezing in dogs, it is not always to mean that they are suffering from a cold like in the case of humans. It could be a result of many things, from minor reactions to dust, to more serious health cases. It all depends on the color of the discharge, and how often your dog sneezes.

Why Dogs Sneeze

There are multiple reasons dogs sneeze. In many instances, it can be a reaction to an irritant in the upper airways of the nose. These could include perfume, dust, and pollen, among others. It could also be a result of something stuck in the nose, such as dirt or leaves caught while digging. If you find your pet sneezing a lot, it could be a result of a change in the atmosphere. It is important that you watch what is sprayed in the presence of your pet. The good thing is; sneezing allows your dog to expel irritants. However, if he keeps pawing at the nose or is bleeding, check with your vet. This could be a sign of an object stuck up its nose that needs to be removed.

Why do Dogs Sneeze while Playing?

When your dog is excited about something or playing, you may notice frequent episodes of sneezing. This is what is referred to as “play sneezing” and is very normal. When he sneezes as he plays, it is a sign that he is having fun and is common among the smaller breeds, although other older dogs do it too. If you are playing together and he begins to sneeze, do not panic. Dogs use their bodies to communicate, and sneezes are a tool for diffusing stress and inform the playmate to continue playing. However, if he sneezes uncontrollably and you notice traces of blood, rush him to the vet clinic.

2 dogs playing with a stick in the water

The Canine Reverse Sneeze

If your dog makes a repeated choking noise suddenly, this could shock you. It is, however, a reverse sneeze that occurs when your dog inhales loudly through the nose in spasms that sound like a gasp. It is believed to be a response to irritation and could help your pet to get rid of foreign bodies and irritants. These sneezes may be harmless, but if your dog seems to be in discomfort or can’t stop sneezing, you could help the situation by massaging his throat gently. Also, try to blow in his face to trigger the swallowing reflex. For this type of sneezing, your pet may not require any medication, but some antihistamines may be prescribed in case the sneezing is triggered by allergies.

Common Causes of Sneezing in Dogs

Medically, a sneeze means expelling air forcibly from the nose and the mouth in an explosive action. There are common reasons your dog might sneeze, and these include:

1. Foreign Bodies

These are items that should not be in your pet’s nose. For instance, if your pet likes to dig or sniff around, some soil, leaves, or grass could wind up in his nose. Your pet will then sneeze to expel it naturally. Signs of foreign bodies include pawing at the nose, nosebleeds and sneezing. The breathing of your pet might also be noisier than normal, and a visible bulge on the nose may be noticeable. Read about how to deal with issues pertaining to your dog at this link https://www.wellpet.org/dog-not-eating-drinking/

2. Infections

Many times, viral and bacterial infections in pets’ upper respiratory tract lead to coughing. However, an infection caused by Aspergillus fungus leads to sneezing. These infections are believed to develop from getting into contact with the fungus through the sinus and the nose. It is an action that occurs when pets are exposed to dust and grass clippings outdoors. Infections can lead to pain when sneezing and may cause bleeding or discharge from the nose.

3. Tumors

These are common in dogs, especially those with longer noses. Tobacco smoke has been linked to nasal cancer in pets. Many tumors are known to spread and can destroy the structure of the nose. Sneezing can signify nasal tumor in dogs. Unfortunately, dogs with nasal cancer tend to have a poor prognosis.

4. Mites

These are microscopic bugs that can reside in your pet’s nose and sinuses. They can cause severe itching in the nose and may lead to nosebleeds and chronic discharge. If your dog has the habit of digging in the ground with his face, he could suffer from a nasal mite infection.

5. Allergies

Although allergic rhinitis is not common in dogs, it does occur. Pets are susceptible to allergies that affect the nasal passage.

Dog digging under the fence

Home Remedies for Sneezing Dogs

If your dog is constantly sneezing and snorting at different patterns, see your veterinarian. Here are several home remedies to apply before getting to the clinic:

1. Take his temperature: If the fever is above 101-102 degrees, rush him to the vet immediately

2. Confine him: Lock your pet in a small room to monitor his behavior

3. Calm him down: Avoid taking your pet on long walks or engaging him in exercises until you get to the clinic

If you notice other weird behaviors such as poor appetite, difficulty breathing, pain, or an awkward behavior, check with your vet immediately. Also, if you notice nasal discharge, coughing, or blood, let your vet know. These could be signs of a more serious condition that requires medical urgency. Click here to find out how to deal with other symptoms your dog has.

Upon visiting your vet, the following are things that might be done:

  • History: Your vet may ask a few questions about the history of the problem. He may need to know when the sneezing started and recent changes in the behavior of your pet.
  • Physical examination: Because many possibilities can be presented by sneezes, the pet may be examined to rule out severe medical cases.
  • Lab test: A full blood count may be done to identify specific diseases and infections
  • Visual examination under anesthesia: A rigid or flexible scope may be used to visualize the nasal tissues. Tissue samples may be taken for microscopic evaluation.

A dog’s nose is a powerful sensory organ, and the passages are better developed than those of humans. Ordinarily, sneezes in dogs are ephemeral, even funny phenomenon. If your pet is sneezing constantly followed by a fever, swelling or fluid discharge or if there is blood in urine, consult your vet.

The Best Way To Care For Your Dog While Saving Money

Due to the high cost of dog care and the economy at the moment, there is a need to explore ways in which you can take care of your dog without having to spend more than you can afford. Reducing pet care costs does not mean that you are lowering the quality of life of your valuable pet.

There are many aspects of caring for your dog, such as basic things like nutritious food, dog supplies, feeding bowls, health care, grooming and more. Yes, many owners will certify that having a dog is quite expensive, but if you make the right decisions about how you care for your dog, you will be able to take care of your dog effectively because you reduce the cost of caring for it.

Dog food

We all want our animal to be as strong and healthy as possible, so feeding it nutritious food that it likes is the first concern. Good nutrition means good health, and good health means less travel to the vet.

Your dog gets only his nutrition from one type of food, so in buying food for him, look at the label and take into account that the first ingredients are listed meat, fish, or poultry.

Take care of your dog by avoiding foods that have fillers because it has fewer nutrients and as a result, you have to buy more food for your pet, which means more money to spend. The alternative is for you to do homemade dog food, there are many recipes on the internet that you only need to watch carefully.

Dog food

When you buy basic items for dogs, such as collars and leashes, you buy those that can last for years. For example, leather lanyards are more durable than cottages, but they may be more expensive at first, but in the long run, it gives you a lot of value for your money.

If you have kids you don’t use anymore, you can tear them apart and cut them into small pieces to fit your dog bed. Even if you don’t have the enthusiasm to sew, you can sew them yourself, because they don’t have to be perfect, and then keep the rest of the comfort for later use.

If you can’t sew or don’t have a comforter, you can use old shirts and comfortable towels, and if you really need to buy, choose a dog bed that’s easy to dismantle and wash. The most important thing is that you don’t have to buy expensive beds, because your dog only needs a soft place to lie down.

Buy your dog high-quality toys that will last for a long time or toys that can store a treat. A treat will only come out after your dog has done something, the puzzles stimulate his mind.

You don’t need a lot of toys 4 or 5 will do, just rotate them every week to protect him from boredom with the toy. In fact, when you put it back into the toy, he is unable to distinguish himself from other toys and he will think it is a new toy.

Take care of your dog using feeders and dog bowls that are easy to clean, do not crack and are fat-free. He shouldn’t easily tip over to keep your dog hydrated at all times.

Health

You can learn to vaccinate your pet at home to keep your dog up to date on vaccination. There are veterinarians who are ready to give you the necessary knowledge about how to vaccinate your dog. If your dog is not eating or drinking, seek treatment quickly.

Immediately use the flea or tick management system because if flea or tick infections are not cured, this will lead to Lyme disease. In order to prevent internal parasites, such as roundworms and hookworms, you should also receive regular treatment.

Playing with your pet is a great way for your pet to exercise. You can teach him tricks to keep him mentally and physically stimulated at all times. Mental and physical stimulation is important for all dogs.

Your dog, who can mask the disease very well, so make an appointment every year to see your vet so that diseases can be treated before it’s too late and they don’t have control over them. This is especially so if your dog is pooping or peeing blood. Then, when medicines for pets are prescribed, buy generic medicines and if possible, buy online from reputable retailers, because most of the time they cost less.

Care

Care for your pet every day to prevent dryness and tarnishing of the skin. Make sure you try to learn how to groom your dog so that you can keep costs down.

For example, you can take care of your dog, who does not have to pay others for bathing or brushing his hair to prevent excess hair from accumulating, leading to excessive hair loss. Nail trimming for dogs is a painful process because their paws are sensitive, but you can even try to learn how to trim your nails properly.