Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.
Does My Dog Have an Intestinal Blockage?
"I read this on your website from an article about blockage. My dog started this 'trying to poop' overnight and it has continued now for about 12 hours. His symptoms match this description.
Many times dogs who appear to have constipation are in realty having diarrhea with tenesmus (dog feels the urge to have a bout of diarrhea, but nothing comes out or just a few droplets make their way out), rectal pain as it may happen with anal gland problems or they are truly dealing with a blockage.
Is there something I can do to help? He has a history of anal gland problems." —Lyn
Signs of Bowel Obstruction in Dogs
If you think that your dog is blocked, the best way you can help is to take him to your regular vet. If he has the signs listed in that article (vomiting, not eating, abdominal pain, etc.), then something is wrong that may kill your dog.
Take him to the vet for an examination as soon as possible. If you wait, and he continues to vomit, his body's normal chemistry may be so upset that he will die even with medical care.
Constipation vs. Intestinal Blockage
Is your dog just straining and not showing any of the other symptoms listed in that article? If he is just straining to defecate but not vomiting, it may be an anal gland problem again that has led to constipation.
High-Fiber Diets for Constipation in Dogs
If it is constipation, he will need to be switched to a high-fiber diet and may need anti-inflammatories and antibiotics to treat an infected gland.
If you cannot take him to your vet immediately, you can start him on a high fiber for the constipation problem but again, if he is vomiting, this will not help. The fiber source most likely to help a dog with constipation is pumpkin.
Pumpkin and Liver Mix
The normal volume of pumpkin to give is about a tablespoon per 10 pounds. If you want to use canned pumpkin, make sure it is plain pumpkin and not the pumpkin pie mix. (Pumpkin pie mix contains added spices that can hurt your dog.)
Some dogs will not eat pure pumpkin, so I like to add some raw liver and mix it in a blender. There are many alternative treatments to avoid constipation.
If the constipation is secondary to swollen and painful anal glands, they need to be taken care of or the constipation will happen again. The normal treatment for anal glands is to express them and then treat them with an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory to decrease swelling.
Again, take him to the vet as soon as possible.
This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2022 Mark dos Anjos DVM