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Constipation

Maltipoo Constipation

First, let’s go over what constitutes constipation with a Maltipoo:
  • Straining to push out a bowel movement- Through facial expression, vocalization, and body language, a Maltipoo may show that they are having trouble pushing out feces. 
  • Infrequent bowel movements – There will be a change from twice per day stools to just once or even every other day.  
  • Hard stools – When feces does come out, it may have a very hard consistency. 
  • Small stools – The amount that is eventually pushed out may be very small; it may look similar to small, hard pebbles. 
Reasons why a Maltipoo May Become Constipated:

1. Not enough water – If a Maltipoo is not meeting his water requirements, this can affect the stools, making them both hard to push out and devoid of enough water. 

2. Limited exercise – Being sedentary can really take a toll on a dog’s body, affecting all sorts of things, both short and long term. And not taking daily walks can lead to a slowing of the digestive system, which leads to constipation.  

3. Stress – If a Maltipoo is experiencing stress, this can upset his GI tract. This can include chronic issue such as separation anxiety or acute events such as moving to a new home. 

4. Change in diet – Generally, a dog does best when his main meals stay consistent. If there has been a change, there can be a period of adjustment in which the Maltipoo either has loose stools or becomes constipated. Also, some table scraps such as cheese or other milk products can cause this issue. 

5. Not enough fiber - Most high quality commercial dog food brands do pack enough fiber in their kibble, this comes from fruits and vegetables. But lower quality varieties may not have enough and if you are home cooking, you’ll want to make sure that enough veggies and fruits are being fed. Fiber helps move things along by helping there be enough water in the stools, which makes them easier to pass. 

There are some health issues to rule out:

Though most Maltipoos will experience constipation due to the above reasons, it is wise to be aware of certain health conditions that can affect bowel movements. 
  • Enlarged anal glands – Found on all dogs (one on each side of the anus) and also referred to as scent glands, these normally hold a certain amount of oil that is naturally secreted in very small amounts both when a dog meets another (this is why they sniff each other rear ends) and when having a bowel movement. 
If this oil is not released naturally, it may build up, leading to enlarged glands which can trigger an episode of constipation. Eventually, if not treated, the glands may break open, thus 1) making a huge mess and 2) leaving the torn skin vulnerable to infection. In addition, if the engorged sacs do not tear open or are not expressed, the substance inside can become compacted, turning into the consistency of a thick paste (impacted) and also possibly causing constipation.  
  • Enlarged prostate gland – Relevant with male Maltipoos, this is most often seen with senior dogs. This can be caused by a wide range of issues ranging from infection to cancer. 
  • Blockage – Certain foods such as raw hides or non-food items being swallowed by accident can cause stomach or intestinal blockage and this may be partial or full blockage. This is considered an emergency situation that must be treated ASAP. Even a dog with no history of mouthing or chewing a non-food item can swallow something and there is always the possibility of a piece of toy eventually wearing down and ripping enough for chunks to be ingested. 
  • Dehydration – While a low level of dehydration can cause a Maltipoo to be constipated, owners should always be aware of acute dehydration as well. This includes water loss due to exercise on hot summer days without enough intake and other such activities in which the Maltipoo is edging toward heat stress or stroke. 
  • Other issues – Rarer but also possible would be some sort of injury to the pelvic region, neurological disorders or tumors located in the rectum area. Senior dogs may suffer from certain orthopedic issues, most common would be hip related, which can lead to constipation. 
If your Maltipoo is constipated and has any other signs of distress including vomiting, dry heaving, trouble breathing, excess drooling, pacing, bloated stomach, refusal to eat, lethargy, please do not hesitate to bring him to the vet or closest animal hospital. 
How Long is Too Long for Constipation

There are some home remedies, that we will dive into in a moment, however it is first prudent to discuss that constipation lasting more than 4 days warrants a vet examination. If a Maltipoo is constipated for this amount of time (with or without home treatment), the stools can become impacted. 

When there is a buildup of feces that is not being expelled, this can stretch the large intestine, causing a sort of shutdown. This does not resolve itself. It is referred to as megacolon and needs to be treated via a surgical procedure. Even if a Maltipoo has not quite reached this megacolon stage, veterinary intervention can prevent this from occurring. 

So, again, constipation lasting 4 days or more or if there are other signs of distress, calls for veterinary intervention.  

Cures and At-Home Remedies for Maltipoo Constipation

1. Increased water intake. While offering fresh, clean, cool water in a stainless steel bowl will help to some degree, most Maltipoos with constipation will need more encouragement than this. There are several things you can do:
  • Offer water—packed fruit. Watermelon and strawberries, both fruits that are safe for dogs to eat, contain 92% water. Blueberries (85%) and raspberries (87%) are good choices too.
  • Offer water in a canine water foundation. The flowing water both attracts and retains for added water consumption. 
  • Add water to food. Warm water is best and you’ll find that mixing this well and microwaving it to be warm is often well tolerated. 
2. Increase exercise, safely. Most Maltipoos do best with two walks per day for regular exercise. You don’t want to have a dog overexerted himself, but adding just 10 minutes to one or both walks can be just the thing to help move the stools along. 

3. Add fiber. You do need to be careful, since some added fiber can really help a dog with constipation, but too much can actually make it worse. Adding some vegetables such as peas, green beans, kale and/or spinach can be a good way to add just a bit for minor to moderate instances. For moderate to severe cases of constipation, you’ll want to offer pumpkin. It’s very important to use only 100% real pumpkin which is often in cans very similar to pumpkin pie filling. So look at the label carefully. For Maltipoo puppies, you’ll want to add just 1 teaspoon, once per day. For adults, 2 teaspoons per day.  

4. Holistic remedies – While you will want to check with your Maltipoo’s vet, 3 possible cures include:
  • Psyllium husk powder (1/4 teaspoon per 5 pounds of body weight, given 1 to 2 times per day)
  • Coconut fiber (1/2 teaspoon per 5 pounds of body weight, given 1 to 2 times per day),
  • Organic apple cider vinegar (1/8 teaspoon per 5 pounds of body weight, given 1 to 2 times per day).
Veterinary Treatment

If your Maltipoo is not responding to at-home treatment, is having trouble for more than 4 days or is showing any other signs of distress, this warrants treatment at the vet’s.

For constipation alone, treatment will often be stool softeners and/or an enema. 

And to rule out other conditions, the vet will most likely run a complete blood count, urinalysis and will take x-rays if a blockage is suspected. 

Preventing a Re-occurrence 

Once your Maltipoo is no longer constipated, you will surely want to do all you can to prevent a repeat of this very uncomfortable condition. Be sure to:

1. Encourage proper water intake. Wash the bowl each evening with hot water and soap, use a stainless steel bowl or water fountain, Check the water regularly. Do not add new water into a dish of older water; dump it can fill it up fresh. 

2. Stick with an exercise schedule. Even just a week of not waling as normal can through the body and digestive system off. Do all you can to take your dog for two walks per day, for at least 20 minutes, at a pace that is brisk for your Maltipoo. 

3. If you decide to change food, do this gradually over the course of 3 weeks, mixing new into old in larger ratios until you have your dog transitioned over. 

4. Never feed rawhides or other indigestible treats that can lead to blockage. 
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