Your assessment results for:

Difficulty Urinating or Defecating (Straining)

Urgency level: Medium priority

Contact your family veterinary practice in 1-2 days if not resolved, or if the situation gets worse

What to do next

Monitor your dog at home for new or worsening symptoms

  • Monitor your dog closely for any new symptoms or changes in behavior. Contact your regular veterinary hospital if the straining lasts for more than 3 days or if they display any of the following:
    • Distress or pain when defecating
    • Vomiting
    • Inappetence (not eating)
    • Repeated bloody stool
    • Distended (swollen) belly
    • Lethargy 
  • Do not give your dog laxatives without first consulting a veterinarian.


Why it’s medium priority

Mild cases of constipation may resolve with home management

  • Difficulty passing stool doesn’t always require immediate veterinary attention, but a complete inability to pass waste is a more urgent matter.
  • Based on the fact that your dog is showing minor signs of straining, it may resolve on its own with rest and home management.
  • Some causes of straining that do not require immediate veterinary attention include constipation and inappropriate diet.


Home care tips

Feed a bland diet and regularly exercise your dog

  • You can feed a bland diet of rice and boiled chicken or add pumpkin to their diet.
  • If your dog is constipated, mix a little water in their food to prevent them from dehydration. Make sure they always have access to clean water.
  • Make sure your dog is getting regular exercise, as it could help move things along their gastrointestinal system.
  • Learn more about constipation in dogs


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.