There are a couple of signs that your dog is constipated. As well as a lack of stools for a couple of days, you may notice them straining when they’re crouched down and making noises of pain, such as yelps.
Of course, nobody likes seeing their pet in pain, and you’ll probably want to find medication that can relieve them of their discomfort quickly. Miralax is a popular quick solution that dog owners often turn to when their dog is constipated.
But Miralax is a laxative medication that is meant for humans. However, a quick internet search will bring up pet owners recommending Miralax for constipated dogs and cats too. So can your dog take Miralax and is it safe? Below we’ll go into what side effects there are to Miralax, if it’s safe, and some alternatives to Miralax to relieve your dog of their constipation.
So can your dog take Miralax and is it safe? Below we’ll go into what side effects there are to Miralax, if it’s safe, and some alternatives to Miralax to relieve your dog of their constipation.
Reasons Your Dog Could Be Constipated
Dogs get constipated from time to time, and it’s often not anything you need to worry about. You may notice your dog is constipated if they’re straining a lot without producing anything, or their stools are unusually hard, and you find them in strange places.
Your dog might be constipated for a few reasons. It’s no secret that dogs frequently eat things they are not supposed to, such as bones, stones, dirt, and gravel and even some plants. The stools produced after dogs have eaten these unusual items may be painful to pass, which leads to more straining and your dog becoming uncomfortable.
If you have an older dog, constipation may be caused by an electrolyte imbalance that should be checked by a vet. Constipation may be an indicator of a metabolic issue like insufficient kidney function, which is a more serious problem. If your dog is old and frequently constipated, then contact your vet.
Another problem faced by older male dogs is an enlarged prostate. Their prostate sits just below the colon and can actually press down on the colon, narrowing it. Neutering normally solves this concern, but an enlarged prostate can also be a sign of a prostate tumor. Your vet can check if this is the case with a prostate exam, or a radiograph to better see the size of your dog’s prostate.
An internal obstruction may also be causing constipation. For example, if your dog has been hit by a car and suffered a fractured pelvis, it could lead to constipation. These types of injuries often heal without surgery, but the pelvic canal that the stool passes through can become narrow, causing constipation.
You may not even notice this straight away, either. Again, contact your vet so they can give your dog a radiograph of their abdomen.
Some medications such as sucralfate can also cause your dog to be constipated.
Mild Constipation vs Severe Constipation
There are a couple of signs to look out for to check if your dog is severely constipated, or just mildly constipated.
If your dog is straining to defecate, taking longer than usual to defecate, appears uncomfortable while defecating, or is producing small amounts of feces that are harder than normal, then they are only mildly constipated.
This is where remedies like Miralax, or some of the home remedies I mention below, come in.
However, if your dog is uncomfortable, not eating, vomiting, seems weak or lethargic, hasn’t defecated in over three days, has blood in their stool or has an obviously distended belly then they are suffering from severe constipation and need urgent medical attention.
Determining The Correct Dosage of Miralax For Your Dog
You should not give your dog high doses of Miralax and you should modify your dosage depending on the size of your dog. The side effects can be serious if the instructions are not carefully followed. No matter how big your dog however, Miralax should only be given twice daily, every 12 hours.
The typical dosage guidelines would be to give small dogs ⅛ to ¼ teaspoons of Miralax, medium-sized dogs ¼ to ½ teaspoons, and large dogs ½ to ¾ teaspoons of Miralax.
However, it can be hard to determine and gauge if your dog is considered small, medium or large, which makes figuring out what dosage they need confusing. However, other guidelines focus more on the specific weight of the dog. The general rule being that you should give your dog 1 teaspoon of Miralax a day for every 50 lbs they weigh, or ⅕ a teaspoon for every 10 lbs.
Therefore, a 70 lbs dog should have 1 and ⅖ of a teaspoon every 24 hours, while a 50 lbs dog should receive 1 teaspoon every 24 hours. A 40 lbs dog should receive ⅘ of a teaspoon every 24 hours, and a 30 lbs dog should receive ⅗ of a teaspoon every 24 hours. A 20 lbs dog should receive ⅖ of a teaspoon every 24 hours, and a 10 lbs dog should receive ⅕ of a teaspoon every 24 hours.
Of course, you should always check the dosage of Miralax you want to give to your dog with your vet. After all, Miralax is intended for humans first and foremost, and so the dosage amounts on the packaging will not apply to dogs.
When giving your dog any form of laxative, you should make sure they’re properly hydrated. This helps to soften the stools and make them easier for your dog to pass. The recommended way to administer Miralax to your dog is to put it in their food, mixing it well, so it’s not visible to your dog.
How Miralax Works For Your Dog
Miralax helps to make your dog’s stool loose by stimulating the nerves in the colon and causing muscle contractions that help the stool pass through the colon. Miralax has an osmotic effect, meaning it increases the water content in the stool and makes it easier to pass through your dog’s digestive system.
Vets online and dog-owners have said that Miralax can ease your dog’s constipation within 48 hours. If it does not work, your dog’s constipation may be due to a serious problem, and you should consult your vet immediately.
Miralax should not be taken with other medication, as the medication may prevent the Miralax from absorbing into your dog’s system. If your dog does take medication however and is still constipated, Miralax should be issued two hours before or after your dog has taken their other medication so the Miralax can be at its most effective.
Potential Miralax Side Effects
Some pet owners have reported that their dogs experienced side effects after taking Miralax such as vomiting and diarrhea. This may be because Miralax contains an ingredient called polyethylene glycol, which some dogs can react negatively to, causing them to vomit. Meanwhile, diarrhea can also be caused by your dog not agreeing with the polyethylene glycol or because your dog received too much Miralax.
Some other pet-owners reported that too much Miralax can also lead to pancreatitis. Too much Miralax can overwhelm your dog’s pancreas and cause the pancreas to break down.
This is why it’s so important to consult your vet before you give your dog Miralax, or any medication that is only really meant for humans.
Alternatives to Miralax
Your vet can prescribe other suitable medication for your dog’s constipation, but there are also natural alternatives such as pumpkin and wheat bran that can relieve constipation. Let’s take a look at some of them, as well as other changes that can help relieve or prevent constipation for your dog.
Oil: Adding olive oil or vegetable oils to your dog’s diet can help soften their stools.
Pumpkin: As we’ve mentioned above, pumpkin is a popular remedy for constipation in dogs, as it’s not only packed with fiber but has a high water content. Puréed pumpkin is easier for your dog to eat as it requires no chewing.
Other methods to relieve and prevent dog constipation include keeping your dog hydrated, incorporating more fiber into their diet, and giving them more exercise. Increasing the fiber in the diet helps them to digest food faster and makes it easier for them to move their bowels. Meanwhile, regular exercise increases your dog’s metabolism and improves their digestive system overall.
Your vet can also administer injections that can absorb quickly into your dog’s bloodstream, and that get to work quickly in relieving constipation. However, if your dog is still experiencing constipation even though they are well-hydrated and are eating more fiber, then this could be an underlying medical problem, such as a blockage in the intestine.
This can lead to kidney damage, blood poisoning, or even death, so contact your vet as soon as possible if you think this is the case.
Dulcolax for Dogs
Another constipation remedy that is meant for humans but is also recommended for dogs is Dulcolax. Dulcolax is basically the flashier brand name for an ingredient found in most constipation remedies for humans, Bisacodyl. However, this ingredient isn’t present in any constipation remedies formulated for dogs. Bisacodyl is a stimulant laxative, meaning it stimulates movement in the bowels to relieve constipation as well as the uncomfortable feelings of constipation.
Most veterinarians recommend Dulcolax for the temporary relief of constipation in dogs. However, if your dog has a blocked gastrointestinal tract, damage to their intestinal wall, is suffering from rectal bleeding or has an allergy to Bisacodyl then they should not be given Dulcolax.
Just like Miralax, if your dog is taking any medication for other medical conditions, then you should consult with your vet if they are able to take Dulcolax to relieve their constipation. If you do give your dog Dulcolax, then it’s important to monitor their condition, as possible side effects include cramping, nausea, and maybe diarrhea.
The jury is out on whether dogs can use Miralax. Some pet owners say that it can be used to relieve dogs of constipation, and that it has worked for their dogs, but some dog owners report that their dogs experienced unwanted side effects from using Miralax. Ultimately, always check with your vet first if Miralax is a viable solution.
Every dog is different, and therefore each dog will have a different reaction to Miralax. Don’t be hasty and speak to a professional first.
However, it’s generally thought that Miralax is an over-the-counter drug that can be used to relieve dog constipation as well as human constipation. It’s not a long-term solution to the problem however, and if the constipation persists or your dog is constipated frequently, speak to your vet.
So as effective as Miralax can be in relieving your dog’s constipation, we should be wary of some negative feedback online. It’s definitely better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your dog’s health. Always talk to a vet before giving your dog Miralax, and if you have any concerns as to why your dog is constipated.