How to Make a Dog Have a Bowel Movement

Written by rena sherwood
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How to Make a Dog Have a Bowel Movement
More exercise can help a dog have a bowel movement. (dog image by Marek Kosmal from

Normally, dogs have at least one bowel movement every 24 hours, according to "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook." Constipation is a common and painful condition in dogs. A constipated dog either cannot pass stool at all or passes very small, hard and often dark stool. Constipation occurs more often in older dogs than younger dogs, although dogs of all ages can get it, including newborn puppies. If a dog does not have a bowel movement in 48 hours, please contact a vet.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Water bowl
  • 1 to 5 tsp wheat bran or psyllium husks
  • Collar or chest harness and leash
  • Veterinarian (if necessary)

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  1. 1

    Make sure the dog drinks more water. This helps the bowels to loosen. Lack of water can cause constipation. If the dog does not seem to be interested in drinking more water out of its regular water bowl, get a second water bowl and place it in a new area of the yard or home. The novelty of a new water source may tempt the dog to drink more.

  2. 2

    Add fibre to the dog's regular food. Add 1 to 5 tsp of wheat bran or psyllium husks for people. Use less for small dogs, more for large dogs. For dogs with teeth problems, soak their kibble or dry food for about 20 minutes in water. Dry food tends to have more fibre than canned or semi-moist food. Give puppies 1 tsp of olive oil mixed in their canned food. If out of olive oil, give the puppy 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of cow's milk. Do not give any more or the puppy may get diarrhoea.

  3. 3

    Put a collar or chest harness on the dog and give the dog more exercise, especially if the dog is elderly. Lack of exercise can cause the bowels to become sluggish.

Tips and warnings

  • If the dog will not eat food with psyllium husks or is not drinking more water, try feeding anywhere from 1 tsp to 1/2 cup of plain canned pumpkin. This tasty treat contains water and fibre, according to "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook."
  • Some medications can cause constipation in dogs, including antacids, antihistamines and diuretics. Call a vet to see if the dosage should be reduced.
  • Iron nutritional supplements also can cause constipation. Always check with a vet before giving any nutritional supplements to pets.
  • Never try to treat constipation with home remedies if the dog or puppy also is vomiting or crying out in pain when passing stool. These could be the signs of a foreign object blocking the digestive tract.

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