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Easy Constipation Relief for a Dog Eating a Raw Dog Food Diet

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

This article will provide a simple and easy raw food formula solution to help cure your dog's constipation, as well as provide additional tips and guidance to help promote healthy bowel movements.

This article will provide a simple and easy raw food formula solution to help cure your dog's constipation, as well as provide additional tips and guidance to help promote healthy bowel movements.

Will My Dog Get Constipated on a Homemade Raw Food Diet?

If your dog is on a well-balanced raw diet, constipation should never even be a concern. Purchase bones with the meat still attached (like chicken wings, thighs, and necks) and you are unlikely to ever have any problems.

When dogs eat fresh meat and raw bones, most of it is digested and the stool comes out firm and dry; it does not come out loose and slimy like some of the dogs are already used to after surviving most of their lives on commercial dog foods. Because of the change, some dogs tend to strain more than before. This is a good thing. When stools are too loose, the dog has more gastrointestinal problems. We also know that dogs with loose stools are also more likely to suffer from impacted anal glands.

Some dog owners mistake this normal straining for constipation. If the stool is too firm, however, and if the dog is straining and is only able to produce a small stool after a long time, he really is constipated. (If the dog strains but is never able to produce a stool, he is obstipated, which is a much more serious medical problem.)

Constipation is a terrible cycle. Dogs cannot fully evacuate their bowels because the stool is too dry, and as the stool sits in the colon even longer, it becomes harder and drier. You need to recognize it and treat constipation appropriately.

Constipation in dogs can be caused by many different things.

Constipation in dogs can be caused by many different things.

How to Resolve Constipation in a Dog on a Natural Diet

The easiest way to deal with constipation is by preventing it before it even happens. If the dogs are eating a rich diet, are mildly dehydrated, are never exercised, and are forced to defecate in an area where they do not feel safe, constipation is more likely to happen.

To prevent constipation even before it happens:

  • Feed your dog a pumpkin-based vegetable mixture at least once a week.
  • Make sure that your dog always has a bowl of fresh water available.
  • Exercise your dog every day. I am not talking about a walk around the block. Every dog deserves to get out and run or walk briskly for at least an hour.
  • Always walk your dog in a safe and quiet place to “do his business."

Some dogs are also more likely to have problems because of the way they eat. If your dog “wolfs” down his food and does not chew the bones, he may have some larger pieces in the large intestine. The pumpkin will help prevent constipation in these dogs.

Larger bones stripped of meat are more likely to cause problems.

Larger bones stripped of meat are more likely to cause problems.

Vegetable Mixture for Dogs to Prevent Constipation

Mix all of these ingredients in a blender until everything is finely chopped:

  • About 200 grams (less than half a pound) of raw pumpkin. If you want to give your dog the canned pumpkin, instead of fresh, this is OK—but do not buy pumpkin pie mixture, as that includes spices that may upset your dog's bowels or be dangerous.
  • About 1 cup of water, or use coconut water to provide additional vitamins. If you use milk instead of water, the stool will tend to be even looser. (Try using a mixture so that you can gauge what effect this will have on your dog. You do not want him to have diarrhea).
  • To improve taste, about 100 grams (less than 4 ounces) of raw liver. This will also provide many of the extra vitamins your dog needs.
  • If you want to improve your dog's coat and provide some other vitamins, add a fresh raw egg to this mixture.
  • Since many dogs love the taste of fresh fish oil, this is a good chance to add the omega fatty acid supplement.

What If My Dog Is Still Constipated After Trying Pumpkin?

If the pumpkin/vegetable mixture does not work, you can:

  • Give the dog some mineral oil. You can give 1/2 to 2 teaspoons mixed in the vegetable mixture or with some hamburger (minced meat). Dr. Carlson, in The Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook, recommends 5ml per 20 pounds of body weight, twice daily for no more than 2-3 days. It should be mixed with some food to prevent aspiration, and should never be given for more than a week; if it does not work you need to try other alternatives. If you continue to give this, the dog eventually will not be able to pass a stool without mineral oil.
  • Give some alternative treatments, like ½ to 1 teaspoon of bran in the vegetable mixture if the dog is still straining. Talk to a holistic vet about some of the herbal therapies available for constipation in the area in which you live.
  • Provide even more exercise. With some breeds, a walk is not enough; my Siberian Huskies only defecated after a long run—no, they did not stop!
  • Take your dog to your vet for an enema. This is obviously the last resort, but it can even be done at home if you do not mind the potential mess. Try using a Fleet veterinary enema (about one ounce per 10 pounds of your dog´s body weight) or, if you live somewhere where they are not available, you can also use soapy water.

If none of this is working, and your dog is eating a proper diet and getting plenty of exercise, you should look into other causes of constipation. An older dog may be suffering from hip dysplasia and may find it painful to squat; another may be suffering from a swollen prostate, a rectal tumor, or an intestinal foreign body blockage.

If this problem continues despite your treatment, or your dog has other clinical symptoms associated with his constipation (like a fever, blood in or on the stool, or vomiting) get him into his veterinarian right away.

More About Dogs

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2014 Mark dos Anjos DVM


Kinny on July 01, 2017:

Boiled green Tripe! Makes her evacuate her bowels including all the backlog. Results in long moist logs with minimal to no straining.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on June 05, 2017:

Janet, about 1/4 pound

janet on May 24, 2017:

Hi! I recently changed my 2 dogs to a raw diet of chicken and ground beef. Both dogs are constipated. If I feed them pumpkin from a can how much do I give a 15 pound dog?

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 24, 2014:

Hi Faith, I hope your Chocolate puppy is doing great! Thanks for sharing!!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on February 24, 2014:

Great hub here and your photos are too!

Up and more and sharing.


Faith Reaper

Bob Bamberg on February 24, 2014:

I'm thinking butternut squash, spaghetti squash or acorn squash, all three of which I don't like. Although, with some whipped cream, hot fudge and a cherry, they might not be too bad. Hell, I put whipped cream on my oatmeal! I started that when I made oatmeal then realized we were out of milk. I always added milk and sugar. We weren't out of whipped cream though, so I substituted...makes a great cooling and flavor agent.

I wouldn't let too many people see you chasing toms around to peek at their poop!

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 24, 2014:

Oh, I just saw that I wrote that wrong. Raw egg contains avidin which can block biotin, although I think it is much ado about nothing, and really not significant.

Everyone I know eats raw pumpkin every week. It is an inexpensive vegetable and full of vitamins. I am not sure which of the squash are the same, but I would imagine they would be fine.

J shaped stools? I have quail, guineas, chickens, and geese, but no toms around to ask. I will have to follow a tom around next time I am out at the farm.

Bob Bamberg on February 24, 2014:

LOL, that picture is perfect! What a hoot! If the dog knew what you used her picture for, though, she'd bite you on the ankle and tinkle on your flip flops!

Around here, we only see fresh pumpkin in the fall when they're harvested by the local growers. Most are used for autumn decorations and as Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns We can get canned pumpkin that is not spiced for pies, though. Would some of the squashes work as well?

We're down to two wild turkeys. One we know died...the carcass was visible in the stand of trees behind a neighbor's house. I assume the other is dead, because we've only had two on our deck for several weeks now. I feel sad about that.

The two that come up on the deck cozy up to the slider...I imagine they feel some warmth being radiated through the glass. They're getting more used to us. When we walk around the living room they watch us and are on alert status. If we move to the glass, though, they leave.

I read somewhere...I think it was a post on Bubblews...that toms excrete J-shaped stools. I don't know if it's true or not, but I've seen a couple of lower-case J's on the deck. If they're going to foul (fowl...nyuk, nyuk, nyuk) the deck, they could at least show a little class and learn calligraphy.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 24, 2014:

Hi Bob,

Raw egg can block avidin, but it is a clinically insignificant amount. I think that nutritionist was just trying to sound learned. Even those dogs that live around chicken farms, that eat only raw eggs, are not suffering from this condition.

I buy fresh pumpkin at my human grocery store, so it is unfortunate to hear they charge a surcharge for that at the pet stores. I see what you mean about metric units. I am going to edit this.

I laughed at your comment about the picture! She was not even really constipated, but the facial expression was perfect for this article!!

Thanks for stopping by. I hear wild turkey is another old pioneer constipation cure. Still got any around?

Bob Bamberg on February 24, 2014:

Another good one, Doc. Good to see you back again, by the way. I think you said once that you have to write in two languages to publish a hub, so this request may be unreasonable, but most of us here in the People's Republic, and environs, don't understand ml and other metric units.

A can of pumpkin in the pet supply stores is about a dollar more than a can of human pumpkin at the grocery store, and might be a couple of ounces (or megahertz, or whatever) lighter than it's human counterpart. In areas where dogs are highly valued and given full family-member status, the manufacturers really exploit the owners' willingness to do the best they can for their dogs.

A veterinary nutritionist once told me that raw egg could actually dull the coat because of an enzyme in the raw whites that destroys biotin. Did I get that wrong? I've been sharing that tidbit for several years. D'Oh.

If the dog in the first picture is still with us, please give him some extra cow lips for us. A lot of us feel his pain from time to time :)

Ed Palumbo from Tualatin, OR on February 24, 2014:

Thank you for this information. I have two dogs, and their diet and health are always a concern.