Constipation in your pet

A constipated pet exhibits infrequent or difficult evacuation of the stool.  The feces is usually hard and dry.

Constipation is most often caused by dietary and environmental factors.


Fiber in the diet is important for normal defecation just as with people.  A pet food with high fat and gravy levels may also be deficient in fiber.

Substances such as hair, bones or other indigestible foreign matter will mix with the stool and  cause constipation.  Hairballs in cats are very common.


Changes which affect an animal's daily routine, such as removal of a cat's litter box (or changing   the type of litter), a hospital/boarding kennel stay, or lack of exercise can also cause problems.


  • Aging
  • Pelvic bone fractures
  • Rectal lesions, infections, or tumors
  • Prostate gland disease (males only)
  • Spinal cord problems
  • Colon disorders
  • Hormone imbalances

As you can see there are many reasons your pet can become constipated. Some are not serious while others can be life threatening.  Correct treatment depends on identifying the cause of your pet's constipation.


Diets rich in fiber can be used to aid in the control of constipation just as with people. The fiber increases water retention in the stool and softens it. The increased bulk also increases the propulsive movements of the intestines to help with eliminationís

  1. Twice daily, feed your pet a diet containing at least 10 % fiber.  Recommended foods are prescription diet R/D or W/D (for dogs or cats).  These diets significantly help reduce mild constipation.
  2. Keep your pet well groomed.  This reduces excess hair that is consumed due to the pet's normal licking.
  3. Regular exercise, especially about 1 hour after a meal will help stimulate the bowels to empty
  4. Keep the cat's litter box clean.
  5. Use mild laxatives or stool softeners per the advice of the doctor.


Web site designed by Ed Acton for Tri-City Pet Hospital