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Milk for Dog Constipation: Our Vet Shares The Best Remedies

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dog licking lips after drinking a bowl of milk

When your dog is constipated, you want to get them relief fast leading many dog parents to turn to home remedies. One of the home remedies that you may come across is using milk for dog constipation. Before you head to the refrigerator, read on to find out if milk is a good option for treating constipation at home and what other methods you may want to try.

Overview of constipation in dogs

Dogs can become constipated for a number of reasons. No dog is immune but things like regular exercise and diet can play a role in prevention. If your pup becomes occasionally constipated, you try a home treatment. However, if your dog suffers from frequent or severe constipation, you’ll want to see your veterinarian.]

Your 4-step plan to help your dog constipation at home

If your pup hasn’t had a bowel movement in 24-48 hours or is mildly straining without showing any other signs, you may try some treatments at home. If these don’t help, call your veterinarian.

  1. Healthy water intake: Ensure your dog has access to fresh water at all times. You may encourage drinking by adding low-sodium chicken broth to their water.
  2. Gentle physical activity: Regular exercise can support healthy digestion, so taking a few short walks within your dog’s level of tolerance may help “move things along”.
  3. Pumpkin puree: Adding canned pumpkin to your dog’s diet is a simple and safe remedy for digestive issues, and many dogs find it tasty which makes it an easy intervention to try.
  4. Close monitoring and a call to the vet if it doesn’t resolve on it’s own.

Related post: 6 Most Effective Home Remedies to Help a Constipated Dog.

Is it safe for dogs to use milk to relieve constipation?

Pet owners looking for another method to relieve their dog’s constipation might feel comfortable with the idea of giving some milk. However, it’s essential to understand that not all food products or remedies suitable for humans are safe for dogs.

The reason milk is sometimes seen as a constipation home remedy is because most adult dogs are lactose intolerant. This means they lack the necessary enzyme, lactase, to properly digest lactose, the sugar found in milk. When dogs with lactose intolerance drink milk, it can lead to digestive upset, including symptoms like diarrhea, gas, and bloating.

So, technically, milk can relieve constipation because it causes water, liquidy feces which will move through the digestive tract. But that constipation could be replaced by diarrhea and painful gas, which can’t be considered an improvement in the dog’s condition.

Proper ways to use milk to help your constipated dog

Because adult dogs are actually lactose intolerant, giving milk as a remedy for constipation is not recommended because:

  • Milk can worsen constipation in some cases.
  • If it doesn’t worsen constipation, it can instead go the other way and lead to diarrhea and bloating.

Related post: 6 Most Effective Home Remedies to Help a Constipated Dog.

How much milk can be given to a dog to treat constipation?

Giving milk to treat constipation is not recommended. If you ever give milk to your dog it should be on rare occasions, in small amounts, and never as a way to treat a health condition. It’s best to avoid milk altogether. Instead, try the above methods or call your veterinarain.

Is milk the most effective way to relieve constipation in dogs?

Milk is neither a safe, nor effective solution for dog constipation. There are other safer options you can try if your dog’s constipation is mild, they are otherwise healthy, and you want to take some simple steps at home while you wait to get an appointment with your dog’s veterinarian. Those include exercise, water, and canned pumpkin.

When to call your vet about constipation

It’s always best to loop your dog’s vet in on an issue as soon as it starts, but if you recognize any of the following signs, you definitely shouldn’t wait:

  • Persistent constipation for more than 24 hours.
  • Straining without producing stool for an extended period of time
  • Lethargy, loss of appetite, or vomiting.
  • “Constipation” associated with an episode of diarrhea
  • If you suspect your pet has eaten a foreign object within the last few days, weeks, or months
  • If you notice any signs of rectal prolapse, see any blood around their rear or on their bowel movements
  • If your dog’s urinary habits are affected (decreased urination, straining to urinate, lack of urination, blood in urine)

Frequently asked questions

Is milk an effective remedy for dog constipation?

Milk is not an effective remedy for dog constipation and can even worsen the condition. Adult dogs are lactose intolerant and milk may cause greater stomach upset if given.

What are the potential risks of untreated constipation in dogs?

Treating constipation early is important to prevent increased severity or even additional conditions that may result from lack of treatment. Untreated constipation may result in:

  • Impacted bowel (which may require a specialized procedure with sedation to relieve)
  • Rectal prolapse (which often requires sedation and sometimes stitches to replace)
  • Dehydration (which may be severe enough to require hospitalization and IV fluids)
  • Megacolon (if the constipation is severe enough, it can cause the colon to become abnormally enlarged and lose it’s ability to contract normally; this condition cannot be reversed)

Can I give my dog lactose-free milk?

Lactose-free milk doesn’t contain lactose, which is what causes the digestive upset that regular milk does. However, that also means that it won’t help relieve constipation. So, there’s really no point in giving it to your pup. Along with that, there’s concern for potentially dangerous ingredients, such as artificial sweeteners, which can be extremely dangerous for dogs).

Can certain breeds more prone to constipation?

Some breeds, such as Bulldogs and Pugs, may more susceptible to constipation due to their physical structure. Their predisposition for being overweight, and their atypically narrow pelvic openings, may put them at slightly increased risk for abnormal bowel passage.


  • Dr Chyrle Bonk, Veterinarian

    Dr. Chyrle Bonk received her Master in Animal Science from the University of Idaho and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Oregon State University in 2010. She has over 10 years of experience in small animal veterinary practice, working for a veterinary clinic in Idaho.

  • Kate Howard, Vet Tech

    Kate Howard lives in Upstate New York, and received her degree in Veterinary Technology from Alfred State College of Technology in 2010. She has been a veterinary technician for 13+ years, and spent her career working primarily in general practice and veterinary emergency care. Kate has 3 dogs, a cat, and keeps a small flock of backyard poultry.

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