For people constipation is generally the result of a diet high in processed foods that are usually dry and low in fiber. Does this diet sound familiar? It is very similar to the diet many people feed their animals. It should come as no surprise then that constipation is a major problem for many dogs and cats.
Cats come from desert felines that have evolved to obtain the majority of their fluid intake from the meat they ingest and fiber from the hair of their prey. But while in our care they often eat a kibble cat food that is very dry and low in fiber. Pet food manufacturers try to remedy this by adding tons of salt to processed cat food to encourage cats to drink more, which is not natural behavior for cats. Dogs are inherently more adaptable than cats having evolved more as scavengers. They will drink more as many of us know, and the effects of processed foods often don’t show up until they are older. This is because the body can adapt up until a certain point then the effects of a poor diet begin to show up. Constipation in an aging animal is often the result of weakening of the muscular contractions (peristalsis) that move food along the digestive tract and is usually associated with an inappropriate diet especially when it occurs in younger pets.
What should I do?
The answer is very simple - feed as close to a species appropriate diet as possible. This means for cats a raw food diet is extremely important to their long term health. Canines are more adaptable, but they will be much healthier when fed a locally-available raw pet food or a properly home-prepared diet. Dry kibble diets will never be optimal for either species and you will notice that both dogs and cats will begin to have health issues associated with these diets as they age. If your animal begins to experience constipation there are some things you can do: switch to a high meat content wet food (raw or cooked) and add some high fiber foods to their diet like chia seeds or psyllium seed husks. You can also try our Constipation Relief that has a blend of herbs, soluble fibers and probiotic organisms that is a healthy addition to any diet.