Health Topics  >  Digestive  >  Constipation

What is constipation in dogs?

Infrequent or absent bowel movements that also produce hard and/or dry poop is one of the most common issues that dog owners experience. It’s a sign that something may be wrong with your dog’s digestive system (i.e. something blocking a part of the gastrointestinal tract, causing a buildup of feces in the lower bowel or colon), and there are many possible causes.

If the constipation becomes chronic and severe, it’s likely that your dog has obstipation, often associated with a more serious medical condition. Obstipation may become irreversible if left untreated, so it’s important to monitor the severity of the situation closely.

Refer to the Bristol Stool Chart below to help determine what healthy dog stool looks like.

How to use the Bristol Stool Chart:

The Bristol Stool Chart or Bristol Stool Scale is a medical aid designed to classify stools (known as ‘feces’ or ‘poop’) into seven groups.You can use the Bristol Stool Chart to check what your dog’s stools are telling you.

Every dog will have different bowel habits, but the important thing is that your dog’s stools are soft and easy to pass – like types 3 and 4 below.

  • Type 1-2 indicate constipation
  • Type 3-4 are ideal stools as they are easier to pass, and
  • Type 5-7 may indicate diarrhea and urgency.