Your assessment results for:

Difficulty Urinating or Defecating (Straining)

Urgency level: High priority

Contact your regular veterinary hospital

What to do next

Contact your regular animal hospital ASAP to make arrangements

  • If your regular veterinary hospital is open, contact them now. If they are closed, it is probably safe to wait until morning.
  • Monitor your dog closely for any new symptoms or changes in behavior. If your dog shows any of the following symptoms, contact an emergency veterinary hospital right away:
    • Lethargic or weakness
    • Signs of pain or distress
    • Distended (swollen) belly
    • Cannot keep water down
  • Do not feed your dog unless the vet advises otherwise. It may worsen the condition of your dog and may impact the results of X-rays if the vet recommends radiographs. Do not remove their water.
  • If possible, collect a urine/fecal sample.
  • If your dog is being treated with chemotherapy, gut problems may occur – contact your oncologist for further advice.


Why it’s high priority

Partial inability to urinate or pass waste can worsen into a life-threatening situation

  • Difficulty passing waste doesn’t always require immediate veterinary attention, but partial blockage of the urinary tract or a complete inability to pass waste is a more urgent matter.
  • Based on the other signs you’ve selected, your dog could have a condition that requires veterinary attention as soon as possible.
  • Some of the conditions we are worried about include colitis, urinary tract infection, and constipation.


Home care tips

Restrict exercise

  • Restrict exercise to short bathroom breaks only.
  • Remember not to feed your dog until you’ve checked with a vet, but ensure they have access to water.


Talk to a veterinarian now

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Please note that our Symptoms Assessments and Results are intended for informational purposes only, and not a medical diagnosis. Our goal is to help pet owners make an informed decision about if, when and how urgently they need to seek veterinary care. Using our site should not and does not replace a consultation with a veterinarian.