Hello, as a licensed veterinarian I am happy to assist you!
I am sorry to hear that Jonah isn't quite himself! There are a few different possibilities for the signs you note:
- Constipation: especially as dogs get older, they can more easily become constipated, which can make it harder for them to go to the bathroom and can lead to straining, pain or discomfort while going, and even lethargy due to discomfort. For this, you may want to try increasing his drinking as well as add some fiber to his diet. This can be done by offering him some low-sodium chicken
broth once or twice per day to encourage more drinking, and by giving him a tablespoon of canned pumpkin (plain pumpkin not pie filling) with a meal once per day. This may help get his GI tract moving more normally, as well as keep him (and his feces) better hydrated.
- Anal gland impaction or mass: Problems with the anal glands can cause problems with defecating, often by obstructing the anal opening. This can lead to the signs you note as well. For this reason, I do think it is worth a trip to his vet, so a rectal exam can be performed. His vet can then empty his anal glands if need be, and feel to see if there are any masses.
- Gastrointestinal disease: some GI diseases may cause constipation, such as parasites. When you bring Jonah to his vet bring a sample of his feces with you so they can do a fecal exam and check for any parasites or other concerns.
- Neurologic disease: in rare cases, degeneration or trauma to the nerves that are involved in defecation can affect a dog's ability to defecate normally. I would consider this an unlikely cause.
Thank you for your question- I hope you find this information useful! Please feel free to respond with additional questions. Once you are satisfied with my answer, please remember to rate my answer so I receive credit for my time.
All the best to you and Jonah,