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    Painful Defecation in Dogs: Causes and Treatment

    What’s Causing Your Dog’s Pain?

    Common causes of painful defecation in dogs include:

    Diarrhea

    Many things can lead to diarrhea in dogs, including inflammatory bowel disease, medications, allergies, food poisoning, parasites, a change in diet, and gastrointestinal infections.

    Symptoms of diarrhea are pretty easy to spot: loose, liquid, or frequent stools. As with so many conditions, treatment depends on the cause of the diarrhea and may include dietary changes, fluid therapy to prevent dehydration, and occasionally antibiotics if an infection is identified.

    Get your dog vet care right away if he has more than one episode of diarrhea, is lethargic, has a fever, blood in the stool, or black, tarry stool.

    Constipation

    Like diarrhea, constipation in dogs can be caused by a wide range of things, including certain drugs, intestinal obstruction, enlarged prostate or lymph nodes, dehydration, tumors, and neuromuscular problems.

    Signs of constipation include: straining to defecate; firm, dry or ribbon-like feces; depression; lethargy; vomiting; loss of appetite; and stomach pain. Treating constipation depends on its cause, though for mild constipation a high-fiber diet, plenty of water, and laxatives as prescribed by your vet may be all the treatment needed.

    If the constipation is serious, manual removal of impacted feces under general anesthesia may be necessary.

    Foreign Object

    Some dogs have a habit of eating inedible objects like pebbles, bones, or used food wrappers, for example. If your dog does this, it could be the source of your canine companion's painful defecation.

    Treatment will depend on the object ingested, the dog’s symptoms, and a physical exam, so always consult your vet if your dog has swallowed something inedible.

    Consider it an emergency if your dog has swallowed string or something with string attached. If the item lodges in one spot, the string can act like a saw, perforating the intestine and leading to life-threatening peritonitis -- inflammation of the abdominal lining.

    Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis

    Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is distinguished by a sudden onset of bloody vomit and diarrhea in a previously healthy dog. The feces can often look like strawberry jam. Take your dog to the vet immediately if he shows these symptoms as untreated hemorrhagic gastroenteritis can be fatal.

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