Dog & Puppy Behavior Changes
Dogs and Puppies Behavior Changes
There are also more subtle ways dogs and puppies indicate infection, disease, or injury:
- Licking, Scratching Or Biting At A Particular Location
- Panting More During Play Or Exercise
- Increased Thirst Or Appetite
- Weight Loss (Especially If Still Eating Well) Or Picky Eating Habits Develop
- Reluctance To Move Around
- Easily Agitated
- Wanting To Be Alone When Previously Wanting To Lay Next To You/Be On The Bed
- Separation Anxiety When You Leave
- Need To Go Out More Frequently For Potty Breaks Or You Notice “Wet Spots” Around The House
- Seeking Out Cold Or Warm Places To Lay (Arthritis Or Injury Concerns)
- Pacing Or Seeming Inability To Get Comfortable/Stay In One Location
If you notice any of these behavior changes or physical symptoms, contact the Animal Wellness Center nearest you to schedule an immediate appointment for your dog or puppy. These symptoms are often signs of greater health problems in canines.
Click on the following to learn more about symptoms dogs & puppies exhibit that may require a visit.
What Does Vomiting Mean for Dogs?
Unfortunately for those of us who love living with our loyal four-legged friends, vomiting is a fairly common problem with dogs. Throwing up or regurgitating food once is usually harmless; your dog may have simply eaten something which does not agree with them. In such cases, the vomiting has probably served its purpose and relieved the stomach of something unwanted. If your dog is continually vomiting or they are regurgitating blood, it is more likely to be a symptom of another medical issue and will require treatment with Animal Wellness Center.
Reasons Dogs Vomit:
- Worms or parasites
- Internal obstruction
- Cancer or tumors
- Eating a foreign object
Anytime your dog vomits, you should check the house and see if you notice any missing toys, socks, treat bags or bones, or garbage has been eaten. Corn cobs, in particular, are bad news for a dog’s digestion. If you believe your dog consumed something indigestible, bring them to Animal Wellness Center so our vets can identify it with an X-ray and remove it right away.
Other symptoms to watch for:
- Behavioral changes
Another not-uncommon occurrence is when a dog will vomit yellowish fluid or foam. This happens when the stomach is empty and bile irritates the stomach lining. Stomach acid is created when your dog is hungry. If they do not eat right away, this acid builds up and is expelled as bile. If your dog seems otherwise fine, you can try reducing the time between meals (without increasing the overall amount of food) and see if it gets better. Yellow vomit usually indicates a minor problem with the upper gastrointestinal tract, though you should still consult your veterinarian if you notice your dog has vomited bile.
Caring for Your Dog: What You Can Do to Help
If your dog’s vomiting is an isolated episode and he doesn’t seem to be dehydrated or otherwise in distress, you should take away access to food and water (don’t forget to close the toilet lid!) for at least an hour. This will give your dog’s stomach time to settle and reduce the amount of vomit you have to clean up. After an hour or two, start reintroducing small amounts of water, and if he keeps it down you can begin with small amounts of bland food (white rice or baby food for example) after another hour has passed. If there is no additional vomiting, you can resume a normal diet the following day.
Infrequent episodes of upset stomach are probably nothing to worry about, as long as your dog goes back to his normal healthy habits afterward. But vomiting can also be a symptom of more serious health problems, and it’s important to understand when to seek medical help.
Prevent Dehydration from Vomiting!
One of the immediate consequences of vomiting is dehydration. The more your dog throws up, the more dehydrated he will be. This can lead to weakness and additional vomiting. Provide a small amount of water or ice cubes to keep your pet from becoming dehydrated.
When Vomiting is a Sign of Trouble for Dogs
If your dog continues to vomit for an extended period of time, you should seek medical help at Animal Wellness Center immediately. Chronic vomiting can be a sign of an allergic reaction, infectious disease, cancer, liver failure, parasites, and other conditions.
If your dog is showing any of the following conditions along with vomiting, it’s time to call our vets:
- Distended abdomen
- Collapsing or not wanting to rise
- Anxiety and unable to rest
- Racing heartbeat
- Pale gum tissue
- Unable to keep down water for longer than 12 hours
- Abnormal behavior
Remember, you know your dog best. In general, dogs do vomit more often than humans, and it can be difficult to identify the reason your dog is sick, and whether it’s cause for concern. If you see any signs of blood, whether fresh or clotted, you need to take your dog to the vet immediately, as this almost always a sign of a problem requiring medical treatment. The best advice is: when in doubt, check it out.
Another sign you need to take your dog to a vet right away is if your dog is repeatedly heaving, or attempting to vomit without producing anything. This is frequently a symptom of bloat or torsion, which are very serious (and sometimes fatal) conditions.
Consumption of Toxic Substances
We may ask you to bring in a sample of the dog’s vomit, as it can sometimes help in diagnosing the problem. You should take a look at the vomit yourself and see if you can tell what has come up. Your dog may have eaten something without your knowledge.
If you suspect your dog may have eaten something toxic, call Animal Wellness Center right away. Dogs have been known to get into rodent poison, medicine, chocolate, and many other poisonous substances. The sooner the issue is diagnosed, the sooner your dog will start recovering.
A veterinarian at Animal Wellness Center can put your mind at ease if it turns out to be a simple case of “garbage gut,” and can start the right treatment plan if your dog is sick with a more serious condition. In many cases, early treatment is a life-saver.
How to Reduce Your Dog’s Chances of Vomiting
You can’t prevent your dog from ever vomiting again, but you can take reasonable steps to make it less likely.
- If you need to change your dog’s diet, do it gradually
- Feed your dog multiple smaller meals per day, rather than one large meal once a day
- Don’t let your dog chew on toys they can swallow or chew into small pieces (including some types of bones)
- Stop your dog from scavenging garbage
- Watch your dog carefully when out walking, especially if he has a tendency to eat unsavory things
- If your dog gets carsick, make sure your dog rides on an empty stomach
- Don’t feed your dog people food, as it might not digest well
If you have any concerns about something your dog ate or might have eaten, it’s always a good idea to check in with your veterinarian to be on the safe side.
Talk to a Veterinarian About Your Dog’s Vomiting Symptoms
Animal Wellness Center veterinarians are here to offer help not just in diagnosing immediate symptoms, but for any questions or concerns you may have about your dog’s well-being. We are true animal lovers, and we want to help our customers and their owners make the most of their lives together.
Contact Animal Wellness Center to schedule a veterinary appointment and ensure your pet is healthy and meets the requirements of your area.
Why is My Dog Sneezing a Lot?
Most of the time a sneeze is nothing to worry about. Just like humans, dogs sneeze if they have a cold or a tickle in their nose. Hilariously, some dogs sneeze when they’re just excited! However, if your dog won’t stop sneezing or shows other symptoms, it may be time to come to Animal Wellness Center for a puppy checkup.
When Sneezing is a Sign of Trouble for Dogs
Excessive sneezing or sneezing combined with other symptoms could be a sign of something more serious. Other symptoms to watch for:
- Difficulty breathing
- Poor appetite
- Changes in behavior
- Nasal discharge (blood, mucus, etc.)
You know your pup best, so keep an eye out for changes in their behavior and health.
Causes of Abnormal Sneezing in Dogs
A variety of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections can make a dog sneeze, including:
- Sinus infection
- Upper respiratory infection
- Infected tooth or tooth root
- Bronchial infection
- Kennel cough
- Distemper virus
Respiratory infections are more likely to make your dog cough than sneeze. Aspergillus fungus from hay, grass, or dust can lead to a fungal infection causing sneezing as well as pain, bleeding or discharge, and visible swelling.
As for dental infections, your dog’s third upper premolars’ roots are near the nasal passages. If these roots become infected, it can easily lead to nasal drainage and sneezing.
Allergens and Foreign Bodies
Dogs usually get itchy skin, paws, or ears when they have allergies rather than sneezing like humans do. However, some dogs do sneeze a lot due to allergies from air pollutants. With all the sniffing dogs do, it’s no wonder they sometimes get things stuck in their noses or breathe in something unpleasant. Inhaled irritants can include:
- Carpet powders
- Cigarette smoke
- Household cleaners
- Aerosol deodorants
Foreign bodies in your dog’s nose may also cause nose bleeds, loud breathing, or a visible bulge, and the dog may paw at their nose in a desperate attempt to clear their sinuses.
Nasal tumors (more common in older dogs and canines with longer noses) can make dogs sneeze a lot and have chronic nasal discharge. The tumors can be caused by second- or third-hand smoke and are difficult to treat.
Dogs with short noses and compressed nasal passages (such as Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Pekingese, Pug, etc.) are more likely to have sneezing fits due to upper respiratory infection or exposure to irritants.
Reverse sneezing is when air is pulled in through the nose rather than pushed out, resulting in a loud snorting or honking sound. This is fairly harmless and common in small or short-nosed breeds. Reverse sneezing may be caused by inhaling dust, pollen, or dirt, irritating the back of the throat and the soft palate.
During a reverse sneeze, the dog will stand with elbows spread, head pushed forward or pulled back, and have bulging eyes. The reverse sneezing fit may last from a few seconds up to two minutes.
Reverse sneezing tends to alarm dog owners more than the dogs since it sounds like the dog is choking or having an asthma attack. Remain calm to keep your dog calm.
You can try gently massaging your dog’s throat to stop the reverse sneezing, or briefly cover the dog’s nostrils to make them swallow. Otherwise the fit should stop on its own shortly. Reverse sneezing on occasion is generally harmless as long as the dog is not upset by it. However, if it happens repeatedly or is accompanied by anxiety, nasal discharge, nose bleeds, or difficulty breathing, make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Concerned? Talk to a Veterinarian at Animal Wellness Center
If you think your dog’s sneezing is a sign of something more serious, schedule an appointment at Animal Wellness Center. Our vets will diagnose the cause of the excessive sneezing and help your dog return to normal.
Contact Animal Wellness Center to schedule a veterinary appointment and ensure your pet is healthy and meets the requirements of your area.
Is It Healthy for Dogs to Pant?
Panting is a very normal thing for dogs to do, most of the time. Since dogs don’t sweat to cool down the way humans do, panting helps them regulate body temperature by circulating air throughout the body. It’s actually a fairly effortless process due to dogs’ naturally elastic lungs and airways. Normal panting happens when your dog is warm or excited, especially after play or exercise.
In some situations, panting can be a sign of a health problem in your dog. Signs of abnormal panting include:
- Panting for no apparent reason
- Panting is louder, harsher, or includes unfamiliar sounds (wheezing, coughing)
- Panting is strenuous, heavy, or excessive
You know your dog’s behavior better than anyone, so be alert for any unusual changes in panting or other behaviors. Learn about the warning signs of abnormal panting and when it’s time for a visit to the professionals at Animal Wellness Center.
Causes of Abnormal Panting in Dogs
Excessive panting or heavy breathing can indicate a wide variety of conditions ranging from poisoning to paralysis of the laryngeal cartilages (the flaps opening and closing the windpipe). A veterinarian at Animal Wellness Center will observe your dog’s panting and determine the cause. The sooner the problem is identified, the more likely treatment will lead to a happy ending!
Obesity – If your dog is overweight, excessive panting could be how they handle heat regulation. Obese dogs overheat more easily and have to exert more effort to cool down during activity. Just like in humans, obesity in dogs can lead to joint disease and disorders of the heart, pancreas, and liver. If your dog is overweight, a vet at Animal Wellness Center will help you with weight management solutions for the health and longevity of your pet!
Pain, Phobias, & Anxiety – Abnormal panting may be a sign your dog has a physical or emotional problem needing attention. Since your dog can’t use words, it’s important to learn to interpret your dog’s behavior in order to recognize symptoms of distress. Heavy panting may indicate your dog has been injured or is in discomfort. Other signs of pain may include reduced appetite, restlessness, gnawing or licking an injured area, and dilated pupils. Call your vet at Animal Wellness Center right away if you suspect your dog is in pain.
Some dogs are scared of storms, hate to travel, or are bothered by strangers in their home. Anxious or fearful dogs often exhibit what is called “behavioral panting”. It may occur along with other signs of stress such as shaking, loss of bladder control, whining, and hiding. These are all normal reactions to frightening or unfamiliar events, but long-lasting or chronic episodes can take a physical and emotional toll on your dog’s health.
Heatstroke – Overheating is a common and very dangerous cause of heavy panting. Heatstroke can be life-threatening in dogs, with other symptoms including: racing heart, elevated temperature, vomiting or diarrhea, seizures, excessive drool, glazed-over eyes, and weakness.
If you believe your dog has heat stroke, you should immediately:
- Move your dog to a cooler environment out of the sun
- Spray your dog with cool (not cold) water or use cold towels on the head, neck, and chest
- Provide cool water or ice cubes to lick
- Bring your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you’ve begun to cool him down
NOTE: Never leave your dog or any pet in a parked car, and always provide your dog with plenty of access to shade and fresh water during hot times of the day. Overweight and long-haired dogs tend to overheat more easily, so take this into consideration whenever your dog is outside or in a hot environment.
Fever – When a dog’s body temperature rises above 102.5 degrees, they may begin panting to try and cool down. Fever can be a sign of infection and many other health problems. Any fever of 104 degrees or higher is extremely dangerous. Not sure how to take your dog’s temperature? Ask a veterinarian at Animal Wellness Center for advice during a Meet & Greet or at your dog’s next checkup.
Chronic Illness – Cardiovascular disease, respiratory disorders, and hormonal imbalances such as Cushing’s disease can all cause abnormal panting in dogs. Anemia, a low volume of red blood cells, results in panting because the dog is not getting enough oxygen. When no other explanation for heavy panting is found, you should consider abnormal or excessive panting to be a possible early warning sign of a serious condition. Make an appointment to bring your dog to a vet at Animal Wellness Center as soon as possible.
Safeguard the Health of Your Dog with Animal Wellness Center
Recognizing the difference between normal panting and abnormal panting will help you identify possible health problems in your dog, allowing you to take early action to keep your pet healthy. In addition to diagnosing and treating medical issues, Animal Wellness Center veterinarians will recommend strategies for helping your dog manage anxiety or get to a healthy weight.
Contact Animal Wellness Center to schedule a veterinary appointment and ensure your pet is healthy and meets the requirements of your area.
Why is My Dog Lethargic?
Lethargy is not just regular sleepiness—it’s often a sign your pet is not feeling well. They might lack the energy to eat, play, walk, or come when you call. A lethargic dog may seem exhausted, confused, and disoriented on top of being tired. Canine lethargy may be a sign of heartworm disease, kennel cough, heart or liver problems, diabetes, or tumors.
Lethargy can be hard for dog owners to spot since it’s not uncommon for dogs to sleep 10 or more hours a day and relax around the house. One or two missed meals could be nothing; dogs sometimes don’t feel like eating if they are too hot. If your dog is sluggish for more than a day or two, contact your vet at Animal Wellness Center.
Common Causes of Dog Lethargy
- Dog lethargy can be caused by any kind of infection, such as kennel cough, distemper, and parvovirus.
- Metabolic disease
- Heart conditions, liver diseases, diabetes, hypoglycemia, and other metabolic and organic diseases can make your dog sluggish.
A variety of dog medications, including flea or worm medicines, cause lethargy as a side effect. Lethargy can also be a sign your dog is having a bad reaction to the medication.
Poisoning from Toxic Substances
Household products like lawn care supplies and cleaning chemicals are obviously harmful to both dogs and humans if ingested. However, there are some things humans can eat that dogs should not, including garlic, onions, leeks, and Ibuprofen.
Hookworms, heartworms, fleas, and ticks can directly or indirectly cause dog lethargy.
Your dog may feel fearful or anxious because of a major change in his or her life, such as:
- Being recently adopted
- New surroundings
- Loud noises (fireworks, smoke alarms, etc.)
- Death of a family member or another pet
- Family member moving out
Just like many humans, dogs can become lethargic on a hot summer day.
Other Conditions Causing Dog Lethargy
Almost anything that makes your dog uncomfortable or not feel well can cause lethargy, including:
- Obesity/excess weight
- Lack of electrolytes
- Hormonal changes/disorders
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Urinary tract disorders
- Immune system problems
- Skin or eye diseases
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Snake bite
How to Care for a Lethargic Dog
If your dog has been lethargic for more than a day or two, or you’ve observed other symptoms, contact your vet at Animal Wellness Center. In the meantime, here’s what you can do at home:
- Let them rest – an uninterrupted nap may help them recover
- Take their temperature – a fever can indicate an infection
- Monitor the symptoms – the more symptoms you notice, the easier our diagnosis will be
We use the latest veterinary technology to quickly and accurately diagnose your pet when they are unwell. The faster we determine the source of your pup’s lethargy, the faster treatment can begin.
Why is My Dog Drooling So Much?
Most dogs drool a little, and some breeds (such as the Saint Bernard, Bloodhound, and Mastiff) are naturally slobbery. If your dog suddenly starts drooling more than usual (also called hypersalivation), it may be a sign something is wrong with their health.
Causes of Excessive Drooling
Something Caught in the Mouth
Carefully check your dog’s teeth, gums, tongue, and throat for anything stuck in there. Dogs chew on all kinds of things, from their own food and toys to plants, trash, and items they find in the yard. Remove the foreign object if you can, or visit our vets for removal assistance.
If there’s nothing stuck in your dog’s mouth, there may be a small injury causing all the drool. Check for any bleeding, discoloration, or other signs of a wound. You may be able to dab minor injuries with a little hydrogen peroxide. Call Animal Wellness Center for help with larger wounds or major bleeding.
Hypersalivation can be caused by problems with your dog’s teeth and gums. Check for signs of tartar buildup, such as browning teeth and red, swollen, or bleeding gums. Your veterinarian can take a closer look for more severe problems like cracked teeth, growths, ulcers, and oral diseases.
If your dog has been spending a lot of time in the sun and is drooling and lethargic, the problem could be heatstroke. Heatstroke is very serious, and your dog needs to be taken to the vet immediately to prevent dehydration.
Dogs commonly drool a lot when they are feeling nauseated due to anxiety, carsickness/motion sickness, dizziness, or eating various non-food items.
Internal Disease and Infection
Excessive drooling can be a side effect of kidney or liver disease. Nose, sinus, and throat infections can lead to hypersalivation as well as bad breath.
Some common types of plants are poisonous to dogs and can cause drooling, including tulips, chrysanthemums, and azaleas.
When Your Dog Won’t Stop Drooling, See the Vet
If your pet is drooling more than usual and you can’t find the cause yourself, come see the vets at Animal Wellness Center. We’ll help you determine the cause and treat it, restoring your dog’s normal amount of slobber.
How to Tell If a Dog Has Diarrhea
As most dog owners know, canines will eat anything they can find. Unfortunately, this can lead to a lot of digestive problems for your pooch, including diarrhea. Animal Wellness Clinic is your resource for spotting the signs of diarrhea in dogs and providing treatment.
To start, pay attention to your dog’s elimination habits before they become sick. It may be unpleasant, but knowing how your pet’s stool normally looks will make it easier to spot issues later. Healthy dogs produce chocolate brown stool with a fairly solid consistency. Anything else should be considered unusual.
Examples of Unusual Stool Samples:
Be on the lookout for unusual stool, including:
- Green – Green stool results from your dog eating a lot of grass, often a sign they are trying to calm their stomach
- Yellow – Yellow coloration usually means your dog has an internal problem with their liver, pancreas, or gallbladder
- Brown with White – White spots which resemble rice often indicate worms in your pet’s digestive tract
- Red – Fresh blood in stool means your dog has bleeding in their lower gastrointestinal tract
- Black – Internal bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract can turn stool black and will need immediate treatment
Consistency is also important to check when your dog has diarrhea. The more liquid the stool, the more severe your pet’s condition is, regardless of color. Call our Waukesha area veterinary clinics in advance to see if you should bring in a spool sample with your dog. If stool is discolored, liquid, or contains blood, your dog will require immediate treatment at our veterinary clinics.
Signs of Severe Diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen stomach
- Weight loss
Diarrhea which lasts for more than 24 hours will require a visit to Animal Wellness Center, regardless of other symptoms. Our veterinarians will provide a thorough exam to determine what is making your pup unwell.
Young puppies should always get a thorough checkup if they have diarrhea since they are more likely to become dehydrated or severely ill.
What Causes Dog Diarrhea?
Diarrhea can often be an indicator of other health problems in dogs.
- Allergic Reactions in Canines – Dogs can experience chronic diarrhea if they eat a food they are allergic to. If you have recently changed food brands or are trying a new flavor treat, these may be the culprit. Switch their food over slowly so their body can adapt to the change.
- Consumption of Foreign Objects – If your dog eats items they shouldn’t this can lead to diarrhea. Anything from garbage to toxic plants can lead to this reaction. Our vets use ultrasound and x-ray technology to find foreign objects in your pup’s gastrointestinal tract. In worst case scenarios, surgery may be necessary to remove the object.
- Infection – Parasites like roundworms and hookworm larvae can cause diarrhea in canines when ingested. Certain bacterial and viral infections will also cause diarrhea as a symptom. Make sure your dog receives their annual vaccinations and checkups at Animal Wellness Center to keep them from catching many preventable diseases.
- Internal Disorders – Problems with the kidneys, liver, or digestive tract may lead to diarrhea and other health problems in canines.
How to Treat Dog Diarrhea
Make sure your dog stays hydrated by drinking plenty of water or eating ice cubes. You can entice them into drinking more by using rice water or a meaty broth for taste.
As for food, stick to bland foods like rice, baby food, or chicken. If your pup recently vomited, wait 6-12 hours before feeding. If they can keep bland food down, you may slowly introduce more foods into their diet until they resume eating normally.
Never try to treat your dog’s diarrhea by using human medication without approval from our veterinarians.
Fortunately, many dogs experience brief diarrhea after eating something which disagrees with their digestive system. Once it passes, your dog will be back to normal. In the event diarrhea is a symptom of another medical condition, our experienced vets will prescribe treatment options for your dog.
How Can I Tell If My Dog Dehydrated?
Dehydration is caused whenever your dog does not have enough water in their system. This can occur in hot weather or after your dog has spent a lot of time playing. It can also be a side effect of untreated medical conditions. Proper hydration is necessary for most bodily functions, from circulation to digestion. You may notice your dog panting, unable to eat, or with sunken eyes when dehydrated. Without treatment, dehydration can be fatal.
Skin tenting is one method of measuring your dog’s hydration level. Gently grasp some skin between your fingers and raise it up, like a tent. Let it go and see how long it takes for the skin to snap back. In a hydrated dog, it should be less than a second. Any longer is a sign of some dehydration, with longer amounts of time a sign of severe dehydration.
Prevent Dehydration in Your Pets
Dogs can’t tell you when they’re thirsty, so it’s up to you to ensure they have regular access to clean, fresh water. You should have at least 2 water dishes your dog can reach at all times when you are not home. A weighted water dish may also be necessary to prevent spills if your dog is energetic and plays with their bowl.
NOTE: Small dogs and puppies have a greater risk of dehydration simply because they can only consume so much water at a time. If they go without, they have less reserves to rely on.
If you enjoy going on outings with your dog, make sure to bring water just for them. Bring a separate water bottle and dish with you so they can drink wherever you go. Rivers and lakes are not always safe to drink, so clean water is necessary even on a nature hike.
How to Treat Dog Dehydration
If you believe your dog if dehydrated, you should exercise caution before taking them to our clinics. Reintroduce water slowly – too much water at once can cause your dog to vomit, making them more dehydrated. Consider using ice cubes to control how much water they consume.
There are times when at-home treatment isn’t enough. The vets of Animal Wellness Center can provide an IV with fluid to help hydrate your dog faster and safely. We will also give a thorough exam to determine the source of their dehydration.
What Are Signs a Dog is Constipated and Needs Treatment?
If your dog tries to poop for several minutes with little to no result, they are likely constipated. Small and hard stool is another sign of constipation. If this condition persists for more than a day or two, your dog is definitely constipated.
The substances leaving your dog’s digestive system are often the first warning sign of an internal health issue, so it’s important to monitor your dog while he does his business. Make a habit of checking their daily deposits, as the amount, color, consistency, and smell can all indicate your dog’s general level of health.
Neglecting to monitor and treat your pooch’s poop problems can cause longstanding bowel issues. When your dog does manage to pass stool, this does not mean they are no longer constipated. Small amounts of feces passed when straining to eliminate tend to be darker than usual, sometimes with traces of mucus, blood, or other foreign substances. When your dog has issues eliminating, contact Animal Wellness Center right away to arrange a consultation and stool sample examination.
Why Your Dog Isn’t Pooping
One of the most common causes of constipation is dehydration. Without proper hydration, the digestive system stalls, causing hard stool which is tough to pass. Healthy dogs should drink roughly one ounce of water for every pound they weigh. So a 50-pound dog should drink about 50 ounces of water daily, or nearly 6 cups (8 ounces = 1 cup).
The more active your dog is, the more water they need. Dogs on a diet of dry food need to drink more water than dogs who eat canned or homemade food. And, like people, all dogs need to drink more water in hot weather.
You should begin monitoring their water intake as soon as you suspect they are constipated. Measure the amount of water you put in your dog’s bowl and keep track of how much they consume in a day. If they’re not drinking enough or experience other symptoms, just get in touch with a veterinarian at Animal Wellness Center! We will assess your dog’s drinking habits and provide a treatment plan.
Eating Foreign Objects
A more serious cause of constipation in dogs is a partial or complete blockage in the intestines or colon caused by non-food objects such as cloth, a piece of shoe, rocks, and toys. If stool can’t move around the obstruction, this can develop into a severe health issue as waste builds up within your dog.
If you know your dog tends to scarf down things he shouldn’t and you notice he’s not pooping regularly, bring him to see the vet within a couple of days. If you know for a fact your dog ate a large foreign object, you should contact Animal Wellness Center right away. An ultrasound or X-ray will show the object and allow us to plan for its removal, putting an end to your pooch’s constipation.
Other Causes of Constipation
If your male dog hasn’t been neutered, he may develop an enlarged prostate in old age. This swelling pushes on the bowel, resulting in thin stools or constipation. Neutering your dog will usually solve this problem.
In a similar fashion, hernias in a dog’s rectum can cause constipation by compressing the rectum, blocking the stool from passing out of the body. A tumor growing in the pelvic area or inside the colon can also create a blockage. Surgery is the usual remedy for hernia and tumor removal.
Stress from a change in surroundings or daily routine could be to blame for your dog’s constipation. Sometimes the cause is as simple as not getting enough exercise, or a side effect of surgery or medication. Occasionally, constipation can be a sign of something more serious, such as a neuromuscular disorder, infected anal glands, or an injury to your dog’s hips or pelvis which makes it too painful to poop. A visit to Animal Wellness Centers of Wisconsin will lead to a diagnosis for your pet and a solution to their constipation problems.
Knowing When Your Dog Needs Medical Help
You should see our veterinarians if:
- Your dog becomes constipated and it doesn’t resolve itself within a couple of days
- Your dog has constipation, recovers, and becomes constipated again within a day or two
- Your dog has been showing signs of chronic constipation
Untreated chronic constipation in dogs can lead to vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, and weight loss. These are serious signs you need to take your dog to a vet as soon as possible.
NEVER give your dog:
- Laxatives intended for humans
- High-fiber foods meant for humans
- Mineral oil
- Home enemas or suppositories
Doing any of the above may make the situation worse or be toxic for your pet. If your dog is dealing with a non-serious episode of constipation, your vet at Animal Wellness Center can give you advice on safe tips and home remedies you can try.
Animal Wellness Center is Here to Help
Since constipation can be caused by so many different factors, ranging from the mild (your dog doesn’t want the walk to be over yet) to the severe (a tumor) it never hurts to get the opinion of a trusted veterinarian when you have concerns. Whether it’s establishing a daily exercise schedule for your dog or starting specialized treatment, we can provide the services and information you and your dog need to return to a happy, healthy life.