Treating canine constipation

Simple Canine Constipation Remedies

By isak, September 19, 2014

Having recently been through this, I researched remedies for canine constipation and here’s what I found (in no particular order). Select ONE remedy to try. The combination of remedies can cause things to go the other way and create severe diarrhea which could result in dehydration.

If the problem continues for more than a few days, if there’s blood in the stool, your dog is vomiting or he becomes listless, this constipation problem could point to serious health issues. In these cases, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

1. Canned Food

If you have ever added water to your dog’s dry food, you will notice that it swells like a sponge. Dry food has this same effect in a dog’s stomach, sometimes absorbing liquid that might be useful for maintaining a normal bowel movement. If your dog only ever gets dry food, try feeding them canned food for two days. The moisture content in the canned food can help help the dog produce a bowel movement, usually within 12 hours.

2. Fiber

There are several easy ways to add more fiber to your dog’s diet. You probably have some in your home right now. These ways include canned/pureed pumpkin* (1 teaspoon per 10 pounds/body weight); ground/chopped dark green leafy vegetables (1 teaspoon per 10 pounds/ body weight); Coconut fiber/oil (1 teaspoon per 10 pounds/body weight); and psyllium powder (1/2 teaspoon per 10 pounds/body weight); Metamucil (1/2 teaspoon of Metamucil for small dogs and 2 teaspoons for large dogs into their dog food with plenty of water twice a day); oat bran (For small dogs, mix 1/2 teaspoon with their food; for larger dogs use 2 teaspoons).

*Do not use pumpkin pie filling, as it contains sugars and spices. You want to use canned pure pumpkin.

3. Milk

The lactose in milk is known to cause diarrhea in dogs, so it goes that drinking milk while constipated could help. Offer your dog 1/4 – 1/2 cup of milk.

4. Olive Oil or Mineral Oil

Mineral oil can be an effective short-term treatment, but should be used cautiously because, over time, it can deplete Vitamin A. Do not use it for more than one week. Use one teaspoon of mineral oil per ten pounds of your dog’s body weight.

Olive oil is beneficial for the general health, digestive system and coat of your pet. The recommended daily intake is 1 tablespoon of olive oil for dogs up to 50 lbs. For smaller dogs, use 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight.

Do not administer oil directly into your dog’s mouth as inhaling any of the oil can cause them to develop aspiration pneumonia, a serious lung infection.

5. Ginger and Chicken Broth

Mixing ¼ teaspoon ginger with ½ cup of chicken (or beef) broth and offering it to your pup is another home cure. Ginger is known to aid in digestive health, assist in a more effective bowel movement and reduce muscle spasms that can worsen this condition. The fats in the broth also help move things along.

Or serve warm chicken based broth and add 1/2 teaspoon of a psyllium-based laxative for small dogs, or 2 teaspoons for larger dogs.

8. Green Beans

It seems that dogs either like them or they don’t. If your dog doesn’t like them in their food bowl, try offering the green beans as a treat. Sometimes that works.

9. Lots of exercise and clean, fresh water

Make sure your dog has plenty of fresh, clean water to drink as moisture is necessary to counter constipation. Combined with regular exercise, this will get the digestive system moving and move the stool through the colon.

10. Digestive enzymes and probiotics

This can be preventative for diarrhea as well as constipation, as they help with maldigestion. Though there are several ways to administer this, the easiest I have found is to sprinkle powdered Acidophilus on your dog’s food on a regular basis. This is what I use.

A Warning About Laxatives!

Do not give human laxatives to your dog. According to the Merck Manual, it can be very dangerous for animals. There are veterinary laxatives available by prescription that are formulated and safe for dogs.

Watching the signs

Signs of canine constipation include straining to defecate and the passage of small or very dry feces. If your dog has not defecated at all and is showing signs of severe constipation such as abdominal pain, lethargy or loss of appetite, veterinary attention may be required as your dog may have an intestinal blockage. Sometimes this can be from something he ate, like a sock or a sponge or some other object that can be causing a partial or complete blockage. This can be very serious.

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  1. Betty DiMenna says:

    Do you put the olive oil in every meal or just once. My dog udually eats dry food but dince she became constipated I’ve started feeding her twice moist food per day

    • isak says:

      The recommended daily intake is 1 tablespoon of olive oil for dogs up to 50 lbs. For smaller dogs, use 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight. If you are feeding your dog twice a day, the amount you add to her food would be cut in half. So if you have a 50 lb dog and you are feeding her twice a day, add 1/2 tablespoon to each meal.

      Also try plain canned pumpkin. The fiber in it helps with both constipation and diarrhea. It’s like the great gut equalizer.

  2. Regina Holibaugh says:

    My 35 pound dog hasn’t. Pooped in a day. So I gave her olive oil once today how long should I wait to give her more and or how long will it take before she poops?

    • isak says:

      It depends on how backed up she is. It could take a day or it could even take as little as a half day. Is she drinking water? That also helps. You can add some fiber to her food — green beans, plain canned pumpkin, metamusil.

  3. Susan Peacock says:

    My dog has not pooped today, she has been on antibiotics for a couple of weeks to treat a skin condition, could this be why, I gave her some olive oil on some food about 6hours ago and she hasn’t gone yet, can I give her some green beans or milk today. Thanks

    • isak says:

      Green beans or even 1-2 tablespoons of plain canned pumpkin on her food. The fiber in either should stimulate a bowel movement. Pumpkin actually works for constipation AND diarrhea, believe it or not. Is she drinking water normally? If not, that can cause constipation. I think if the antibiotics were going to do it, they would have done it before now, but it’s not completely out of the question.

  4. Rebecca says:

    I have an elderly pit bull, he has not defecated in a few days. He is drinking water and urinating fine. he is moving around and when he tries to defecate all that comes out is some droplets. Should I feed him some plain yogurt or some canned pumpkin? My son loves this dog to bits, we’ve had him for over 10 years, and would be heartbroken if something should happen to him.

    • isak says:

      Yes, try the canned pumpkin and the plain yogurt. It could be that he has eaten something that is blocking him from defecating. Is he eating normally? Sometimes when they are constipated, they may stop eating because they are full.

  5. Jenipet says:

    Our dog is suffering from constipation. There is a piece stuck and she’s trying to pass out but cannot. Now it’s stuck what do I do. Please advice

    • isak says:

      A piece of what is stuck? Is she drinking plenty of water? If she is eating, you can try some plain canned pumpkin. It generally helps for constipation as well as diarrhea. But you didn’t mention what was stuck.

  6. Marjorie Payne says:

    Do I cook the green beans or give it to her uncook

    • isak says:

      Generally cooked because many people use canned green beans. But if she will eat them uncooked, that will work, too. Also try plain canned pumpkin — it works for both constipation and diarrhea. Because of its fiber content, it tends to balance things out.

  7. pam says:

    This is all great information!
    My dogs get whole food (beef heats, or ground turkey or beef, chicken quarters. I then put in a blender green beans with H2O or green/ Graviola tea. You can add eggs that are hard boiled with the shell but that causes gas, so I don’t anymore.

    They eat 1 x a day – (fresh snacks 2 x’s/day) and 1 day a week they get a raw meaty bone only with the snacks again 2 x’s day.

    These are the healthiest dogs I have ever raised!
    I follow Dr. Lonsdale –

    To the lady with the tumors – use Chaparral daily –
    or call Pure Earth at: 424-394-1794.

  8. Jackie Kovacsik says:

    Wonderful advice. Thank you. My dog had surgery 2 days ago and has not have a bm. I will try the olive oil. I was going to give him some butter but decided to do some research first. Glad I did

  9. Veronica says:

    Veronica :
    I have a shitzhut and he is 6 months .. he is constipated I gave him milk 10 hours ago … he haven’t do poo yet . He east a little bit but he doesn’t want to drink water .. what should I do ??

    • isak says:

      You could give him some plain canned pumpkin or even some green beans. It will add some fiber to his stomach and should even things out. Given his young age, could he have dated something he shouldn’t have? If so, it could be slowing his system down. One of my dogs swallowed a sock whole. He became constipated, eventually did not want to eat and began to lose weight. It took the sock a couple weeks to pass. So you want to keep an eye on your baby. If the pumpkin or green beans don’t work, you might add some cooking oil to a piece of bread and feed him that. Good luck.

  10. Christine says:

    My little toy poodle has a large mass surrounding bladder, urethra and is constipated as a result. I have spent $3,000 on vet bills, ct scan, blood urine and biopsy work. Waiting to hear back on the results of the biopsy.

    She is on stool softener. I have put her on a vegetable diet, purée . Also, probiotics. She was hit by a car 5 years ago and surgery cost was $8,000. I have no pet insurance and I want to keep her alive by shrinking this tumor. Can’t afford to be taking her to the vet, highway robbery.
    Does anyone have any suggestions !?

    I have been looking online for ways to shrink the tumor. Best one I found so far is baking soda.

    Please help, I love my dog and will do anything for her.

    • isak says:

      Boy, she is quite a trooper. What has the vet said about the tumor? Can it be removed? Maybe the vet is waiting for results, then can prescribe something to help or suggest a path to take. Please keep us posted with her results. Maybe then someone can best offer suggestions.

  11. judy says:

    My dog got into some cheese, thus she is constipated. We have been walking her to see if that would help. She is drinking water ok. She has passed some stool but it’s very runny. What else do I do?

    • isak says:

      You can add some plain (no spices) canned pumpkin to her food. It helps with both constipation and diarrhea by adding fiber back into her gut.

  12. Kate says:

    My dog is constipated and I gave her a few licks of milk and she went a little bit . She hasn’t gone for an hour so I gave her a little more and she’s still not going and I gave it a while ago. What should I do?

  13. louise says:

    Both of my dogs are constipated. I changed their food recently because my brother stopped sending me the Good Kind for a about a month and for the last 3 days they havent really had a bowel movement and the pee is not a continuous flow….i took them to the vet thinking it was something else and he prescribed dexamethasone injection for my 8 month yr old American Bully because he had a puss bouble on his neck that burst. He took his temp and everything….how’d he miss constipation. For my 3 year old shih tzu he prescribed doxycycline because he said he had a throat infection and for his joints. I thought it might be lyme disease because my grass was so high at one point and they were out there all the time. I saw ticks and fleas on both of them.

    • isak says:

      See if your dogs will eat some green beans. That can relieve constipation. Also plain canned pumpkin — not the kind with spices, just plain pumpkin. Also be sure they have plenty of water.

      If you are feeding them dry food, add some water to their dry food and let it sit for a few minutes before you feed them. Dry food absorbs liquid during digestion and constipation can be a result of not enough liquid in their digestive tract to make regular stools. It can be a simple imbalance.

      As for the ticks and fleas… there are a couple options. One is the topical flea/tick medication sold at vets’ offices, feed stores, and pet supply stores. Another option is to “dust” your dogs — and even your yard — with diatomaceous earth. It’s a cheap and effective alternative. To dust your pet, put some diatomaceous earth in an old sock and rub/tap the sock over their body. This stuff is powdery, so you don’t want yourself or your dogs to breathe in the dust.

      Tall grass can produce mold spores and hide insects that get in a dog’s mouth, nose and throat, and on their coat as they walk through it. So of course, it’s best to keep the grass short. Short grass also lets the sun bake out some issues. However, I certainly understand that sometimes it’s not always possible.

      Good luck!

  14. Gina says:

    I’ve always used canned pumpkin, it also works if your dog has loose stool. Works with cats too. My dog has been passing horrible smelly gas, I’m wondering if she is constipated. I’m going to give her pumpkin and if it doesn’t work, I’m going to try so something else that is listed here. Thank you

  15. Debbie says:

    It’s 4:58 am,still dark and I’ve spent the last hour walking my dog around the back yard. She has passed small hard stools yesterday but nothing much at all really! So i have been reading all your helpful tips and will now try olive oil in her breakfast and see if that helps.
    I have some pumpkin in the fridge that i shall cook up also in a couple of days if Olive oil doesnt work.
    This is wonderful information thank you.

    • isak says:

      You can use the plain pumpkin straight out of the can. No need to cook it. Also green beans can help. One of the main causes of constipation is insufficient water. Is she drinking water?

      Good luck and let us know how things work out.

  16. una says:

    How often and how long do I feed my boy the canned pumpkin or,same question if i choose the olive oil method. He is 3 years old.

    • isak says:

      These are remedies, so you would do them for maybe a day or two after you get the result you want. If constipation is a recurring issue,then you need to look at his diet as it might indicate that he isnot be getting something that he needs to stay regular. It may be enough that you sprinkle some acidophyllus (available in capsule form where vitamins are sold) over his food daily or it may be that he needs a change in his food.

  17. anushka says:

    my dog also what should i do he passes very little and ten finnally cant what should i do pls help!!!

  18. Tonq says:


  19. Judith Tiedemann says:

    My dog has bladder stones, and because I have to limit what I feed her, she occasionally has a bit more difficulty defecating. I give her organic canned pumpkin, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and whatever veggies she begs for off of my plate, with the exception of the leafy dark greens and carrots. She gets a vitamin/mineral supplement for canines, and If she still has a hard time pooping, we both LOVE organic butternut squash. That almost always does the trick. Oh, and I forgot. She gets broth I make from boiled gizzards, and olive oil or coconut oil. I prefer the olive oil, as the coconut oil gets hard when I store the broth in the fridge. Anal glands that need to be emptied also contribute to the problem of constipation…All of this is a lot of extra work, but I love my dog, and I feel that in the long run, it will be less costly than constant vet visits, and surgeries. BTW, the diet I make for her, combined with a Green supplement and Chinese Herbs for dissolution of stones, have dissolved half of the stones in her bladder, without surgery! Finding a Vet who has an open mind about natural remedies is necessary, or your pet may end up on a protocol that is very expensive, involves surgery and may or may not get your dog back to health. I found such a Vet and between the two of us, we have restored my dog back to a happy, mostly healthy dog….

    • isak says:

      What a great caregiver you are and how lucky your girl is! This is certainly GREAT info! I’m interested in hearing more about the broth (can you buy just gizzards?), the Green supplement and what Chinese Herbs you are using. I have recently had a problem with a couple cats which I am attributing to their diet (now changed) and am looking at further changes to keep everyone on the right track.
      Thanks for sharing your regiment. You really are quite lucky to have found the vet you did!

  20. normalmalay says:


  21. Regina says:

    Thank you. I would have normally forced fed the olive oil, but now I know that I have to be more patient and sneak it in the food.
    Can fresh tropical pumpkin be used?

    • isak says:

      Hmmm, I don’t know about fresh tropical pumpkin. I have always used plain canned pumpkin because it’s what I have, but if it’s cooked, I would imagine it would be okay.

What do you think?

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