Home Remedies for Pet Constipation

murphy-constipated
When Murphy suffered from a recent bought of constipation, a little bit of MiraLax did the trick. (Photo by Alissa Wolf)

Like humans, dogs and cats may experience occasional irregularity, as my Murphy recently did. While constipation can be a symptom of serious health issues such as hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, megacolon, intestinal parasites or ingestion of a foreign object — all of which should be ruled out by a veterinarian — the periodic inability to poop could just be a passing anomaly.

In Murphy’s case, I do everything right. I primarily feed him grain-free wet food, which is important for keeping cats hydrated, and provide him with fresh filtered water at all times, which he drinks liberally. But he does suffer from fur balls, which can lead to constipation in cats.

Signs of Constipation in Pets

For dog parents, the signs are easy to detect; your dog attempts to poop when you walk him, but cannot, and may develop gas, bloating and exhibit signs of pain. As for cats, this may be a little harder to detect, especially if you have more than one kitty. I became aware of Murphy’s issue when I noticed that he would make frequent trips to the litter box, but would not defecate. Plus, he would cry when he attempted to poop. So I tried some home remedies that worked.

OTC Laxatives that are Safe for Pets

Believe it or not, such over-the-counter people laxatives as MiraLax and Metamucil can do wonders for relieving the occasional bout of constipation in both dogs and cats. Even veterinarians, both traditional and holistic vets, approve of this.

However, administering the proper dosage is very important. As a guideline, I added ⅛ of a teaspoon to Murphy’s wet food once daily for four days. The dosages for pets vary by species and weight, so consult with your veterinarian to determine the proper amount to give your pet.

Natural Remedies to Help Cure and Prevent Pet Poop Issues

There are a number of natural foods and at-home products you can also use to keep your pets regular:

Coconut Oil: As I mentioned in my viral article on the subject, this miracle food has a variety of health benefits; relief of constipation is among them. Once again, proper dosage is important, as too much can cause tummy aches and diarrhea. It’s also important to start with a lower dose for three or four days, then increase this to the maximum amount.

For cats, puppies and small breed dogs, start with ¼ teaspoon placed in wet food once daily, then increase to ½ teaspoon. For larger dog breeds, you can start with 1 teaspoon per day, then gradually increase to 2 teaspoons. Just be sure to use cold-pressed 100 percent extra-virgin organic coconut oil.

Pumpkin: Another super food that is jam-packed with fiber, vitamins such as A and E, anti-oxidants and moisture, pureed canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!) has the dual benefit of relieving both constipation and diarrhea in dogs and cats.

Once again, administering the proper amount is important and will vary based on your pet’s size and species. Cats and small dogs might do well with one or two teaspoons per day (placed in canned food), while large dogs such as Great Danes and mastiffs might require as much as ½ cup.

Water Helps to Keep Pets Pooping Properly

Regardless of the remedy you choose, remember that hydration is the foundation for keeping your pets healthy and happy. Ensure that they have a supply of fresh, pure H2O at all times. If you are away from home for long periods of time during the day, you might consider a pet fountain or water tower.

It’s also a great idea to primarily feed your pets wet as opposed to dry foods/kibble, because this will further aid in keeping them properly hydrated.

Smucker Recalls Canned Cat Foods

cat-food-recallThe J.M. Smucker Company of Orville, Ohio, has issued a voluntary recall of certain varieties of 9Lives, Special Kitty and Ever Pet canned cat foods due to the detection of low levels of thiamine (vitamin B1).

A quality control team discovered the issue during a routine review of production records at the manufacturing plant. The lots were distributed to retailers between Dec. 20, 2016 and Jan. 3, 2017.

Cats who consume foods that are deficient in this essential vitamin over a period of a few weeks may develop decreased appetite, vomiting, weight loss and neurological issues such as seizures.

So far, no sick kitties have been reported. But if your cat does display any of these symptoms, you are advised to take them to the vet immediately. If detected and treated early, these issues are curable.

You can view a full list of the recalled products by clicking here.

The FDA states that pet parents who have cans of food from the affected lots should stop feeding this to their cats immediately. If you have any further questions, you can call the J.M. Smucker Company at (80) 828-9980 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, or contact them via email at consumer.relations@jmsmucker.com.