Can Antibiotics Cause Constipation in Dogs? [Poop Problems] 

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Ever had that “something’s not quite right” moment when your furball seems a bit off?

We’ve all been there, trust me.

Picture this: you’ve just finished giving your pup a course of antibiotics, thinking you’re one step closer to superhero status in the battle against those pesky infections.

But wait, suddenly your furry friend seems a tad more backed up than a traffic jam during rush hour. Cue the worry, right?

Can antibiotics cause constipation in dogs?

Let’s fetch some answers together.

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Do Antibiotics Cause Constipation in Dogs?

Do Antibiotics Cause Constipation in Dogs

Our pets can catch infections and other illnesses, just like we can. And when they’re feeling under the weather, antibiotics often come to the rescue. 

These medications get rid of harmful bacteria, allowing our pets to recover, but sadly, antibiotics can have a few unpleasant side effects. 

While diarrhea and loose stools are the usual suspects when it comes to drawbacks of antibiotics treatment, there’s another lesser-seen possibility: constipation. 

Antibiotics can indeed sometimes leave your furry pal feeling a bit backed up.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: What if my dog ate my probiotics?

How do antibiotics cause constipation in dogs?

The way antibiotics work is by going after the bacteria that is sickening your pet, but mistakes do happen occasionally. 

The good bacteria in your dog’s gut could also get caught in the crossfire.

This disruption has numerous effects including the slowing down of the usual movement of things in your pet’s digestive tract. 

That’s when constipation makes an appearance, making it a bit tricky for your pup to do their business.

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Common antibiotics associated with constipation

Certain antibiotics might occasionally cause constipation in dogs.

Amoxicillin, clindamycin, and tetracycline are examples of this.  

These antibiotics are frequently vet go-tos when it comes to treating common doggy diseases. 

If your pet suffers from kennel cough, urinary tract infections, and other bacterial illnesses, they’re probably going to need the antibiotics I mentioned.

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What is the Gut-brain Axis in Dogs?

Did you know that your pet’s stomach and brain are connected? It’s like a direct line of communication between how they feel in their belly and how they feel emotionally. 

This connection called the gut-brain axis, is important because it affects both their physical health and their mood.

The connection works both ways. Messages go back and forth between your dog’s stomach and brain. 

When their stomach is doing well, they tend to feel better overall. On the flip side, if they’re stressed or anxious, it can upset their stomach. 

A balance in good bacteria plays a crucial role in keeping the gut, and consequently the brain, in good condition.

What Are The Factors Influencing Constipation in Dogs?

If antibiotics rarely cause constipation in dogs, how come yours is experiencing it?

It can be one of these three factors.

Dog’s sensitivity

Similar to how some people handle spicy food better than others, dogs react differently to antibiotics. 

Some dogs tolerate them well, while others might have digestive issues.

This sensitivity varies from dog to dog and plays a role in whether antibiotics lead to constipation.

Dosage and duration

Taking too much of any medication can upset your stomach. The same applies to antibiotics.

If your dog receives a high dosage or takes antibiotics for an extended period, it can disrupt its digestive system and result in constipation.

Concurrent medications

Sometimes, dogs need more than one type of medication.

Combining medications can have unexpected effects.

Certain medications, when used along with antibiotics, could increase the likelihood of constipation.

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Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: does wet dog food cause diarrhea?

Signs and Symptoms of Constipation in Dogs

Since your pet can’t directly tell you about their bathroom struggles, it’s important to be vigilant for signs of constipation. 

Keep an eye out for infrequent bathroom trips – if your dog isn’t making its usual visits, it might be having difficulty passing stool. 

Excessive straining during pooping or passing hard, dry stools could also indicate constipation. 

If your furry friend seems less interested in eating, appears lethargic, or lacks their usual activity level, these could be signs of discomfort related to constipation. 

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Dog suddenly lethargic and flinching

Managing Antibiotic-induced Constipation

Unfortunately, just because an antibiotic treatment results in constipation in our pets doesn’t mean we can stop using it.

But leaving them to suffer is not an option either. Here are some tips you can try to ease the discomfort:

Veterinarian consultation

Reach out to your veterinarian for guidance.

They’ll consider your dog’s health history, the specific antibiotic, and any preexisting conditions. 

With this information, they can provide personalized advice to manage constipation.

Hydration and fiber

It’s important to keep your pet well-hydrated. Letting your furry pal drink lots of water helps soften their stools, easing the passage. 

Introducing fiber-rich foods to their diet can also promote regular bowel movements.

Options like cooked pumpkin or plain, canned pumpkin are excellent sources of fiber.

Probiotics

Good bacteria in probiotics can boost gut health. They try to even out the helpful stomach bacteria, which might ease constipation. 

Specialized pet probiotic supplements, designed with their needs in mind, can be bought from most pet stores. Additionally, you can also look for certain types of yogurt that contain live active cultures. 

However, it’s important to choose plain yogurt without added sugars or artificial flavors, as these can be harmful to dogs. 

Probiotic-rich foods like kefir, which is a fermented milk drink, can also offer probiotic benefits to dogs in moderation.

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How Do I Pick a Probiotic That Will Work?

Selecting the right probiotic for your dog’s needs involves a few key considerations. 

The first step is to ask your vet for recommendations based on your dog’s particular medical needs.

Probiotics designed exclusively for pets should be used instead of human probiotics since they contain strains that are good for dogs.

  • Check the product’s label for details on the number of live bacteria it contains per dosage. A larger CFU count is usually more effective. 
  • Choose products with a variety of bacterial strains to address more elements of gut health. 
  • Finally, think about the probiotic’s form. These come in powder, pill, or treat variants. Choose the one that your pet would like. 

How to Prevent Your Dog From Getting Constipated?

In addition to making sure your furry friend drinks enough water and gets plenty of fiber and probiotics, what else can you do to prevent constipation?

Regular exercise can really keep their digestive system working well.

A little jog around the block or some playtime at the dog park can do wonders for digestion.

Feed them a diet with lean meats, whole grains, and a mix of veggies to keep things moving in their tummy.

Include fruits like apples or blueberries for added benefit.

Stick to a regular feeding routine to help them go regularly and improve their overall digestion.

How Long Does It Take for Stool to Be Normal After Antibiotics?

How Long Does It Take for Stool to Be Normal After Antibiotics

The time it takes for your dog’s stool to return to normal after antibiotics can vary.

Normally, the side effects linger for only a few days. 

For dogs with more sensitive systems, it could take a week or more. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long after antibiotics will a dog have diarrhea?

The adverse effects, such as diarrhea, might remain for a few days to a week after the antibiotic treatment is over. Get your pet seen by a veterinarian if the diarrhea goes on longer than that or gets worse.

How long does antibiotic-induced constipation typically last in dogs?

Constipation brought on by antibiotics might vary significantly. It might only last a few days to a week in certain situations, but it might last for the entire course of antibiotic therapy in other dogs. 

Can over-the-counter laxatives be given to dogs on antibiotics?

Using over-the-counter laxatives for dogs on antibiotics is not recommended without veterinary guidance. Certain laxatives can have negative interactions with antibiotics or other medications. It is always best to ask your pet’s vet before giving your sick pet any medication.

In Conclusion: Can Antibiotics Cause Constipation in Dogs?

Remember, your pup’s digestive system is like a finely tuned orchestra – a delicate balance that sometimes needs a little adjustment.

If antibiotics have left your furry friend feeling a bit “stuck,” just remember to keep things moving with a vet-approved diet, hydration, and maybe a touch of pumpkin magic.

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

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