How Constipation Affects Dogs
One of the most common signs seen by owners of a constipated dog is frequent forceful attempts at defecation, with little or no results. Symptoms of constipation can include one or more of the following:
- Nonproductive straining to defecate (tenesmus)
- Small, hard, dry fecal material
- Discharge of a small amount of liquid or mucus from the anus after repeated attempts to defecate
- Painful defecation
- Redness and swelling around the anal area
- Soreness around the anal area
- Lack of appetite (inappetance; anorexia)
- Weight loss
- Abdominal bloating and discomfort
- Intermittent vomiting
While mild constipation usually resolves itself, severe constipation can be a medical emergency and should be treated immediately.
Dogs At Increased Risk
Middle-aged and older dogs tend to be prone to constipation, as normal bowel activity decreases with age. Dogs that do not drink enough water also tend to become constipated, as dehydration is a common cause of this condition.