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Stool softener for dogs
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Stool softener for dogs

My Min Pin has very large, hard stools. I have tried diet changes but it hasn't helped. Everytime he eliminates, he stands on his front legs to try to get his feces to come out! It is funny, but not for him. Poor little 6 pound dog looks like he is bleeding rectally from these huge stools! I wonder what I can give him outside of a laxative to make his stools softer?
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Hard stools in humans are usually the result of either insufficient water intake or of the body's absorbing excessive liquid out of the stool.  Rarely do dogs have problems with constipation or hard stools, because their gut is pretty short.  Dogs generally don't have enough gut length for too much water to be absorbed.  Loose stools are a much more frequent problem in dogs than hard stools.

Stools form in the colon, and that is where most of the water is absorbed from dietary waste material, in order to form a solid stool.  Your dog's little colon couldn't be more than just a few inches long, and it's probably about the diameter of a pencil, so this situation is very perplexing.  I mean, how much water could possibly be absorbed from a colon that is that size?  

Does he drink enough water?  Do you want to say what kind of diet he eats now, and what kind of dietary changes you have tried already?  Have you tried feeding canned food, which has a higher water content, and did that help?

Okay, this is a total stab in the dark, but some dogs don't like the taste that is imparted by certain water dishes.  I had a dog that did not like to drink out of plastic.  She would drink out of stainless steel, ceramic, glass, or even rubber, but she did not like to drink from plastic.  Could there be something about your dog's water dish or the taste of the water he is getting that is the problem?  Maybe he doesn't like tap water.  Maybe the poor little baby needs bottled water.  Or something.  I don't know.  

Some animals will drink more from running water.  I have heard of people who use a small fountain with clean, recirculating water that is changed daily, in order to encourage small pets to drink.  If you want to try that, I can tell you more about how to set it up.  I used to make a lot of table fountains.

This is another total stab in the dark, but is he taking any medications that could cause a side effect of making his stools hard?  

Maybe this is some kind of MinPin or toy dog issue, which wouldn't be my thing.  I'm stumped.  Maybe somebody is going to come along in five minutes with the exact answer.  Let's hope so.

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Hard stools in humans are usually the result of either insufficient water intake or of the body's absorbing excessive liquid out of the stool.  Rarely do dogs have problems with constipation or hard stools, because their gut is pretty short.  Dogs generally don't have enough gut length for too much water to be absorbed.  Loose stools are a much more frequent problem in dogs than hard stools.

Stools form in the colon, and that is where most of the water is absorbed from dietary waste material, in order to form a solid stool.  Your dog's little colon couldn't be more than just a few inches long, and it's probably about the diameter of a pencil, so this situation is very perplexing.  I mean, how much water could possibly be absorbed from a colon that is that size?  

Does he drink enough water?  Do you want to say what kind of diet he eats now, and what kind of dietary changes you have tried already?  Have you tried feeding canned food, which has a higher water content, and did that help?

Okay, this is a total stab in the dark, but some dogs don't like the taste that is imparted by certain water dishes.  I had a dog that did not like to drink out of plastic.  She would drink out of stainless steel, ceramic, glass, or even rubber, but she did not like to drink from plastic.  Could there be something about your dog's water dish or the taste of the water he is getting that is the problem?  Maybe he doesn't like tap water.  Maybe the poor little baby needs bottled water.  Or something.  I don't know.  

Some animals will drink more from running water.  I have heard of people who use a small fountain with clean, recirculating water that is changed daily, in order to encourage small pets to drink.  If you want to try that, I can tell you more about how to set it up.  I used to make a lot of table fountains.

This is another total stab in the dark, but is he taking any medications that could cause a side effect of making his stools hard?  

Maybe this is some kind of MinPin or toy dog issue, which wouldn't be my thing.  I'm stumped.  Maybe somebody is going to come along in five minutes with the exact answer.  Let's hope so.

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I have heard that if you put pure pumpkin in their food (not pie filling) that it will make the dogs stoold looser or firmer, whichever is needed.  Might be worth a try.
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Ouch...poor dog!  Constipation can become very serious.  Some pets can go from being mildly constipated to a condition known as ostipation...they can't go. This can be a medical emergency.  It can require anesthesia and repeated enemas and manually having to extract the stool.  The colon, the last portion of the intestinal tract can become so stretched out of shape that it loses it ability to contract and push the stool out.  

I would recommend and exam by your veterinarian.  Is there something internal that is keeping the stool from passing normally such as a polyp or tumor within the colon. Sometimes, full anal sacs, the scent glands located right inside of the rectum can become so enlarged and painful that a pet will resist eliminating and cause a secondary constipation.  

Always be sure that your pet is drinking enough water. If it is not a big water drinker, you can add water to its food or add a small amount of broth to its water to make it more enticing.  I have also recommend pet water fountains.  Dogs and cats both seem to like moving, fresh water.

Another tact is adding a probiotic to the diet.  I have found that a 1/2 carton of Activia yogurt for a Min. Pin sized dog with each meal can help to normalize the intestinal flora and result in a more normal bowel movement. Ask your veterinaian about using a product such as Colace. It is not a laxaive.  It simply makes it easier for a pet to pass stool.  This is a human product that can be purchased over the counter without a prescription. The generic name is docusate.  A Min Pin could easily get 1 to 2 100 mg capsules once every other day or so.  Be sure that the pet does not bite the capsule.  It will not have the pet but since it has a soapy taste, it can cause excessive salivation...what a mess.

Hope this information helps...
Dr. Bernadine
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Thank you for the good answers! My dog was examined by a Vet before I adopted him. His anus was getting very large like in prolapse. But the Vet assured me that he did not have that. The tissues were not bleeding but were red from the straining and the hardness of the stool.
He gets ample water and exercise and I have started adding water to his canned food. (he has no teeth) I also add tiny kibble to his canned food and sometimes a little plain metamucil.  His stools are slowly becoming more loose. Just don't want them to become TOO loose! I thought that there was a stool softener on the market that I could use - maybe something that people also use but I guess not.
Anyway, thanks!
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Thanks to both Dr. Bernadine for the input and to JER59 for the follow-up.  
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There is a stool softener called Enulose( Lactalose) that is prescription from the vet.  We have an elderly Aussie that has to stay on this medication due to a hernia surgery some years back.  By the way, it is a human medication also.  Check with your vet for correct dosage.  It works well for our baby.
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I agree with the probiotic or you could try some fish oil or even some bran buds daily.
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