Best Dog Laxatives

Updated January 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

33 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
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198 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best dog laxatives 

Dogs can become constipated for a number of reasons, including (though not limited to) a lack of dietary fiber, insufficient water intake, and a voracious appetite for, well, pretty much everything. If you've noticed your pooch straining to defecate with little to no success, or that stools have suddenly become hard, dry, and compacted, you're probably dealing with a case of canine constipation. When natural remedies fail and underlying medical conditions have been ruled out, a dog laxative can provide some much-needed relief.

Dog laxatives come in a variety of different forms, and choosing the right one for your furry friend can sometimes seem a bit intimidating. Add the possibility of permanent dietary changes, and it's all too easy to feel overwhelmed.

The good news? We're here to help. We've compiled the detailed guide below to help you choose the best dog laxative for your four-legged pal. We've also outlined some of the most common causes of dog constipation and included some product recommendations and great tips to help you keep Rover as regular as clockwork.

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If left untreated, constipation in dogs can lead to loss of appetite and vomiting.

Key considerations

Causes of constipation

Canine constipation can be caused by a wide variety of factors, ranging from simple dietary indiscretion to more serious medical conditions. For this reason, it's always best to have your vet rule out any possible underlying conditions before attempting to treat your dog's constipation at home.

Let's take a quick look at some common causes of dog constipation:

  • Diet: Too little or too much fiber or a sudden change in diet can cause constipation.
  • Dietary indiscretion: Ingestion of inappropriate or indigestible substances, such as dirt, hair, or toys can disrupt a dog’s digestive tract.
  • Insufficient water intake: Dehydration can result in stools that are hard, dry, and small.
  • Age: Older dogs may be more prone to digestive issues.
  • Lack of exercise: Physical activity helps promote regular bowel movements.
  • Fear, anxiety, or other behavioral problems: Behavioral problems can sometimes cause elimination issues.
  • Drugs: Medications, such as antihistamines, pain killers, and diuretics, can sometimes cause constipation.
  • Megacolon: This is a condition in which the colon becomes too enlarged to do its job.
  • Tumors or masses: Growths in the colon or rectum can make it difficult to pass stools.
  • Osteoarthritis, pelvic injuries, or spinal injuries: Certain conditions may make it too painful to squat.
  • Hormonal imbalance: Conditions like hypothyroidism can slow digestion.
  • Blocked or abscessed anal glands: Inflamed anal glands can cause severe pain when passing stools.
  • Matted fur or fecal matter around the anus: If left unattended, matted hair and dried feces can create a physical barrier.
  • Enlarged prostate gland: Prostate swelling can cause pain, pressure, and blockage. 
  • Kidney disease or diabetes: Both conditions can trigger excessive urine production, which signals the colon to hold onto water, leading stools to become dry and hard.

Types of dog laxatives 

Bulk-forming: Also known as fiber supplements, bulk-forming laxatives absorb water and expand in the digestive tract. This in turn creates large, soft stools that are easier to pass. Bulk-forming dog laxatives contain natural, fiber-rich ingredients like psyllium husk, bran, or pumpkin powder and are one of the safest options you can reach for if your dog suffers from chronic constipation.

Lubricant: These laxatives contain lubricating agents like mineral oil or petrolatum that coat the intestines and stool for smoother, faster passage. This slippery coating also helps stools retain moisture by preventing the intestines from absorbing water. Although highly effective, lubricant laxatives are best reserved for occasional use because they can hamper the absorption of certain vitamins.

Emollient: Often referred to as stool softeners, emollient laxatives contain docusate sodium or other anionic surfactants to help stools absorb more water. This moisture boost results in stools that are larger, softer, and easier to pass. Because they reduce the need to strain, emollient laxatives can be particularly helpful for dogs who have recently undergone surgery. However, getting the dosage just right is vital to your dog's health, and these laxatives should only be used as prescribed by a vet.

Route of administration 

More often than not, dog laxatives are administered orally. However, this might not always be possible. Cases that involve a pronounced lack of appetite or vomiting, for instance, may call for a suppository or enema. While both can be purchased over the counter, administering an enema incorrectly can harm your dog. If you think your dog requires an enema, consult your vet before proceeding.

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DID YOU KNOW?
If your four-legged family includes felines, a lubricant laxative will help take care of your kitty's hairballs as well as Fido's constipation.
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Features

Appealing flavors 

Even dogs with the most adventurous palates may turn their noses up at medication unless it's disguised as a tasty morsel. For effortless administration, opt for laxatives that come in dog-friendly flavors and textures. 

Packaging

Clearly marked packaging can help prevent mix-ups with other medications and is certainly a feature worth looking for if your dog takes daily supplements. Also, while easily opened bottles and tubes can be convenient, it's equally important to choose packaging that will preserve any remaining medication when you’re purchasing more than a single dose.

Dosage directions 

Getting the dosage just right is imperative. Too much, and your dog could become ill. Too little, and the laxative might not be effective. The best dog laxatives come with clear, easy to follow dosage directions and offer advice regarding the duration of use, as well as follow-up instructions for unresolved cases of constipation. 

Symptoms of constipation in dogs can sometimes mirror those seen in urinary tract infections. It's always a good idea to rule out this possibility before giving your dog a laxative.

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Accessories

Water fountain: PetSafe Drinkwell Ceramic Pagoda
Insufficient water intake is a leading cause of constipation. It's also vital that dogs drink plenty of water when taking a laxative of any sort. With a pet water fountain, your four-legged friend will have access to clean, fresh water at all times.

Dog probiotics: PetVitalityPRO Probiotics for Dogs
Giving your dog probiotics is an easy way to improve overall digestive health and boost immunity. Probiotics that are enhanced with natural digestive enzymes can help ensure that your pup gets the most out of every meal by assisting with the breakdown and absorption of essential nutrients.

Dog laxative prices

Inexpensive: A single enema and simple bulk-forming laxatives, like psyllium husk or pumpkin powder, typically cost from just under $10 to around $15.

Mid-range: Lubricant laxative gels, yummy high-fiber chews, fiber capsules, and enema multipacks usually cost between $15 and $20.

Expensive: Proprietary fiber blends and larger quantities of simple fiber powders, enema multipacks, and daily digestive health chews cost from $20 to $40.

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CAUTION
Never administer glycerin or oils with a syringe or place them directly into your dog's mouth. These substances have a consistency that's very different from water, and some dogs may breathe them into the lungs rather than swallowing.
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Tips

  • Try a natural remedy first. Adding a couple of tablespoons of canned or boiled pumpkin to your dog's next few meals is a great way to boost fiber and water intake, and it’s often enough to resolve mild cases of constipation. If that doesn't do the trick, mixing a little virgin coconut oil or olive oil into your dog's food might get things moving along. Add 1 teaspoon of oil for every 10 pounds of your dog's total body weight.
  • Get your dog up and moving. Just like us, dogs can feel a little sluggish when constipated. However, physical activity has been shown to help stimulate bowel movements, so don't be tempted to let your dog lie about. Stick to your daily walking schedule or give your dog some motivation to get moving with a game of fetch.
  • Make sure your pooch drinks plenty of water. Adequate water intake is essential for healthy digestion and elimination, so make sure your dog has free and easy access to fresh water at all times. This is especially important when giving your dog a bulk-forming laxative because too much fiber coupled with insufficient water intake could end up making the problem worse.
  • Give it time. Dog laxatives can sometimes take a couple of days to work. Be patient and make sure your dog gets plenty of water and exercise in the meantime.
  • Don't double up the dose. It can be tempting to give your dog an extra dose in the hopes of speeding up the laxative action, but doing so can cause a host of undesirable side effects, including diarrhea, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances. 
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If your dog is on medication for an existing condition, ask your vet before using psyllium husk powder as a bulk-forming laxative because it may interfere with the absorption of certain medicines.

FAQ

Q. How long do dog laxatives take to work?

A. This depends on a number of factors, including the type of laxative you use, the dosage, the cause of your dog's constipation, and the method of administration. Generally, bulk-forming laxatives take from 48 to 72 hours before producing noticeable results. Stool softeners are somewhat quicker and can work anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after dosing. Lubricant laxatives can provide same-day relief and usually take effect within 6 to 8 hours. 

Q. Are laxatives safe for a pregnant dog to take?

A. For the most part, yes, provided your dog is healthy and you reach for a gentle option. We recommend using a simple fiber supplement (bulk-forming laxative), such as psyllium husk powder, and giving your dog plenty of fresh water while you wait for it to work. Twice a day, use 1 teaspoon for dogs weighing between 1 and 10 pounds, 2 teaspoons for dogs between 11 and 30 pounds, and 3 teaspoons for dogs over 30 pounds. If your dog is still showing signs of constipation after a few days, a trip to the vet is your best option.

Q. What should I do if the dog laxative doesn't work?

A. If your dog is still suffering from constipation even after taking a laxative, get it to the vet to rule out the possibility of a more serious condition or intestinal blockage before redosing.

 

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