The potential for constipation, difficulty defecating, increases as canines age. The digestive and elimination systems slow down and become less efficient with age, so older dogs tend to have more frequent problems with voiding and defecating.
The first signs of dog constipation may include reduced activity, eating less or avoiding food and whining for no apparent reason. Failure to expel waste is uncomfortable and moving around compounds the discomfort; your canine may not engage in playtime or perk up for the morning walk in an effort to move less.
Other symptoms to watch for include:
- Straining to produce a bowel movement without eliminating a stool. You may notice a small amount of watery liquid during these efforts. This mucus discharge from the anus may resemble diarrhea.
- Producing dry, chalky clumps of fecal matter.
- Redness, swelling or tenderness in and around the anal area.
- Abdominal tenderness and/or bloating.
- An abnormal gait. Your pet may appear to be “walking on tiptoes” with an arched back and stiff back legs. Some pet owners report their pets “shuffle” instead of walking with a normal stride.
More Serious Concerns Normal elimination is a sign that your canine is healthy. If you notice changes in your pet’s stool that include changes in color, excessive mucus or blood, contact your vet immediately to rule out serious health conditions and digestive tract disorders.
Treatment Encourage your pet to drink plenty of water, especially during warmer weather to avoid dehydration. Mineral oil added to food works as a stool softener; making elimination more productive and less painful. Follow directions to administer the proper dosage based on your pet’s age, weight and normal activity level.
Adding more fiber to your dog’s diet and increasing daily exercise will help regulate your pet’s elimination. It is normal for your dog to have occasional irregularity; however, if symptoms persist consult with your veterinarian.