What should I give my dog for constipation?

Question: 

What should I give my dog for constipation?

Answer: 

Constipation is a condition in which an animal or person has difficulty in passing a bowel movement. They are often seen straining to pass a bowel movement or an astute owner may have noticed there have been no bowel movements for more than 36-48 hours. If an animal is seen straining while posturing to defecate it is important to differentiate if they are straining to urinate, straining because they have diarrhea or possibly straining to defecate because they are constipated. There can be numerous causes for constipation including something they ate (in particular a large amount of bones), dehydration, too much fiber in the diet, underlying metabolic illnesses and disorders of the gastro-intestinal tract. It’s always best to contact your veterinarian for advice in times of a potential pet illness. If this is not possible or an owner wants to try a relatively harmless at home remedy they can try adding a little canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!) to the food for 1-2 days. Another remedy is 1/8th of a teaspoon of Miralax. NEVER buy or administer a laxative or enema without direct medical prescription from your veterinarian. If your pet is experiencing difficulty defecating for more than 48 hours, or if they stop eating, are vomiting or seem to be losing energy, it’s always best to consult the advice of your veterinarian. Some serious conditions can appear as harmless as constipation. If a pet has a repeatable history of constipation despite treatments suggested by your veterinarian, it may be time to consider referral to a specialist. There are a wide range of tests that can be performed to determine a potential underlying cause of chronic constipation as well as a range of treatment options.