When Your Pet's Constipation Becomes An Emergency

Like humans, your dog and cat can suffer from bowel issues like constipation. Most of the time, the problem clears up on its own. Sometimes, making some lifestyle changes can help. However, a few pets can have a serious problem. Severe constipation could be an emergency and need an ER veterinarian's help. Here is more information about pet constipation and when it could be considered an emergency.

What Is Constipation in Pets?

Constipation is a condition where your pet cannot defecate or shows difficulty defecating. Severely constipated pets may not defecate for a few days or more. Other signs of constipation include:

  • Straining to defecate
  • Bloating
  • Passing hard and dry stools
  • Lack of appetite

What Causes Constipation?

Often, constipation causes are related to diet and lack of exercise. Sometimes, the food is not compatible with your pet. Some of the other causes are:

  • Colon diseases
  • Dehydration
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Not enough fiber
  • Anxiety
  • Furballs or matted fur around the anus
  • Lack of exercise

When Should You Worry About Your Pet's Constipation?

You can consider pet constipation an emergency if your pet hasn't defecated for at least two to three days. Also, call your veterinarian if you notice blood or mucus in the stool. Contact your veterinarian if you suspect the cause of the constipation is the ingestion of a non-food item.

What Can You Do to Help Your Pet?

If you notice your pet is constipated, whether it's the first time or a chronic issue, call your veterinarian for advice. In some cases, adding or subtracting certain foods can help improve your pet's bowel movements. Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise. Try higher fiber foods, but make sure you don't give your pet too much fiber as that could also cause problems.

How Can an ER Veterinarian Help?

When you go to an ER veterinarian clinic, your pet will get a thorough exam to determine the cause of the problem. If your pet has a bowel obstruction, then they may need emergency surgery to clear the blockage. Enemas and laxatives can also help move things along quickly. Your pet may need to stay in the pet hospital until the veterinarian is sure the emergency has passed.

Fortunately, most pets won't have a constipation problem so bad that you need to go to the ER veterinary clinic. You or your regular veterinarian can often find a remedy before that happens. However, if your pet does have a severe and sudden case, don't hesitate to seek emergency help. Your pet could have a life-threatening problem that needs intervention.

Contact a pet clinic in your area, such as Animal Emergency Clinic, for more information.