It can go without saying that people want to make sure their dogs are as healthy as can be, and when something goes wrong, they are able to help their dogs out as much as possible. For some people, this might be getting specialty diets to keep their dogs at their best. For others, this may mean taking care of medication.
Dogs, much like people, can suffer from a variety of issues affecting their health that may not be severe enough to warrant emergency treatment, but problematic enough to warrant something more than just time. A good example of this is constipation in dogs.
Constipation in dogs can range from mild inconvenience to being potentially problematic for your dog’s long-term health, as chronic constipation can turn into obstipation, leading to an impacted gut. If your dog is having problems defecating, you might turn to constipation medicines to try and help your dog pass the food along.
Clarifying with the Vet
Before you do anything, no matter how certain you might be about your dog’s constipation, you should always talk to your dog’s vet beforehand. Your vet can perform scans and exams to ensure the problem is solely constipation and there is nothing else going on behind the scenes.
This is important to do, as there may be a cause to the constipation that medication will not help, or other problems that should be addressed before you talk to your vet about treatments for the dog’s constipation.
Speaking of talking to your veterinarian about treatments, you should always make sure that you talk to the vet about using human medications for your dog’s problems. For example, if you are wondering can I give my dog Miralax, the answer is that you can as long as you dose it properly and you have your vet’s approval.
How Does the Medicine Work?
To make sure you are treating your dog as safely as possible when using stool softener medicines, you need to fully understand how they work so that you do not inadvertently cause more harm to the dog. This specific stool softener works by sending signals to the intestines to put more water into the stools so they can pass without as much trouble.
As such, if your dog is already suffering from dehydration or other issues that affect its ability to absorb liquids, giving this medicine can be dangerous as it draws even more water out of your dog’s system. This is one reason why you should at least consult with your vet and make sure the problem is simply an occasional bout of constipation before administering any treatment for the dog.
Keep in mind that if your dog is displaying signs of pain or discomfort along with the constipation, then you should opt for an immediate evaluation. Pain coupled with constipation in dogs can be a sign of something more serious, warranting an exam before any treatment is administered.
Likewise, if your dog suffers from chronic constipation, it may be worth looking into the cause of that before giving treatments.
How Much Should You Give Your Dog?
Again, always consult with the vet before giving the dog any of the medicine. On average, dogs should have about one teaspoon per 50 pounds of the dog’s weight, once a day for your standard case of constipation. This means that for most dogs, you will be using less than a teaspoon of the medicine to relieve their digestive troubles.
This usually means that for small dogs, it will be between one-eighth and one-quarter of a teaspoon. For medium dogs, it will be between one-quarter to one-half of a teaspoon. For many large dogs, you still won’t even reach the full teaspoon dosage unless your dog is of a particularly large breed.
Remember that some vets may have different recommendations for how you should go about treating this and you should follow their directions in all cases. Some vets prefer to use an even smaller dose twice a day to see if the first dose helps to clear the system out. Your vet will also give you a recommendation on how long you should use the medicine for, as it may vary depending on the specific case of your dog’s health.
What Are the Side Effects?
The side effects for giving this medicine to your dog can vary depending on the case. Some dogs experience few side effects, especially with smaller doses. Some dogs experience severe side effects, making it all the more important for you to be in touch with your vet.
The most common side effect is going to be diarrhea and the complications that are associated with that. Vomiting is also a risk, which both means that your dog may not absorb the medicine fully or may become even more dehydrated. There have been some instances of dogs going into seizures because they cannot tolerate the medicine.
Keep in mind that the more severe side effects are rare. The most likely thing to happen is that you may have to clean up after an accident, or your dog may have the complete opposite problem temporarily. As long as you monitor your dog’s hydration and offer it more water and hydrating foods throughout the treatment period, your dog should be fine.
Is This a Common Treatment?
While this medicine was designed for people, the way that it works is universal in many mammals that have digestive systems similar to a human. Most digestive systems work to absorb nutrients and to make sure that the stool is passed easily, which means that the way the medicine works can be applied to other animals as well.
In fact, this medicine is generally a common recommendation for dogs that are suffering from standard constipation. You should still work with your vet to ensure that this is the right treatment method for your dog and its specific case of constipation.
Some people may want to opt toward more natural methods of treating constipation before moving onto medicines that were designed for people (and thus, often too strong for dogs). These can help solve your dog’s problem without the risks that human medicines can have on your dog.
What Natural Methods Are There?
There are some foods that act as natural laxatives for dogs, creating the same effect that taking a medicine otherwise would, without all of the risk involved. Many people prefer to work with this method before turning to medicine, as it may yield results first.
Some of the foods that help dogs and constipation are oils and high-fiber diets. These help to not only soften stools, but work with digestion to ensure that bowel movements are not as hard for your dog’s body. Pumpkin is also a known home remedy for canine constipation, as it is both high in fiber and has a lot of water in it, with the pureed for being easiest for dogs to consume.