flat-coated retriever constipation

Common Causes of Flat-Coated Retrievers Constipation

Are you worried that your pup is suffering from flat-coated retriever constipation? Flat-coated retrievers are known for their energetic and playful personality, but sometimes they can suffer from a less glamorous problem: constipation.

Flat-coated retriever constipation can be a serious concern for owners and their pups. It’s crucial for us to address this issue and learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this common condition. So, let’s dive in and learn more about flat-coated retriever constipation.

What Causes Flat-Coated Retriever Constipation?

flat-coated retriever constipation

In order to prevent flat-coated retriever constipation, it’s essential to understand the underlying causes that can lead to this condition. These include:

1: Dog’s Diet

One of the most common issues or primary causes of dogs’ constipation is their diet. A low-fiber diet and irregular eating habits can lead to difficulty in bowel movement. Flat-coated retrievers have a distinct dietary requirement that needs to be met. They require a high-fiber diet to keep their digestive system healthy. Feeding them too much protein or fat can also result in dog constipation.

2: Activity Level

The level of physical activity your flat-coated retriever gets plays a significant role in their bowel movements. If your dog leads a sedentary lifestyle without enough exercise, it can lead to dog constipation. Dogs need regular physical activity to keep their digestive system functioning correctly. So, make sure your furry friend gets sufficient exercise and playtime.

3: Age

Age is another factor that contributes to dog constipation. Elderly flat-coated retrievers tend to have a slower metabolism, and their digestive system doesn’t work as efficiently as it did when they were younger. Hence, you might notice your old furry friend having trouble defecating more often than younger dogs.

4: Pelvic Region Tumor

The pelvic region tumor is one of the significant medical conditions that can cause constipation in flat-coated retrievers. The presence of a tumor or cancerous growth in the pelvic region can restrict bowel movements and cause dog constipation.

5: Digestive Tract Tumors

Tumors in the digestive tract can also cause a dog’s constipation. Flat-coated retrievers are more prone to cancerous tumors in their intestine. These tumors can obstruct the regular flow of soft stools, leading to chronic constipation.

6: Electrolyte Imbalances

An imbalance in electrolytes such as potassium, calcium, and sodium can lead to constipation. It can be caused by a diet low in fiber, underlying health problems, or even dehydration. When your flat-coated retriever lacks moisture in their stool, it becomes hard and difficult to pass. Therefore, ensuring your dog is eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated is important.

7: Medications

Certain medications can also lead to constipation in flat-coated retrievers. For instance, opioid painkillers are known to cause a dog’s constipation. Suppose your furry friend has been prescribed a new medication. In that case, it is essential to communicate with your veterinarian to understand the potential side effects it may have on your dog’s digestive system.

8: Injuries and Spinal Disease

Injuries or spinal disease can make it challenging for your flat-coated retriever to defecate properly. Herniated discs, tumors, and other spinal cord-related issues can lead to constipation. If you notice your dog is struggling while trying to defecate, they may be experiencing pain, and it is essential to seek advice from your veterinarian to determine the root cause of the problem.

9: Metabolic Diseases

Metabolic diseases such as hypothyroidism and diabetes can also cause constipation. These diseases significantly impact your dog’s metabolism, leading to slow digestion, which increases the risk of constipation. It is imperative to make regular visits to your veterinarian to check for any underlying diseases that could cause constipation.

10: Central Nervous System Disorders

Central nervous system disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or spinal cord injuries can interfere with the nerves that control bowel movements in your dog. This can lead to constipation, making it crucial to consult your veterinarian immediately if you notice any of these symptoms in your flat-coated retriever.

11: Psychological Problems and Stress

Believe it or not, psychological problems and stress may lead to constipation in flat-coated retrievers. As emotional beings, pets thrive in environments where they feel comfortable, cared for, and safe. Abrupt changes in their daily routine, such as moving to a new home, living with a new pet, or family member, or experiencing loud thunderstorms or fireworks, can trigger stress and anxiety in dogs which may disturb their digestive process.

12: Orthopedic Disorders

Flat-Coated Retrievers are an energetic and active breed but are also prone to several orthopedic disorders, such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, and joint pain. As they grow older or experience painful injuries, they may refuse to move as actively as before, impacting their rectal muscle movements and leading to constipation. In such cases, consulting with your veterinarian as soon as possible is essential.

13: Surgery

Flat-Coated Retrievers may suffer from constipation after having surgery. Reasons for this may include not eating or drinking enough before surgery, anesthesia, severe pain, or a reaction to medication. In most cases, your veterinarian will provide information on managing constipation and improving your pet’s recovery period. Ensure that you follow instructions from your veterinarian strictly, and support your pet during their recuperation period.

These are the main causes of flat-coated retriever constipation, and it is important to seek advice from your veterinarian for a correct diagnosis.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Constipation in Flat-Coated Retrievers

Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of constipation in flat-coated retrievers, so you can watch for any potential problems.

👉Changes in Eating Habits

One of the first signs of constipation in your furry friend might be a change in their appetite. It could be a sign of feeling blocked up if they seem to be eating less than usual or avoiding food altogether. Alternatively, they might eat more than usual, as if trying to compensate for their discomfort.

👉Straining During Bowel Movements

When a dog is constipated, it may have trouble passing stool. This can lead to straining or squatting for long periods without being able to go. If you notice your flat-coated retriever exhibiting this behavior, it’s a good indicator that something may be wrong with its digestive system.

👉Abdominal Pain or Swelling

Constipation can also cause discomfort in the abdominal area. Your Flat-coated retriever puppy may appear bloated or swollen, or noticeably sensitive when you touch its stomach. In some cases, constipation can lead to pain or disorientation, so it’s important to keep an eye out for any changes to your dog’s behavior.

👉Lack of Energy or Interest in Activities

When your dog feels unwell, it may not be as interested in playtime or exercise as usual. If you notice your flat-coated retriever spending more time sleeping or lounging around than usual, it could be a sign that it’s experiencing discomfort due to constipation.

👉Vomiting or Diarrhea

While constipation typically leads to hard, dry stools, it’s not uncommon for dogs to display other symptoms in response to a blockage in their digestive system. If your furry friend is experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, it’s essential to take action quickly to prevent dehydration or other complications.

Monitoring your flat-coated retriever’s eating habits, energy levels, and general behavior can help you detect signs of constipation early on. If you suspect that your pup is blocked up and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it’s important to seek your veterinarian’s advice immediately.

Diagnosing Flat-Coated Retriever Constipation

Constipation can be uncomfortable and even painful for your Flat coat retriever, leading to a decreased appetite, lethargy, and other complications. Therefore, knowing the diagnosis process for Flat-Coated Retriever constipation is essential. Below are the various methods veterinarians use to identify and diagnose this condition.

1: Abdominal Palpation

The first technique used to diagnose constipation in your FCR is abdominal palpation. It is done through the veterinarian using their hands to feel for any hard or painful areas of the abdomen. In dogs, the abdominal area is more sensitive than in humans and can provide a clue to the problem. This test is quick and non-invasive but may not be enough to diagnose constipation. 

2: Rectal Exam

Another technique that may be used is a rectal exam. As a pet owner, this may seem invasive, but it is vital to determine the cause of constipation. The vet will insert their gloved finger to feel for any blockages or signs of inflammation. Additionally, they may be able to assess the level of stool buildup in the rectum. This test can be valuable in ruling out other conditions, such as tumors or an infection. 

3: Radiographs of the Abdominal Area

In order to determine if there is a blockage in the colon, the veterinarian may request radiographs of the abdominal area. It is a non-invasive test where X-rays are taken of the abdomen. It is quick and safe and can show potential issues, such as an enlarged colon or blockage. However, if your pet has ingested anything metallic, this might obscure the result of the radiograph.

4: Barium Enema

The veterinarian may move on to a barium enema if initial tests are inconclusive. This more invasive procedure entails inserting a catheter into the rectum to administer a solution called barium. This solution can be seen on X-rays and can show any constrictions or areas of blockage. Though this procedure is safe, it may cause discomfort during the administered period. 

5: Ultrasound

This test uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of internal organs. It helps to visualize the abdominal organs, including the intestines, allowing your veterinarian to determine the obstructive site causing constipation. They can then suggest interventions that can help alleviate the condition.

6: Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy may also be conducted if an ultrasound doesn’t reveal the cause. This test uses a long, flexible tube with a light and camera to evaluate the inside of your pet’s colon. It allows the vet to identify abnormalities such as tumors, polyps, or fecal impaction. During the procedure, your pet is sedated to minimize discomfort, and adequate safety precautions are taken.

7: Complete Blood Count

Another important test in diagnosing Flat-Coated Retriever Constipation is a Complete Blood Count (CBC). A CBC is a blood test that provides valuable information about your pet’s blood cells, including the number of red and white blood cells and platelets. The results can reveal signs of anemia or bacterial infections underlying your pet’s condition.

8: Urinalysis

A Urinalysis is also commonly done in cases of Flat-Coated Retriever Constipation. The test evaluates your pet’s urine, including pH levels, specific gravity, and the presence of abnormal levels of protein or glucose. It can help to determine if any underlying kidney problems can contribute to your pet’s constipation.

9: Neurological Exam

In severe constipation, your veterinarian may conduct a neurological exam. It is to evaluate your pet’s nerve function, which plays an essential role in bowel movements. The vet will check for any weakness, reflexes, or signs of pain that could indicate nerve damage or impingement.

These tests will help your vet accurately diagnose the cause of constipation in your Flat-Coated Retriever and provide the necessary treatment.

Treatment for Flat-Coated Retriever Constipation 

flat-coated retriever constipation

So after the diagnostic tests and physical exam have been conducted and your vet has identified the underlying cause of constipation, treatment will begin. This may include:

✔️Removal of impacted feces (Manual)

One of the primary causes of constipation in Flat-Coated Retrievers is impacted feces. In mild cases, your vet may manually remove the fecal matter from your dog’s colon. Sedation or anesthesia might be necessary in severe cases requiring a thorough colon examination. Once the feces are removed, your vet might prescribe medication to help soothe your pet’s bowels.

✔️Drug Treatment

The vet may prescribe several drugs to your Flat-Coated Retriever to alleviate constipation. Laxatives, stool softeners, and lubricants can help ease the passage of feces through the digestive system. Your vet might prescribe drugs based on your pet’s age and health condition. Over-the-counter laxatives should only be given to your dog with vet supervision since they could increase the severity of the issue.


In severe cases, a medical emergency leading to surgery might be necessary to treat Flat-Coated Retriever Constipation. Severe impaction or obstruction may cause your dog to strain excessively, which can rupture the colon or other vital organs. Surgery may involve the removal of an obstruction or addressing underlying health issues that could have led to constipation. Only a qualified veterinarian should perform the surgery.

By following the treatment options listed above and adopting preventative measures, your furry friend will continue to enjoy excellent health and happiness.

How to Prevent Constipation in Flat-Coated Retrievers

As mentioned before, you can prevent Flat-Coated retriever constipation. Here are some tips to keep your pet’s bowels healthy:

◼️Feed Them a Balanced Diet 

A balanced diet is essential for your pet’s digestive health. You can give your dog fiber-rich foods like sweet potatoes, peas, beans, and carrots. Ensure that your dog has access to clean drinking water throughout the day. Avoid feeding your dog table scraps, which may upset your dog’s digestive system.

◼️Keep Them Hydrated

Aside from offering a well-balanced diet, providing your Flat-Coated Retriever with enough water is essential. Water helps keep your dog’s digestive system healthy and free from problems like constipation. Always ensure your dog has enough water to drink throughout the day. If you’re away from home for work, you can install a water dispenser that automatically refills to make sure they don’t run out of water.


Regular exercise is another way to prevent constipation. Flat-Coated Retrievers are active dogs that require daily exercise. A lack of exercise may lead to a sedentary lifestyle, affecting your dog’s bowel movements. You should take your dog on daily walks, play fetch or go for a run in a park or any open area.

◼️Regular Checkups

This is very important. However, some pet parents often overlook it. Taking your pet for regular checkups will help you identify any issues before they become severe. These visits should include a blood test, urine test, and fecal exam to ensure everything is alright with your puppy’s health.

◼️Quality Time

Spending quality time with your dog can decrease your dog’s stress levels. Stress is a common cause of constipation in dogs. Spending time with your dog can reduce anxiety and promote healthy bowel movements. Giving your dog plenty of affection and playtime supports their physical and mental health.


Proper grooming ensures that your dog’s coat remains clean and healthy. The quality of your dog’s coat directly impacts your dog’s digestive system. A poorly-groomed dog may have hairballs stuck in their digestive system, leading to constipation. Brush your dog’s coat regularly, especially during shedding seasons, to avoid fur-related problems.

◼️Consider Supplements

Under some circumstances, your Flat-Coated Retriever may require supplements to aid in keeping them free from constipation. You can buy supplements for dogs to help them with digestion. Probiotics, fiber supplements, and even mineral oil can be useful when dealing with constipation problems. Seek advice from a veterinary doctor before administering any supplement to your dog.

With proper care and attention, you can prevent your Flat-Coated Retriever from getting constipation.

Natural Remedies for Constipation Relief in Flat-Coated Retrievers 

flat-coated retriever constipation

Aside from the preventative measures, you can use a few natural remedies to help relieve your Flat-Coated Retriever’s constipation. Here are some of the most common and effective ones:

1: Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin puree is a natural remedy that promotes bowel movement and helps keep your dog’s digestive system healthy. This is because canned pumpkin is rich in fiber and antioxidants, which help regulate the digestive system. Simply mix pumpkin puree with your dog’s meal or give it as a treat for immediate relief from constipation.

2: Coconut Oil 

Coconut oil is another natural remedy that can help relieve constipation in dogs. It is packed with medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which provide a quick energy source and help support healthy digestion. Additionally, MCTs have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate any discomfort caused by constipation.

3: Olive Oil 

Olive oil is another popular natural remedy for constipation in flat-coated retrievers. It helps to lubricate the digestive tract walls, which promotes bowel movements. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to your dog’s food for a few days to relieve constipation.

4: Canned Dog Food

Canned dog food is moisture-rich, making it an excellent choice for constipated dogs. Dry kibble is more likely to cause constipation, so switching to canned food can help promote bowel movements. Canned dog food is also easier to digest, which can help reduce the likelihood of constipation in the future.

5: Leafy Greens 

Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli are rich in fiber and water, which can help promote healthy digestion, boost the immune system, and relieve constipation in dogs. You can mix a small amount of leafy greens in your dog’s regular food or give them as a snack.

6: Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains good bacteria that help promote digestive health by breaking down food in the digestive tract. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce digestive tract inflammation and combat constipation. Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s water bowl daily to help maintain your dog’s digestive health.

With the right natural remedies and proper care, you can easily manage constipation in Flat-Coated Retrievers, and your pet can return to its usual active self in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a flat-coated retriever act if constipated?

Just like humans, when dogs are constipated, it can cause discomfort, pain, and some changes in their behavior. They may appear restless, irritable, and unable to relax. They may also struggle and strain to poop; if they do, the stool is often hard and dry. They may lose interest in food and water, and in some cases, they may experience vomiting.

How can I stimulate my flat-coated retriever to poop?

If you notice that your dog is straining and unable to poop, you can help by stimulating their bowel movement. You can do this by taking them for a walk, playing, or massaging their tummy in circular motions. Another option is feeding them fiber-rich foods that can help stimulate bowel movement. You can also consult with your veterinarian regarding dog-friendly laxatives or stool softeners.

Will flat-coated retriever constipation resolve itself?

In some cases, dog constipation can resolve itself, especially if it is mild and caused by a temporary change in diet or dehydration. However, monitoring your dog’s behavior and stool consistency is crucial, and consult a veterinarian if it persists for more than 24 to 48 hours. Chronic constipation can lead to severe health issues such as bloating, vomiting, and even organ damage. 

Does banana help flat-coated retrievers with constipation?

Bananas are a good source of soluble fiber, which can aid in promoting bowel movements in dogs. It can also help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation. However, giving it to your dog in moderation is essential since bananas are high in sugar, and consuming too much can lead to digestive problems such as diarrhea.

Can milk help flat-coated retrievers with constipation?

While milk contains lactose, which some dogs may be intolerant to, it can also provide some laxative effects due to its magnesium and calcium content. It can soften the stool and promote bowel movement, but giving it in small amounts is vital since consuming too much can cause stomach upset and diarrhea.

Final Words

Flat-coated retriever constipation is a common issue that pet owners may face. However, it can be prevented and treated with the right knowledge and care. Follow the tips and remedies above to help relieve constipation in your flat-coated retriever, and seek professional advice if the issue persists. You can ensure your pet has a healthy life with the right diet, lifestyle changes, and natural remedies.

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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