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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19828
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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Difference between blockage and constipation
, is a 13

Customer Question

Customer: difference between blockage and constipation
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: ***** ***** is a 13 year old large sized pom (22 lbs) who had a normal movement this morning. This afternoon he duckwalked the entire back yard for about 5 minutes and was also trying to eat grass. My husband gave him a little bit of duck jerky which he ate with no problem.
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

With an obstruction, a dog will be unable to defecate even when they want to. They usually will try and defecate but not be able to. In addition, since the fecal matter has no normal route of exit from the body, you often see vomiting of matter that can look or smell like fecal matter. In many cases, the dog will stop eating with both constipation and obstruction.

I'd check ***** *****'s rectal area looking for swelling around the rectal area. This would be to rule out anal gland issues. Since you have had him some time, I'm pretty sure you know about anal glands. If for some reason you do not, let me know and I'll give you information on that. Also make sure there is no fecal matter hardened around the rectum that might prevent normal passing of fecal matter. Often a dog with either of these problems will duck walk as they don't want to pull the skin in the rectal area.

Now it might also be a foreign object moving through his system. Things like pigs ears, rawhide, bones and foreign objects can cause discomfort moving through the system which can also cause a dog to walk a little weird as it moves through the bowels.

Since your dog indeed had a bowel movement today, I wouldn't jump to obstruction. Let me give you some tips for constipated dogs which you might try tomorrow if he still doesn't defecate. If your dog is experiences constipation on a regular basis you should add roughage to his diet such as canned pumpkin (not pie filling kind) or Metamucil. A spoon full of pumpkin on the dog's food should keep his bowels hydrated and his feces soft enough to pass.

A one time use of a spoon of mineral oil on his food can also be used to relieve constipationbut should not be used all the time. What seems to work for me in most cases is methods used for puppies. I first try lubricating a rectal thermometer and take the dogs temperature. This frequently stimulates them into going. If this fails and you have a nasal bulb syringe (aspirator), you can put warm water in it and gently squeeze a small amount into the rectum like an enema and see if this doesn't help.

You can use a children’s glycerin suppository depending on the size of your dog but the other methods are what I recommend you try first.

If your dog does develop symptoms of an obsturction such as vomiting, not eating or drinking, severe abdominal pain, and is unable to defecate then ***** ***** will need to see a vet and not treatment for constipation.. The above signs could indicate an intestinal obstruction, which you can read about here:

Let me give you a few things to always keep in mind. if your dog becomes dehydrated. You can tell by pulling up the skin between his shoulder blades and seeing if it flows back down normally. If it stays tented or is slow to return to normal, your dog is dehydrated and needs fluids immediately and should see a vet as soon as possible. If gums and tongue become pale and not a normal pink color or the rectal temperature is over 103F (101-102F is normal) or your dog becomes lethargic and non-responsive, your dog should also see a vet as soon as possible.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer so I am compensated for my time.

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Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.