Have you noticed your canine companion straining to poop or not pooping as usual? Like humans, dogs can sometimes have trouble passing poop, which can get frustratingly uncomfortable. Worse still, canine constipation intensifies the longer it goes on. The stool sits in the large intestine and becomes harder and drier, making it increasingly difficult to pass out.
Dog parents seeking remedies to ease their canine’s constipation have come across suggestions for using coconut oil. But can coconut oil offer relief to constipating dogs?
Coconut oil has numerous benefits for our canine companions. Because of its particular fatty acid content, the oil benefits dogs in various ways, including improved heart and brain function and digestive health.
Dog Constipation: What is it?
When Fido is suffering from constipation, they have difficulty passing stool. Your pup’s stool can be hard, lumpy, and dry, or often, your dog can strain and produce no stool at all. Adding coconut oil to your dog’s diet is believed to help improve their digestion and prevent constipation.
Why Do Dogs Experience Constipation?
Like humans, dogs can eat what they aren’t supposed to and end up with various digestive problems, including constipation. This can occur due to several reasons, which we highlight below:
- Lack of fiber: When your dog’s fiber intake is low, or there’s an over-consumption of binding foods like bananas, rice, or potassium-rich foods, it’ll suffer from constipation. Fiber helps bulk up stool and slow digestion to maximize nutrient absorption.
- Consumption of indigestible items: It is no news that dogs love eating weird things. Many of our furry friends habitually munch on inedible substances like toilet paper, socks, cardboard, sticks, or bone matter. These items can get stuck in your dog’s colon, slowing the digestive system and blocking poop from passing out.
- Stress or anxiety: An anxious or stressed dog may not efficiently digest all its food, causing a large portion of food to end up as waste. The under-digested food can cause obstruction or blockage in your dog’s intestines leading to constipation. You’ll notice Fido’s bowel movements becoming sparse or absent.
- Tumors: When something is blocking the movement of poop along your dog’s colon, it could be due to cancerous or enlarged prostate, especially in male dogs. Lymph nodes and tumors in the rectum or anal glands can also press in on the colon, causing a blockage.
- Yeast infections: An imbalance in your dog’s gut microflora can lead to an influx of bacteria known as Candida Albicans. This bacteria is the culprit behind yeast infections in humans and dogs. If left untreated, it causes a lot of health complications, including urinary tract infection (UTI). So, what does this have to do with canine constipation? UTI is extremely painful and can put your dog off defecating due to the pain. This can lead to a build-up of stool and cause your pup to be constipated.
- Poor nutrient absorption: An overabundance of bacteria and fungi can cause digestive issues in your canine. It can cause bloating, abdominal pain or cramps, and poor nutrient absorption. Place your hand on your dog’s stomach. Does it feel distended or hard? Your dog might be bloated. Do they whimper in pain if you press underneath your pup’s tummy? It might be due to cramps or pain in the digestive tract. If your canine companion is experiencing pain in their stomach, they may be hesitant to pass stool which can lead to constipation.
Symptoms of Constipation in Dogs
If your dog is having difficulties with regular bowel movements or is passing infrequent, hard, dry stools, it’s a sign they are constipated. Other symptoms of constipation in dogs include:
- Lack of appetite
- Scooting their butt along the ground
- Hard stool
- Yelping or whining when trying to go
- Weight loss
- Squatting frequently
- Licking their rear end
If you notice any of these symptoms, your dog must be treated immediately. The good news is there’s a natural, inexpensive, and effective way to restore your dog’s health – coconut oil.
Can Coconut Oil Help Dogs With Constipation?
Coconut oil offers numerous benefits, and one of them is boosting digestion. This is because it is a good source of MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides) that have a beneficial effect on the gut microbiome of dogs and can help ease constipation.
Studies show that coconut oil is a laxative or stool softener and can help loosen impacted stool. It also lubricates the intestinal lining making it easy for stool to pass. Lubrication is crucial if your dog has been wolfing on raw bones or gobbling rabbit litter which can make their stool dry and hard.
Coconut oil is also antibacterial and antimicrobial due to the fatty acids lauric and caprylic acid. It also aids in digestion by killing the harmful overgrowth of certain bacteria and fungi in the gut. Moreover, it is anti-inflammatory and may help ease inflammation and improve the health of your pup’s colon.
These anti-inflammatory compounds in coconut oil can help reduce bloating when your pup is constipated.
Can Dogs Be Allergic to Coconut Oil?
Although it is uncommon, your dog may be allergic to coconut oil. If you notice an adverse reaction like a rash, face rubbing, or wheezing after your dog has coconut oil, discontinue its use and monitor your dog. If it doesn’t recover within two days, call your vet.
How Much Coconut Oil is Okay for Dogs With Constipation?
When starting your dog on coconut oil, go slow. Offer at most a teaspoon of coconut oil per 10 pounds of body weight. Keep it at ¼ teaspoon of coconut oil twice daily for puppies and small dogs, ½ teaspoon for medium dogs, and 1 teaspoon for large dogs. Increase to the optimum dosage only if there’s no adverse reaction.
And not all coconut oil is the same, so we recommend you buy organic, unrefined, virgin coconut oil. Drizzle it on your dog’s kibble or mix it with high-quality wet food and monitor its reaction. If your pup’s stool is normal, it’s a sign you can increase the amount with each meal.
However, if your dog is overweight or obese, offer coconut oil only once daily because of its high-fat content. Also, monitor your dog for weight gain if you regularly feed it coconut oil. Do not give coconut oil to pups prone to pancreatitis.
How Long Before Coconut Oil Relieves Constipation in Dogs?
It may take 2-4 hours after consuming coconut oil for your dog to feel the urge to poop. While waiting for the laxative effect of coconut oil to kick in, you can indulge your dog in some light exercises. Your canine’s bowel movements might just arrive in less than an hour.
Is Fido straining to go with nothing coming out? Then your dog most likely has constipation. The good thing is most constipation cases in dogs are short-term and can be treated at home with coconut oil.
If you’re concerned about your dog’s constipation, contact your vet to help determine if they’ll need medical treatment to get things going again.