Can I Give My Dog Castor Oil?

Can I Give My Dog Castor Oil?Giving your dog Castor Oil in an attempt to relieve their constipation may seem like a good idea, but is it effective and safe? Castor oil as a treatment for digestive troubles is one of those old wives tales that still lingers around even today.

People still swallow it as a desperate attempt to rid themselves of their constipation ills. To make matters worse, what’s good for people is usually much different than what’s good for dogs. This is especially true for unfounded and non-scientific approaches to medicine.

Castor Oil is basically a quick fix and doesn’t do much to help in the long run. Your dog’s constipation will pass soon enough, with or without giving it to them, so you shouldn’t give it to them just to make yourself feel better.  Read more to get the full scoop. We’ll try to suggest some more effective alternatives.

Can I Give My Dog Castor Oil? Answer: Not Recommended

This is perhaps why people think that there is some effectiveness to using Castor Oil. They give it to their dogs and notice that the condition improves over time. But a dog’s digestive system is much faster than a human’s, so even though constipation can be a multi-day affair for us, it’s usually not as severe or long-lasting problem for dogs.

Causes of Constipation in Dogs

Knowing what backs up your dog’s digestive system is helpful so that you can avoid this situation in the future, and you won’t be tempted to give them medicines and things like Castor Oil as a last ditch effort to help them.

Dogs follow an “eat first ask questions later” approach to what goes into their system. If it fits in the mouth it’s fair game. They’re even known to tear bigger things into bite size pieces in an attempt to see if it’s edible. Since you can’t keep an eye on what they’re eating 24/7 they are bound to swallow something they shouldn’t.

If you have a furry breed of dog they may just consume enough hair to clog up their system and slow things to a halt until they can release it.

Sometimes it’s the medication that you’re giving your dog that is causing the constipation. While you may have good intentions of keeping your dog healthy and happy, it’s always best to consult with your vet before giving them any medicine. If you notice that your dog is having regular bouts of constipation, be sure to ask your vet if the meds could be the cause.

Signs of Constipation

Properly diagnosing your dog with constipation is the first part of fixing the situation. Straining while they poop is not the only sign, and could even mean they have diarrhea on the way.

Your dog may run a fever and have no other indications that they’re constipated. Others signs to look for are lethargic actions on their part, as well as a tight abdominal region. They may even have trouble breathing as their feces backs up in their system.

A Better Cure for Constipation

Since Castor Oil is a no-go, you should take steps to keep your dogs systems running at optimal levels. One recommendation is adding things to their regular dog food that will keep their stool soft, such as mashed pumpkin, the kind that comes in cans. There are also special brands of dog food that have added fiber if your dog is prone to the condition.

Keeping your dog as well as your home hairball free can be a great step towards less instances of constipation. Brush your dog regularly, not just when it’s obvious that they need it, and either sweep up hair if you have hardwood floors, or vacuum carpets in regular intervals. You have to mind the corners and cracks too because dogs will find their way into these places in an attempt to get what’s in there, usually just dust and hair.

No matter which method you use, the goal is to keep things as natural as possible and also to use prevention before everything else. Taking a reactionary approach to your dog’s health is never a good idea for you or them. It’s all a matter of cause and effect and once you remove the cause of constipation you will not have to deal with the effects, and neither will your dog.

Add Your Own Answer to Can I Give My Dog Castor Oil? Below

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna November 13, 2012

Plus your dog will spit it out or refuse it altogether.


Janet June 7, 2014

My cross breed pet is about 12 years of age. I got him when he was about 4-5 years of age and have had him since. He was a stray which I picked up nearly dead, lying at the side of the road. Apparently he was hit by a car and his pelvis was broken and when it healed it narrowed the area for him to do his poop. Over the years he has been given enemas, stool softeners etc., but now these things do not seem to work very well any more.

Every two months I have to take him to the vet and he is given a “fleet’ enema which helps him for about two months and then his problem returns. Is it possible I can give him Castor Oil? I know it is not recommended to give dogs on a regular basis but considering his problem I think this will work or the other thing may be to put him to sleep which I do not want to do as he is such a gentle soul. Any advice would be appreciated.



James June 7, 2014

Hi Janet,
Bless your heart for taking in this dog. If I were you, I would try lots of things in moderation and Castor Oil isn’t out of the question here. Considering you are thinking of putting him to sleep it is worth a shot. Please keep us updated. I hope your dog is doing OK today.


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