Like humans, dogs can experience constipation. Constipation is the passing of very hard or dry stools, and sometimes the stool becomes so hard it cannot be passed and then the colon becomes impacted. This is a very serious problem that can lead to cancer. In dogs, constipation is normally caused by lack of dietary fibre and lack of exercise. Occasionally it is the result of a dog eating sharp food like gravel or bones which then results in painful stools. There are a few things you can give your dog to help loosen its stools.
Feed your dog high-fibre food. Canned pumpkins are considered to be one of the best stool softeners for dogs so try adding two tablespoons of the pumpkin to each meal. You can also feed your dog high-fibre cereal once a day until the stools become normal. However, avoid cereals that contain chocolate, nuts or raisins.
Give your dog plenty of water. Dehydration is a major cause of constipation so make sure your dog has full-time access to fresh drinking water.
Add psyllium husk seeds in with meals. This is one of the essential ingredients in human stool softeners such as Metamucil. Mix half a teaspoon of the psyllium husks into meals for small dogs, and two teaspoons for larger breeds. The key to psyllium husk is in its ability to absorb water in the intestine and turn it into soft stools.
Add more vegetables into your dog's diet. Choose high-fibre vegetables such as carrot, cabbage and sweet potato. Kelp in particular is very high in fibre and can act as a mild laxative.
Walk your dog every day. Keeping your dog active is crucial to keeping their insides healthy. Often dogs relieve themselves on walks, so this will give you an opportunity to observe the progress of their stools.
Buy an over-the-counter stool softener. If nothing is helping, visit your vet and buy a dog-specific stool softener. Have the vet do a checkup on your dog to make sure nothing else is wrong.