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Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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my dog cant poop. she tried and just a little bit of fluid

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my dog can't poop. she tried and just a little bit of fluid came out. she won't eat her food or drink out of her bowl. she did eat some chicken out of my hand and seemed hungry. i used a spray bottle to give her water, she's always liked that. the only thing i can think of is that she may have swallowed a piece of a bully stick she was chewing on. she is a boxer who is just under 2 years old. thank you for your help.

Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer! I would like to help you and your Boxer dog with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

One of the big challenges as a vet when a dog is brought in with this type of history is to determine whether the dog is straining due to having stools that are too hard, or whether the dog is straining due to having colitis (an inflammation of the colon).

Please could you bear with me while I ask a few questions to try to determine which this might be. I know that some of these questions might seem odd, but please could you answer them?

Are the stools ever mucoid (jelly like)?

Are the stools soft?

Are the stools hard and dry?

Do they come out as "logs" or as little "nuggets"?

How long has your dog had this problem for?


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
her stools are generally soft and they come out more like logs. she seemed to stop eating sunday night.we have a guest dog that comes over for the weekends so she is usually tired by sunday night. due to this i didn't think much of it until she didn't eat or poop yesterday.
In the last couple of days, has she passed any mucus? the fluid she just passed - was it jelly like?

Any blood?

And has there been any change in her routine, anything that she might have found stressful in the last week?

Holidays? people away? People visiting?

Any recent changes in food?

Has she passed any little hard nuggets of stool (like rabbit droppings) in the last 3 days?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
she always goes a little crazy when her friend shows up for the weekend. the food has remained the same. she has not passed any small hard nuggets recently. my wife is watching her in the backyard right now. she is trying to go but nothing is coming out.


What you are describing in your dog sounds like she may have colitis. This is an inflammation of the colon.

With colitis, dogs tend to have
one or more of the following:

- more frequent bowel movements,

- a sense of urgency (which can lead to accidents in the house),

- frequent, non-productive straining, and

- mucus and even blood on the stools.

The stools often start out a bit soft, or pudding like and become gelatinous, shiny and mucoid as it progresses. The colon normally makes mucus to help the stool to pass along, so when it is inflamed it makes a lot of mucus, and also can have erosions that lead to bleeding.

Constipation is quite rare in dogs, and colitis is REALLY common. With constipation, dogs usually pass little hard "rabbit droppings" and continue to eat quite well. So, I do think that this is colitis and NOT constipation, though a rectal exam would be the only way to really be sure.

Colitis could be caused by a large number of different things. Examples are stress, dietary indiscretion (eating something she shouldn't have), bacterial and viral infections, and parasites. In a sensitive dog, even a one-meal food change could trigger this. It could be due to the bully bone.

If a dog with no history of stress were to come in to my hospital, and we didn't have to consider money (so I could do all the tests I would want to do!) I would start with a physical exam and then a number of tests:

- fecal analysis to rule out hookworms, whipworms and coccidia

- an ELISA test for Giardia. Giardia used to be hard to diagnose, but this test is fast and easy and accurate.

- a fecal smear to look for Campylobacter

- a fecal culture (sent out to a lab) to check for Clostridium or other unusual bacteria. This test takes 3-4 days.

Then, if the dog were my patient, I would see how the dog responded to treatment as follows:

- fibre trial - I would start the dog on Metamucil or canned pumpkin (not pie filler). I usually suggest 1 tsp per 10 lbs body weight given 2 or 3 times a day of Metamucil, or 2 tablespoons twice daily per 10lbs body weight of Pumpkin. Do this for at least one week.

- medication trial:
I would try metronidazole ( as a first line treatment but there are a number other drugs that can be helpful too:
Panacur (fenbendazole, ,
Tylosin ( )
and even steroids (prednisone )

Now, in terms of what people can do at home for dogs that I have seen and diagnosed with colitis, I suggest the following:

1. When she has an episode of diarrhea and/or straining, you should WITH-HOLD FOOD! Do not offer her regular food for 24 hours. This gives the intestines a chance to rest and heal.

*****While she is off her regular food, you can start 2 tablespoons per 10lbs body weight of canned Pumpkin given twice daily. Be sure to use plain canned pumpkin and NOT pie filler!****

2. When she is fasting, she can have lots of clear fluids.

So, water is fine, but also she can have pedialyte, Gatorade, apple juice diluted 50:50 with water, or onion free chicken or beef broth diluted 50:50 with water. Give the fluids in small amounts frequently. For a dog this size that means about 1 cup an hour.

3. After 24 hours if the straining has stopped, you can start your dog back on a bland diet.

For patients that I see, I recommend a mixture of 75% cooked white rice, and 25% low fat protein. For the protein you could use extra lean ground beef, boiled with the fat scooped off, or chicken breast boiled with fat scooped off or even scrambled egg cooked without fat in the microwave. Feed small frequent meals. For a dog this size, I would suggest 1/2 cup every 3 to 4 hours.

4. After 1-2 days on the rice mix, you would gradually change your dog back to the normal diet and food. So, on day 3, give the rice mixture, but bigger meals, spaced further apart. On day 4, mix a little tiny bit of the normal food in there, and decrease the frequency so it is down to 3 meals or so. And so on.

5. Keep your dog as quiet as possible - just out to relieve herself and back in.

I'll give you links to further information:

In terms of preventing this problem, it is very helpful to have dogs prone to this on a bit of OAT bran (very important it is OAT bran and not wheat bran) in their food daily. For a dog this size, I would suggest 2-4 teaspoons daily, divided between her meals.

Alternatively, you may just wish to keep her on the Metamucil or canned pumpkin. Many people find that if they freeze a can of canned pumpkin in an ice cube tray, they can just add a cube to the dog's meals easily.

Also, you may wish to consider a DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) diffuser to decrease stress if this has been a factor in the last few weeks. It contains a smell that calms dogs, but is not a drug and is perfectly safe. It has no odour to humans.

Here is more about them:

Another option would be to give her a very safe anti-anxiety mixture called Composure Liquid from Vetri Science. It is composed of a protein extract from a milk product and a soy product plus a few other things. It seems to work great for dogs that are stressed.

Another thing that you could try would be Rescue Remedy.
More about it here:

It is pretty widely available at health food stores. If you don't have one near you, here is a link:

I have found the results variable with Rescue remedy. Some dogs do seem more relaxed with Rescue Remedy, some don't seem to have any change with its use. But it is safe!

The other thing that I wanted to mention is that if your girl were my patient, I would put her on a probiotic. They are very safe and help a lot of dogs! It just helps to promote the growth of "good" bacteria and reduce the "bad" bacteria in a natural and safe way. You can use FortiFlora products which are available from your veterinarian, or you can use Culturelle which is available at pharmacies in the USA. For the Culturelle, a 60lb dog would get 1-2 capsules daily sprinkled on her food.

Here are links:

If your girl continues to strain, or starts to pass blood or mucus, or begins vomiting, or loses her appetite, then a call to your vet would be in order. Your vet may want to start her on metronidazole which is very quickly effective at helping to make dogs with colitis feel better.

I hope that helps you. If this has been helpful, please hit the green "Accept" button and leave feedback.

If you need more information, just click on reply and I will still be here to provide it!

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
do you think that the bully bone is stuck in her or the bully bone may have caused colitis. another question is do the remedies break down the bully bone allowing her to pass it.
Usually, if a bully bone or something like that is stuck, it is going to be stuck in the stomach or in the small intestines. With that, we would see vomiting.

If things manage to squeeze through the small intestines, they are not likely to get stuck in the large intestines. As the name suggests, the large intesines are MUCH larger.

So, while I do think the bully bone could be the cuprit, it is not because I think it is stuck. Instead, I think that it is quite rich, and also because it is hard to digest, it can cause irritation if a large chunk goes through.

Usually, when dogs eat things that they should not (plastic, socks, etc) they make their way through the intestines in about 24 hours, though it can sometimes take 3 days.

I would be much more concerned about your dog if she were vomiting, particularly if she could not keep water down.

So, it is unlikely the bone is stuck, but quite possible that the excitement of her weekend and the irritation to her intestines of a chunk of bully bone passing through has combined to give her colitis.

Hope that helps!

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