If your dog is struggling to pass their stool or they aren't pooping on their regular schedule, they could be constipated. Just like in humans, constipation is an uncomfortable and sometimes painful experience for your dog.
This common digestive disorder can happen for many reasons, from illness to changes in your dog's exercise routine. But luckily, you can help treat constipation at home with an ingredient you likely have in your pantry – coconut oil.
Keep on reading to learn how to spot the signs of constipation in your pup, and how you can use coconut oil to help relieve your dog's pain.
How to Tell if Your Dog is Constipated
While all dogs are different, most poop 1-3 times per day. Constipation happens when your dog struggles to follow their regular schedule, and sometimes to pass stool at all. If your dog does poop, it's likely small, dry, and painful to pass.
There are a variety of potential causes for constipation in dogs, so it's important to contact your vet if you notice symptoms that last for more than a day.
- Intestinal obstruction
- Changes in diet
- Hormonal diseases
- Lack of exercise
- Tumors in the colon
Symptoms of Constipation in Dogs
The first sign that your dog is constipated is a lack of bowel movements or a change in the regular number of bowel movements they have in a day.
Typically, your dog will poop according to their feeding schedule. For example, if you feed them two meals a day, they're likely to have two bowel movements per day. If your dog is eating on a regular schedule but not pooping, they could be struggling with constipation.
Other clinical signs of constipation include:
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Tense abdomen
- Circling, scooting, or squatting excessively
The Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dog Constipation
If your dog is constipated, coconut oil can be a simple way to ease their pain and help them pass stool quicker.
Coconut oil is made up of medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs. These MCTs are composed of 100% medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which are responsible for many health benefits – and one of these benefits is improved digestion.
When your dog is constipated, especially when that constipation is caused by a change in their diet or ingesting a foreign substance, their gut microbiome is thrown off. This can lead to inflammation of the gut lining, which affects your dog's ability to digest their food properly.
Coconut oil has natural anti-inflammatory properties that help heal injuries in the digestive tract and prevent chronic inflammation. Fatty acids also help your dog better absorb nutrients, which leads to healthier stool.
In addition, coconut oil can help lubricate your dog's intestinal tract. This eases the passage of stool, making it less painful for your pup. Other health benefits of coconut oil for dogs include:
- Antifungal and antibacterial properties
- Improve brain function
- Increase energy
- Soothes itchy, dry skin and reduces allergic skin reactions
- Improves bone health
- Improves coat health
How Much Coconut Oil Should You Give Your Dog?
While coconut oil has many health benefits, it's important not to overfeed
your dog. Some pets – especially those not used to much fat in their diets – may need a while for their digestive systems to adapt. Coconut oil is a healthy fat that benefits the body in many ways, but too much too soon could upset your pet's stomach.
A good starting point is 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of coconut oil per 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) of body weight, given once or twice per day. You can then adjust the amount up or down as needed based on your dog's response. Be sure to start slowly, especially if your dog is not used to fat in their diet and increase the amount gradually over time.
Choosing the Right Coconut Oil for Your Dog
Before introducing coconut oil to your dog, make sure to choose a therapeutic-grade virgin coconut oil that's safe, unrefined, and packed full of beneficial nutrients. Using a therapeutic-grade coconut oil such as CocoTherapy Organic Virgin Coconut Oil ensures that your pup will get the most benefits from coconut oil.
You can mix the coconut oil into your dog's food or let them eat it directly from your fingers or a spoon. Most dogs love the sweet taste of coconut oil and will be more than happy to lap it up!
Other Constipation Remedies for Your Dog
While coconut oil is a great option for constipation, there are a few other at-home solutions you can try to relieve your dog's pain and discomfort.
In many cases, constipation is a result of your dog's diet. Adding more fiber to their food in the form of natural ingredients like unsweetened pumpkin puree or coconut fiber can be a great way to ease your pup's tummy troubles.
Increasing access to fresh water is another great way to fight constipation in dogs. If your four-legged friend is struggling to drink water, consider adding water or broth to their meals to keep them hydrated.
Exercise is also a key factor in a healthy digestive system. Set aside additional time every day to walk or run with your dog, or even just add in some extra playtime each day.
Should You Worry About Your Dog's Constipation?
In many cases, constipation is easily treatable with a better focus on your dog's diet and exercise routines. However, constipation can also be a symptom of other more serious underlying health issues.
If you notice that your dog is struggling with bowel movements or seems generally uncomfortable, consult your veterinarian right away. They can narrow down the cause of your dog's constipation and find a treatment option to get them feeling happy and healthy quickly.
Check out our previous post for more information about how coconut oil supports your dog's digestive system.