Constipation and straining can have many different causes but some of the more usual reasons for it are:-
* Change of diet or normal toileting routine
* Obesity or general lack of exercise
* Spinal, joint or mobility problems making a squatting position painful
* Impacted dry faeces
* Impacted bony material
* High percentage bone -v- meat in the diet
* Anal gland irritation, impaction or swelling
* Enlarged prostate glands in male dogs (see earlier blog)
* Perineal hernia
The dog may attempt to strain over and over which is exhausting if it continues for too long. If the constipation is due to impacted bony material, he may yelp out as he tries to pass the hard poo. The stomach may feel hard or uncomfortable to the touch and the dog may tense his muscles to guard against your touch. The discomfort may lead to the dog pacing and an inability to settle comfortably in one place. He may also begin to pant and appear anxious.
If the constipation continues for quite a length of time, it can cause the dog to be extremely miserible, depressed and often lethargic too. If left for a long time, constipation can also cause toxaemia and other symptoms such as vomiting.
1.) Try adding several tablespoons of liquid paraffin to the food daily, which may help to relieve the discomfort when passing the stools.
2.) Try adding bran to the food (1-2 heaped tablespoons daily). Increasing the roughage in the diet should (hopefully) produce a softer stool which is easier for the dog to excrete.
3.) If you are trying a new raw diet, it might be that the percentage of bone in the diet is too high. If you are feeding a ready-made raw diet, you may wish to try a different brand. If you are feeding a raw diet that you are making up at home, then simply adjusting the ratios of raw meat to bone will help. (Another sign that the bone quantity is too high is very crumbly, dry, white stools).
4.) If neither of these work, then your veterinary practice may be able to advise on other products which can be used in an effort to promote bowel function and a more normal stool.