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Pet Constipation & What You Should Know

Just like humans, our pets have complex digestive systems. And when something is wrong inside their gut, it can result in painful constipation. It could be caused by their diet, such as a lack of fiber. Or it could be brought on by stress. There’s even the possibility of an obstruction in the digestive system.

Diagnosing the problems of our furry friends can be difficult, because even if we talk to our pets, they don’t communicate back. So you have to be especially vigilant in looking for the signs that your pet might be constipated.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Is your pet passing dry, hard stool? When he or she goes to the bathroom, is the process strained and is it taking longer than normal?
  • Is your pet’s trip outside or to the litter box unsuccessful? Are they stopping and starting, or repositioning? Using the bathroom should be a simple process. If they are working too hard to pass stool, something could be wrong.
  • Have you noticed a change in your pet’s mood, daily routine or everyday normal behaviors? Just like in humans, constipation makes pets feel lousy. It can alter behaviors, leaving them moody or feeling tired and lethargic.
  • Constipation is a buildup of fecal matter in the digestive system. And when this happens, you might notice physical changes in your pet’s appearance. Take a look at the animal’s abdomen and see if it’s swelling or possibly sore to the touch.

While constipation can be serious, it’s usually not life threatening. In fact, it’s quite common in older pets. Often times, it’s a result of not drinking enough water.

Other reasons could be a diet without enough fiber, which is an easy fix. Your local grocery store or pet specialty warehouse should have plenty of foods, supplements or treats that are rich and fiber.

Lastly, exercise will keep your pet from getting constipated. When pets burn calories, food moves steadily through the digestive system as they body absorbs nutrients lost during physical activity. Obviously exercise is easier with dogs than cats, but even felines can be active playing with toys or interacting with humans.

If you feel like your pet’s condition might be more serious, or if constipation remains a constant concern, make an appointment to see your vet. Only they can properly diagnose a more serious problem.