Constipated Puppy and Litter

Reader Question: Can litter cause puppy constipation?

I have noticed that my dog is yelping when pooping and not really producing much. I also know that she has been in the litter box one to many times. Will the litter constipate her?

Suggestion from Our Veterinarian

Constipation in dogs, especially in young puppies may be caused by a number of reasons. One of the reason for constipation may be the one you mentioned, i.e. litter may cause constipation. But, there are conditions which should be considered.

A dog with behaviors such as roaming around in a litter box and in worst cases eating the litter in certain quantities can result in gastro-intestinal problems. Dogs may like to eat litter because it is rich in proteins and some dogs may like taste of it. Thus, a dog may get constipated if it eats litter in large quantities.

On the other hand, a litter box, especially one which is not cleaned frequently is home to microbes and parasites, which may cause problems in gastro intestinal tract. Even if the dog does not consume litter, mild infection around the anal region can cause signs of strained and painful, yet unproductive defecation.

In short… it is possible that litter can constipate a dog if it consumes a large quantities of litter or gets infested with microbes and parasites in litter box.
You can work on keeping your dog away from litter, keep her hydrated and use some common laxatives to handle the condition. Check for any lesions around anal region, and if problem persists, you should consult a veterinarian for detailed examination.

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