Every dog owner knows that their furry friend can sometimes be a bit too curious for their good. Dogs have a knack for getting into trouble, and one common issue they may face is a bowel obstruction. In this blog, we will try to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment of this condition is crucial for ensuring your pet’s well-being.

What is Dogs Bowel Obstruction?

A dog’s bowel obstruction, also called a gastrointestinal blockage, frequently occurs when something partially or fully obstructs the flow of food and fluids through its small intestines. This problem is common in dogs since they tend to ingest or chew on various objects.

When a dog suffers from an obstruction, it can lead to a lack of blood supply to the GI tract, causing intestinal tissue to die and increasing the risk of perforation. Perforation can result in bacteria from the intestines entering the abdominal cavity, leading to septic peritonitis.

Causes of Dogs Bowel Obstruction

  • Ingesting Foreign Objects:

Dogs are notorious for swallowing objects they shouldn’t. Common culprits include toys, socks, bones, and even rocks. These objects can get lodged in their intestines, leading to obstruction.

  • Gastrointestinal Tumors:

Tumors in the gastrointestinal tract can narrow or block the passage of food and waste.

  • Intestinal Twisting (Volvolus):

Occasionally, a dog’s intestines may twist on themselves, causing a blockage.

  • Scar Tissue (Adhesions):

Previous abdominal surgeries can lead to the development of scar tissue, which may obstruct the intestines.

Symptoms of Dogs Bowel Obstruction

dogs bowel obstruction

Detecting the symptoms of bowel obstructions in dogs is essential for prompt intervention. Here, we outline the key signs that pet owners should be aware of:

1. Persistent Vomiting:

Dogs with bowel obstructions often vomit frequently. If your dog vomits repeatedly or over an extended period, it may signal an issue.

2. Abdominal Pain:

Watch for signs of discomfort, such as restlessness, whining, or a hunched posture. Dogs may exhibit these behaviors when their intestines are obstructed.

3. Loss of Appetite:

Bowel obstructions can lead to nausea, causing dogs to avoid their meals.

4. Diarrhea or Straining:

Diarrhea, especially if it is persistent or accompanied by straining during bowel movements, can be a symptom of an obstruction.

5. Lethargy:

If your dog becomes unusually tired, lacks energy, or seems weak, it may be due to the discomfort and distress caused by a bowel obstruction.

6. Dehydration:

Vomiting and diarrhea associated with bowel obstructions can lead to dehydration.

7. Bloating:

Some dogs with bowel obstructions may develop a swollen or distended abdomen due to trapped gas and fluid.

8. Inability to Pass Gas:

Dogs may struggle to pass gas when their intestines are blocked, contributing to abdominal discomfort.

9. Whimpering or Yelping:

If your dog vocalizes more than usual, it may be trying to communicate pain or discomfort caused by the obstruction.

10. Behavioral Changes:

Keep an eye out for unusual behavior changes, such as increased irritability or withdrawal, as these can be indicative of underlying health issues.

Home Remedies for Dogs Bowel Obstruction

dogs bowel obstruction

After your vet approves at-home care for your dog’s stomach blockage, you can use these remedies for mild cases. These remedies complement your vet’s advice and are not a substitute for it.

Adding high-fiber foods like canned pumpkin, cooked sweet potatoes, and wheat bran gradually to your dog’s diet can aid in natural obstruction relief. Avoid sudden digestive upset by introducing them slowly. Ensuring your dog stays hydrated is crucial, especially when they’ve experienced vomiting or diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration. Always provide fresh, clean water, and consider using electrolyte-replacing liquids like unflavored Pedialyte in certain situations.

Engaging in light exercise can stimulate your dog’s gut motility. Short, gentle walks can be beneficial, but avoid strenuous activity, as it could worsen your dog’s condition. Probiotics, beneficial bacteria that promote gut health, may assist in managing digestive problems. Utilize dog-specific probiotics following product instructions. Consulting with a vet or a pet nutrition expert is crucial to determine the correct dosage and preparation when considering the use of herbs like ginger, which can soothe upset stomachs.

Treatment for Bowel Obstruction

The treatment of bowel obstructions in dogs typically involves a combination of medical intervention and surgical procedures, depending on the severity of the obstruction.

When a dog is brought to the veterinarian with suspected bowel obstruction, they will conduct a thorough examination and may use diagnostic tools like X-rays or ultrasounds to pinpoint the location and severity of the blockage. In cases where the obstruction is mild or caught early, veterinarians may attempt non-surgical treatments, such as medication to promote vomiting or the use of endoscopy to retrieve small objects. However, more severe obstructions often require surgical intervention.

During surgery, the veterinarian will open the dog’s abdominal cavity and carefully remove the obstructing material. The affected section of the intestine may also need to be examined and, if necessary, resected. Post-surgery, dogs receive pain management and antibiotics as part of their recovery plan.

In some instances, post-operative hospitalization may be necessary, especially if complications arise. Veterinary staff will closely monitor the dog’s progress, ensuring that they are eating, drinking, and passing stool normally before considering discharge.


Bowel obstructions in dogs can be a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. Recognizing the causes, symptoms, and prompt treatment is vital to ensure your furry companion’s health and well-being. Always consult with a veterinarian if you suspect your dog may be suffering from a bowel obstruction, as early intervention can make a significant difference in their recovery and overall quality of life.

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