dog constipation laxative

Stool Softener for Dogs: Can I give my dog a laxative?

Our pets are family and we often think of them as a miniature version of ourselves. When it comes to over-the-counter medication such as laxatives (both oral and rectal), we may think it’s safe and harmless to give our dog a dose since we already have it in our medicine cabinet. Keep reading to learn why you should NEVER give your dog human laxatives for constipation without first consulting your vet.

This article was written by a FirstVet vet

Did you know that FirstVet offers video calls with experienced vets? You can get a consultation within 30 minutes by downloading the FirstVet app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

While there are laxatives specifically labeled for dogs, you should NEVER give your dog human laxatives without first consulting your vet. Laxatives labeled for humans can cause severe symptoms when given to dogs, leading to serious or even fatal complications. ALWAYS consult a licensed veterinarian before giving any medications to your dog, including over-the-counter medications such as laxatives.

How do I know if my dog needs a laxative?

If your dog passes small, hard stools, or postures to have a bowel movement but doesn’t produce any stool, your dog may be constipated. Constipation can be uncomfortable and even painful for your dog so it’s understandable that you want to help.

Follow this link for some at-home remedies you can try to help safely alleviate your dog’s constipation.

When should I take my dog to a veterinarian?

Please note that if your dog has been constipated for two days or longer and/or straining or crying out when trying to produce stool, schedule an appointment with your vet right away.

Chronic constipation can quickly turn into an emergency situation that causes dehydration, decreased appetite, weight loss, vomiting, severe pain, infection, and more. If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, she may need more aggressive care and hospitalization.

What do I do if I already gave my dog a human laxative?

Don’t panic but DO call a vet or the Pet Poison Helpline. Make sure you have the following information when you call:

  • Name of the medication
  • Strength of the medication (listed on the container)
  • Amount that you gave your dog
  • When did you give the medication to your dog
  • Any symptoms your dog is having

Bring the medication container with you to the veterinary hospital.

Read more:

Constipation in Dogs

Straining to Eliminate: First Aid

Have more questions about laxatives or your dog's constipation?

Schedule a video consultation to speak with one of our veterinarians.

This article was written by a FirstVet vet

Did you know that FirstVet offers video calls with experienced vets? You can get a consultation within 30 minutes by downloading the FirstVet app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

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