One day, you notice your pup hunched over and straining to poop. As he works to get the fecal matter out, he looks like he’s in pain. This often happens when dogs are constipated. Fortunately, it’s not usually a serious condition, but if it continues, you should treat it to prevent other health problems.
When I got calls from my clients because their pups had gone days without pooping. Naturally, they were worried. I would explain that their dog likely had constipation and needed treatment. I would also offer some foods and tips they could use to help their dogs poop and to prevent future issues.
In this article, we’ll look at 11 foods you can use to help your dog poop and other things you can do to encourage normal bowel movements. After that, I’ll explain when it’s time to reach out to your veterinarian.
So, let’s get started.
11 Foods that help dogs poop
When your dog is having difficulty pooping, you want to help him find relief as quickly as possible. Untreated constipation can cause conditions like hemorrhoids and rectal prolapse.
Thankfully, you can help move things along by giving him certain foods.
The top recommended food for dogs that are constipated is pumpkin. This nutritious food is packed full of fiber and water. The particular type of fiber in pumpkin combines with water to form a viscous gel that soothes the gut and helps move feces through the colon.
You can feed your pup canned, unseasoned pumpkin(Not pie mix) or fresh, steamed pumpkin. For small dogs, start by adding about ½ teaspoon to their food. If they tolerate it well, you can gradually increase the dose to 1-2 teaspoons if they need more fiber. If you have a larger dog, you can start with 1 or 2 teaspoons and gradually increase to 1-3 tablespoons if needed.
Cooked Green Beans
Green beans are full of fiber and vitamins that are healthy for your dog. And bonus…many dogs love them as a treat! By feeding green beans in moderation(no more than 10% of their daily diet) you can help their digestive system get moving.
You can serve steamed or cooked green beans to your pup’s food, or offer them as a special treat. Do not feed canned green beans because the sodium content is too high for your pooch.
You can also increase your dog’s fiber by feeding some spinach. This leafy, green vegetable is packed with iron, calcium, and fiber. The fiber adds bulk to your pal’s poop so it’s easier for his system to evacuate it.
It’s best to feed steamed spinach because raw spinach is difficult for your pooch to digest. Do not boil this vegetable or you will lose many of the valuable nutrients.
Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids that can help soothe the gut and promote digestive health. Because of the medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil, this substance has anti-inflammatory effects and helps to promote healthy microflora in the intestines. Some also believe the oil may help to lubricate the colon and make it easier for your dog to poop.
When giving coconut oil, start slow because some dogs have sensitivities to it. For small breeds, start at about ¼ teaspoon and slowly build up to 1-2 teaspoons if they tolerate it well. Larger breeds can have 1 teaspoon to start and increase to about 1 tablespoon if needed.
As a high-fiber food, wheat bran works in the same way as pumpkin. The fiber will help to get the gut moving so your dog can expel feces more easily.
You can give your pooch wheat bran by feeding him a few spoons with his food. Be careful to not overdo it; some dogs don’t respond well to huge amounts of fiber.
If your pup can tolerate milk-based products, you can add some yogurt with active cultures of probiotic bacteria to her food to aid healthy digestion. Probiotics encourage a healthy microflora in the gut, and that can encourage normal poops.
Try adding a few spoonfuls of plain low-fat yogurt with active cultures to your pup’s food.
If you’ve ever had some ginger ale to soothe an upset stomach, you know that this root can assist with proper digestion in humans. It also helps calm nausea and eases constipation symptoms in dogs.
To give your pup ginger, sprinkle a few dashes of ground ginger on his dog food. You can also mix about ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger with ½ cup of unseasoned, low-sodium chicken broth to add to the food.
The main ingredient in Metamucil, powdered psyllium is an herb that helps stimulate normal bowel movements in humans and animals. Generally, this substance will have an effect in 12-72 hours.
Use powdered psyllium by sprinkling a small amount on your dog’s food.
Similar to pumpkin, sweet potato is high in fiber and also contains valuable nutrients like beta-carotene and vitamins A, B6, and C. The rich fiber content can help get your pal’s gut moving. But be careful that you don’t overfeed this tuber. Too much vitamin A can cause other health problems for your pup.
Only feed skinned and cooked sweet potatoes to your furbaby. Dice the potato and steam or boil it. Serve mashed or in small chunks with your pal’s food. It’s best to start with small quantities to avoid overwhelming the gut with too much fiber.
Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe is an amazing substance that helps ease inflammation and also has mild laxative effects. Help your pal get things moving by adding a small amount to his food or water. You can use about 1 teaspoon of juice for every 10 pounds of body weight.
Wet or Canned Dog Food
When you feed high-quality canned dog food, you’re providing your dog with extra moisture. Dogs with constipation tend to have hard dry stools that don’t move through the gut very well. By feeding canned food, you can help provide the moisture his system needs for better gut health.
Select a quality canned food that’s high in fiber for your furbaby. You can either feed all wet food or a 50/50 mixture of canned and kibble. If you’re using a new formula or brand of food, it’s best to transition your dog to the new diet over about a week to make sure his system tolerates it.
Other ways to help dogs poop
Adding ingredients to your dog’s daily diet isn’t the only thing you can do to help overcome and prevent constipation. Let’s look at other ways to help your dog poop.
There are natural supplements available that you can give your dog to help loosen overly firm stools. They often include probiotics like acidophilus and vegetable enzymes.
You can give your pooch treats that are high in fiber and contain helpful ingredients like pumpkin or sweet potato to help promote normal bowel movements.
Increase Your Dog’s Exercise
Exercise does a dog’s body good. By taking your pooch for longer or extra walks, you can help stimulate the gut. Activity promotes smooth muscle contractions that help to evacuate stool
Additionally, regular exercise helps prevent obesity in your pooch. Overweight dogs are more prone to constipation issues.
Use a Stool Softener
Also known as an emollient laxative, stool softeners increase water absorption into the large intestine. As a result, the stool is softer and easier for your pooch to pass. Check with your veterinarian for recommendations about dog-safe softeners.
Increase Your Dog’s Water Intake
Feeding canned food isn’t the only way to increase water intake for your pooch. You can also add water to his kibble to encourage him to ingest more fluids. Always provide your pal with copious fresh water.
In the event that your pooch’s constipation isn’t a fleeting concern and instead presents as a recurring digestive dilemma, reconsidering their food might be an advantageous step. Certain commercially available dog foods, such as low-residue options, are designed to assist in alleviating constipation. However, it’s crucial to remember that before any dietary alterations, a consult with your trusted veterinarian is imperative.
When should I consult with a vet?
When you notice signs of constipation such as scooting across the floor, straining to poop without much success, small feces possibly with mucus or crying out in pain, you should take action to try to help your pal poop. If symptoms don’t resolve in 48 hours, or if your pup starts vomiting or acting agitated and uncomfortable, call your veterinarian immediately. There may be a more serious condition that’s causing constipation.
Constipation can be a serious issue for dogs if you don’t treat it. So, if you see signs that your dog is having trouble pooping, you should take action. There are various foods you can offer to Fido to help loosen hard stools. Many are high in fiber, and some provide anti-inflammatory properties or help to soothe the gut.
Besides adding certain foods to your pal’s diet, there are other ways to help your pup poop. For example, you can give your dog supplements and treats that add fiber and probiotics to his diet. There are also stool softeners that you can try with your veterinarian’s approval. If constipation lasts beyond a few days or your pooch is acting uncomfortable, contact your veterinarian.
One of the best things pet parents can do to help treat and prevent constipation in their furbabies is to provide lots of water. Keep fresh water available at all times. If your pooch is not drinking enough, try offering ice cubes or adding some sodium-free chicken or beef broth to the water to make it more desirable.