What To Do If Your Boston Terrier Is Constipated (Chart)

Has your Boston Terrier not had a bowel movement for more than two days? Have you noticed that they are only passing small pieces of a firm and dry stool?

If so, they may be constipated. This article will review the causes and symptoms of constipation so you can become educated about how to recognize constipation in Boston Terriers.

What To Do If Your Boston Terrier Is Constipated (Chart)

This article will also discuss what to do if you think your Boston is constipated.

Boston Terrier Constipation: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, & Prevention

Constipation is a relatively common condition seen in dogs associated with extremely firm stool or not passing any stool for more than a few days.

It occurs most commonly in dogs that have been anesthetized or older pets. Also, constipation can be a sign that your Boston has an underlying health condition.

Constipation should be differentiated from diarrhea. Bostons with diarrhea may strain to have a bowel movement, and you will usually notice liquid stool or sometimes just mucous coming out. Dogs with constipation will have a firm stool or no stool coming out.

If you suspect your Boston has constipation, take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible as many constipation cases occur secondary to other illnesses that need to be addressed.

What To Do If Your Boston Terrier Is Constipated (Chart)

How Can I Tell If My Boston Terrier Is Constipated Or Backed Up?

The most common constipation symptoms in Boston Terriers include firm and dry stool or the inability to defecate for more than a few days. You may also notice that your Boston strains to defecate and can’t get anything out.

If defecation seems painful for your Boston, this may also be a sign of constipation.

Here is a complete list of the most common signs of constipation in Boston Terriers:

  • Firm, Dry Stool
  • Inability To Have A Bowel Movement For More Than A Few Days
  • Straining To Defecate
  • Pain When Defecating
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Lethargy
What To Do If Your Boston Terrier Is Constipated (Chart)

Boston Terrier Constipation vs. Diarrhea

Many times when pet owners bring their dog into the vet clinic for constipation issues, they are actually having diarrhea. Diarrhea can easily be mistaken for constipation because Bostons with severe diarrhea may have similar symptoms to those with constipation.

It is important to differentiate between constipation and diarrhea as these two conditions have very different causes and treatments.

If your Boston is frequently straining to defecate and is passing small amounts of liquid stool, they are most likely having diarrhea, not constipation.

In the following table, the symptoms of both constipation and diarrhea are compared, so you can attempt to differentiate if your Boston has constipation or diarrhea. 

Is It Constipation or Diarrhea?

Passing firm, dry stoolOftenNever
Not passing any stool for 2 daysOftenRarely
Straining to defecateOftenOften
Blood in the stoolSometimesSometimes
Painful defecationSometimesSometimes
Liquid stoolSometimesOften
Decreased appetiteSometimesSometimes

Table 1. Is It Constipation or Diarrhea?

Boston Terrier Constipation Causes

Constipation in Boston Terriers is usually caused by an underlying health condition or medication side effect. Because of this, if you suspect your Boston has constipation, you should visit a veterinarian as soon as possible to determine the underlying cause of constipation.

Some of the most common causes of constipation I see in the vet clinic are constipation secondary to medications or anesthesia drugs or constipation from ingesting a foreign material. 

In addition, dehydration or arthritis can also cause constipation.

Here is a complete list of the most common things that cause constipation in Boston Terriers:

  • Anesthesia Drugs
  • Ingesting A Foreign Object
  • Eating Bones
  • Degenerative Joint Disease (Arthritis)
  • Slipped Disc (Intervertebral Disc Disease)
  • Hypothyroid
  • Cancer Near The Rectum
  • Dehydration Secondary To Other Illnesses
  • Prostatic Disease
  • Anal Gland Impaction

Boston Terrier Constipation Treatment

Many dog constipation treatments are described online, but very few are safe and effective for pets. Some home remedies for constipation can actually be fatal for dogs!

I do not recommend giving over the counter treatments to your Boston Terrier for constipation unless you have first asked your veterinarian if they are safe to use.

My recommendation is to always contact your veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice any new issue with your pet. A veterinarian can easily and safely treat constipation.

Are you concerned about other health issues with your Boston? Check out this article, 10 Common Boston Terrier Health Issues.

What To Do If Your Boston Terrier Is Constipated (Chart)

When Should I Call My Veterinarian If My Boston Terrier Is Constipated?

As soon as you notice a problem, it is a good idea to go ahead and call your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian will be able to advise you as to whether they think your pet needs to be examined or if they think it would be acceptable to wait and watch for a day.

Usually, if an issue is addressed right away before the problem becomes too severe, your pet will have a quick recovery time, and you will likely have a lower veterinary bill.

Do you have a question you want to ask a veterinarian right now, but it is after hours? You can speak with a veterinarian 24 hours a day…check out the Boston Terrier Society’s Ask A Veterinarian Page by clicking here, ASK A VET.

How Is Constipation In Boston Terriers Treated?

If caught early, a veterinarian may be able to do a physical exam to determine the cause of the issue. They may recommend blood testing or x-rays if they suspect that there is an underlying cause for constipation.

Once they have determined the cause of the issue, they may attempt manual removal of the fecal material at the veterinary hospital or prescribe dog-safe stool softeners and probiotics.

In severe cases, your veterinarian may have to put your dog under anesthesia to manually remove the stool or perform surgery to treat constipation.

Most dogs will have a quick recovery from constipation after being treated by a veterinarian.

Are you concerned about vet bills? Check out Pet Assure, a pet savings plan where you can save 25% off your vet bills at participating vets with no pre-existing conditions exclusions. Visit Pet Assures website for pricing and details, Pet Assure.

What To Do If Your Boston Terrier Is Constipated (Chart)

What Home Remedies Will Help With My Dog’s Constipation?

I recommend consulting with a veterinarian before trying any home remedy for constipation. 

There are many dangerous and unsafe treatments for dog constipation described online. For example, human enemas can kill your pet and are very dangerous.

Never administer an enema to your pet at home! Certain types of enemas can cause electrolyte imbalances that can kill your dog.

While waiting for your vet appointment, be sure that your dog has access to fresh drinking water so that they can stay hydrated. If your pet is feeling up for it, taking them for a short walk may help get the stool moving.

What To Do If Your Boston Terrier Is Constipated (Chart)

Will A Warm Bath Help A Dog’s Constipation?

A warm bath will likely not help your dog’s constipation.

That being said, if there is stool matted around the rectum, a warm bath may help to clean the area around the rectum to make it easier for your pet to defecate.

If there is no stool matted around the rectum, then a bath will likely not help.

Is Milk A Good Laxative For Dogs?

Administering milk to dogs that are constipated is a common recommendation that I see online, but I do not recommend administering milk to constipated dogs.

Milk can give your dog an upset stomach and diarrhea. I advise against using it for constipation.

Can I Give My Dog Human Laxatives?

Most human laxatives are not safe for use in pets. I do not recommend administering human laxatives to your dog. 

The only laxatives that you should administer to your dog are ones that your veterinarian has prescribed.

What To Do If Your Boston Terrier Is Constipated (Chart)

What Natural Foods Will Help With My Dog’s Constipation?

Before administering any new food or at-home treatment, I recommend first consulting with your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian may advise you to administer one tablespoon of plain canned pumpkin into the food to help with constipation. 

They may also recommend feeding canned food for a few days to give your pet extra moisture in their diet.

What Happens If I Do Not Treat My Dog’s Constipation?

If you do not take your pet to the vet to get their constipation treated, it will usually get progressively worse. If your pet can not pass stool for a long time, severe constipation can develop, requiring more expensive treatments or surgery.

Also, if constipation continues, your pet may develop a severe condition called megacolon. Megacolon is an irreversible condition that results in an abnormally distended and unhealthy colon. Megacolon will lead to chronic constipation.

To prevent these severe conditions from occurring, I recommend getting your pet to the veterinarian as soon as you notice a problem.

What To Do If Your Boston Terrier Is Constipated (Chart)

6 Ways To Prevent Constipation In Boston Terriers

The best way to prevent constipation in Boston Terriers is to make sure they are receiving plenty of fresh water and exercise. Your veterinarian may also recommend a prescription diet to help prevent constipation.

1. Always Provide Access to Fresh Water

One common cause of constipation is dehydration. It is important to always provide your dog with fresh water to reduce the risk of constipation.

Having plenty of water in the diet will promote intestinal motility.

If your pet is not a big water drinker, consider getting a dog water fountain to encourage your dog to drink more water. Often, water fountains can make water seem more appealing to your pet.

Check out this Pet Safe dog water fountain on Amazon for pricing, reviews, and purchase; Pet Safe Water Fountain.

2. Provide Regular Exercise

Regular exercise can help keep your Boston from becoming constipated in the future, and taking your Boston for a walk once to twice daily will ensure that they are getting enough exercise to support their intestinal health.

How much exercise should your Boston Terrier be getting? Check out this article, How Much Physical Activity Do Boston Terriers Need?

3. Consider Switching To A Prescription Diet

Some Bostons that have recurring constipation may benefit from a prescription veterinary diet that is high in fiber. Fiber-rich diets may promote intestinal health by absorbing extra water into the stool and softening the stool, making it easier to pass.

Ask your veterinarian about what prescription diet would be best for your Boston Terrier with constipation. One of my favorite veterinary diets for dog constipation is Hill’s w/d.

Check out Hill’s w/d on Amazon to see reviews, pricing, and to purchase; Hill’s w/d.

What To Do If Your Boston Terrier Is Constipated (Chart)

4. Inquire About Supplements

If your Boston is prone to developing constipation, ask your veterinarian if any supplements can be given to prevent future episodes of constipation.

Some veterinarians may recommend adding a little plain canned pumpkin to your dog’s meals to provide extra fiber.

Check out Pet Organic Pumpkin for dogs on Amazon, Organic Pumpkin For Pets.

Some dogs may benefit from a daily probiotic supplement to prevent future episodes of constipation. Probiotics are considered healthy bacteria that may improve the overall health of your dog’s intestinal tract.

See a list of different probiotics available on Amazon for reviews and pricing; Dog Probiotics.

5. Do Not Give Your Dog Bones

One of the most common causes of constipation I see as a vet is the ingestion of bones. If dogs ingest pieces of bones, these can become impacted in the colon causing constipation.

Avoid feeding bones or other foreign objects to reduce the risk of constipation in the future.

What To Do If Your Boston Terrier Is Constipated (Chart)

6. Give Your Boston Frequent Opportunities to Defecate

If your Boston is prone to developing constipation, consider giving them plenty of opportunities to defecate throughout the day. 

You may consider letting them out in the yard more frequently or taking them for more walks.

You want to encourage your pup to go potty often, so they don’t hold the stool in for excessive amounts of time.


Constipation is a common condition seen in dogs. Bostons that are constipated will often strain to defecate but may only pass very small, firm pieces of stool. They may also be unable to pass any stool for more than a few days.

Constipation can often be confused with diarrhea. If your Boston is straining to defecate, but you notice them passing liquid stool, this probably means that your Boston has diarrhea.

The most common causes of constipation in Bostons include eating a foreign material such as bones or side effects from medications.

If you suspect your Boston has constipation, please consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible. The quicker a veterinarian can address the issue, the quicker your pet will be on the road to recovery!


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Addie Reinhard, DVM

Addie Reinhard, DVM- Dr. Addie Reinhard is an experienced small animal veterinarian. She is a Boston Terrier lover and always enjoys caring for her Boston patients at the veterinary clinic. She is passionate about providing helpful educational resources to pet parents regarding animal diseases and preventative care. She lives in Lexington, KY with her husband, greyhound, and four cats.

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