Your beloved canine should be relieving himself regularly. But if he’s straining when he “goes” or if you haven’t seen him pass a bowel movement in days, he might be constipated and need something to help with digestion. Before treating the issue on your own, though, get your dog in for an exam. In some cases, problems going to the bathroom can stem from a blockage or other medical issue.
Plenty of drinking water is the first step in improving your pup’s digestion. Water is the principle component of all tissues along the digestive tract, creating a moist environment for food to pass through easily. Without water, stools become dry, hard and difficult to pass. Each time you feed Wrigley, set a clean bowl of cool water down beside his food dish. He should also get plenty of other opportunities to drink throughout the day.
Probiotic supplements help feed the good bacteria that live in Wrigley’s gut. These bacteria are responsible for breaking down food during digestion, leaving just waste behind. You can purchase probiotics in pill or liquid forms, or offer your pooch small amounts of yogurt containing probiotics. But too much of any variety can lead to diarrhea, so you’ll need to discuss the probiotic option with your vet beforehand to get the right dosage.
Your furry buddy’s food should have some fiber, although you can add more fiber to his diet to boost digestive processes. Canned pumpkin -- the 100-percent variety, not pumpkin pie filling -- is easy to stir into Wrigley’s food. Generally you can feed him up to a teaspoon of pumpkin per 10 pounds of weight, once or twice a day, according to Dr. Karen Becker, a veterinarian based out of Illinois. Other ways to up Wrigley’s fiber intake include giving him 1/2 teaspoon of psyllium husk powder, 1 teaspoon of coconut fiber or 1 teaspoon of ground leafy green veggies. All doses are per 10 pounds of weight, with a recommendation of one to two times a day.
Stir organic apple cider vinegar into your dog’s water or wet food to hide the bitter taste. Organic apple cider vinegar has been shown to relieve constipation and speed the passage of waste. He can have 1/4 teaspoon for each 10 pounds of body weight, up to twice a day. Or you can offer aloe juice in the same manner -- it has similar benefits as organic apple cider vinegar and the dosage is the same. Lastly, make sure you give your fur pal plenty of opportunities to exercise. Physical activity allows food to move along, keeping him regular. Walk him, toss the ball around in the yard and give him toys to chase when he’s stuck in the house.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.