Easy Constipation Relief for a Dog Eating a Raw Dog Food Diet
Will My Dog Get Constipated on a Homemade Raw Food Diet?
If your dog is one 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.
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.
Vegetable Mixture to Prevent Constipation
• 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 okay but do not buy pumpkin pie mixture that includes spices that may upset your dog´s bowels or be dangerous.
• About one cup of water, or use coconut water to provide addittional 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 in to your vet for an enema. This is obviously a last step, 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.
If Your Dog Has Been Constipated, How Have You Treated Him?
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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.
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© 2014 Dr Mark