There are several reasons why you may need to give your dog an enema and they include to help rehydrate dogs that are vomiting or have severe diarrhea, to administer medications to your dog or to relieve a dog that is suffering from constipation. It is important to only use an enema when you are sure what they condition is, using an enema can be problematic under some situations as it may mask the real problems so always have your dog checked by a vet if you have any concerns at all before giving an enema.
Depending on the size of your dog there are two different types of products that can be used to give an enema. For small and toy breeds a plastic syringe that holds approximately 2-3 tablespoons of liquid is all that is required but for medium to large breeds an enema bag with a rubber nozzle will be required. Remember that it is not just the volume of liquid introduced to the body at one time that is important; it is the routine introduction of liquids that helps, especially in cases of dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea.
Start with 2-3 tablespoons of warm but not hot water for small dogs or up to one pint of warm but not hot water for larger breeds. To this water add a few drops of lemon juice and a few grains of sea salt and a pinch of potassium chloride to help with rehydration. If you are only trying to relieve constipation, the salt and potassium chloride will not be necessary. In most dehydration situations this process will need to be repeated every 4 hours, but only make up enough for a single use at a time.
Start by mixing the liquid and testing to make sure it is warm but not hot. Add the liquid to the syringe or enema bag, then lubricate the nozzle or end with vegetable oil. Since the dog will have a bowel movement within a few minutes of the procedure and their may be some leakage, this should be completed outdoors or in a bathtub or sink. A partner is essential to help you hold the dog facing away from you. Grasp the tail and gently lift, then insert the syringe or enema nozzle into the rectum until the end is completely inserted. Gently depress the plunger or squeeze the enema bag until all liquid is in the dog’s rectum. Remove the nozzle and allow the dog to move about. In severely dehydrated dogs the liquid will actually be absorbed by the colon, which is exactly what you want to have happen. If there are any problems resulting from the dog enema, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.
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