Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Constipation is a common problem in dogs that can be due to a number of things. However it is a good idea to make sure the constipation is not actually diarrhea, as some dogs can strain after a bowel movement, making it look like such. If constipation is present, adding a little pumpkin puree or plain yogurt to the diet can help make digestion easier and make stools easier to pass. However if symptoms do not resolve after a few days, it is best to speak with your vet.

For ear aches, it is best to have your vet examine the ear as many things including allergies, ear infections, mites and more can cause ear problems. If the ear is just dirty, then cleaning the ear gently with cotton balls or a clean washcloth and a dog ear cleaning solution can help. Do not use Q-tips as a dog’s ear has a 90-degree turn in it and placing Q-tips in the ear can cause damage to the canal or inner ear. However if the problem persists or cleaning does not help, it is best to seek care.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Diet—As in humans, a diet lacking in fiber is often the problem. Also, unlike humans, dogs tend to eat things that are not food—like hair, toys, and kitty litter—and these may cause blockages and abnormal fecal transit. Bones, bone meal, and other sources of dietary calcium can contribute to constipation.
However, in general most dogs shouldn`t go longer than 48 hours. If you are worried that your furry friend may be constipated, give your veterinarian a call. He or she can help you determine if you should try some sort of a high fiber home remedy, give it a little time, or bring your dog in for an appointment.
If your dog is constipated, he or she will probably attempt to pass feces unsuccessfully several times. You may observe your dog circling excessively, scooting (dragging bottom along the ground) or squatting frequently, or even crying out in severe cases.
Most veterinarians will recommend bisacodyl, otherwise known as Dulcolax®, for home use for temporary relief of constipation. If your dog has an allergy or is sensitive to this drug, it should not be used.
Treatments for Dog Constipation

One of the easiest and most common at-home treatments for constipation in dogs is to feed them some canned pumpkin. Pumpkin is a high-fiber food and is perfectly safe for a dog to ingest, as long as nothing else has been added to it.

You can add a small amount (half a teaspoon for small dogs, two teaspoons for large dogs) of olive or coconut oil to their food to help with mild constipation, but be careful in dogs who need a low-fat diet. Lack of exercise is another predisposing factor to pay attention to.
The most obvious symptom of constipation in dogs is not having pooped in one to two days. When a constipated pup tries to poop, they may strain, cry out, crouch, or scoot along the ground (a symptom known as tenesma). In general, painful or difficult defecation is known as dyschezia.
Your vet will probably ask about your dog`s medical history, conduct a rectal examination to rule out other abnormalities or causes, and might recommend one or a combination of the following treatments: More exercise. A stool softener or another laxative. A prescription diet high in fiber.
If your pup`s bowel movements are infrequent, difficult for them to pass or absent, your pet is likely suffering from constipation. It`s important for pet parents to know that the inability to pass feces or pain associated with passing feces is considered a veterinary medical emergency and requires urgent care!
Any time you have a concern about your dog, contact your veterinarian, especially if the constipation lasts more than two days or if your dog is sluggish, vomiting or has no appetite. Chronic constipation can lead to obstipation, a severe medical condition in which the colon is unable to empty on its own.
If you`re wondering whether human foods, like milk, would help your dog`s constipation, Dr. Bullen doesn`t recommend going the dairy route. “Milk may help with passing the stool, but that`s because some dogs` lactose intolerances result in diarrhea and that, in turn ,can lead to dehydration,” Dr. Bullen says.
The Best Cure for Bouts of Dog Constipation is Prevention

Mixing a small amount of mineral oil into your dog`s food is helpful – 1 tsp. for every 11 lbs. of dog. Always mix the oil into the dog`s food – if you try to administer it orally, it may end up in the lungs and lead to pneumonia.

Adding small amounts of olive oil to your dog`s food can also help stimulate their digestive system as olive oil acts as a laxative. However, if your dog is experiencing diarrhea or vomiting, olive oil should be avoided as it may exacerbate these conditions.
Apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that absorbs water and helps push everything through your dog`s digestive system efficiently. This helps with diarrhea, constipation, and supports gut health and blood sugar regulation.
Coconut oil is a healthy fat that benefits the body in many ways, but too much too soon could upset your pet`s stomach. A good starting point is 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of coconut oil per 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) of body weight, given once or twice per day.
Incontinence

Some dogs become incontinent at the end of their lives and lose control over their bladder and bowels. Others may be unable to get up to go outside to relieve themselves and may need some extra help from their owners or family members to stay clean.

Small dogs are considered senior citizens of the canine community when they reach 11-12 years of age. Their medium-sized friends become seniors at 10 years of age. Their larger-sized colleagues are seniors at 8 years of age. And, finally, their giant-breed counterparts are seniors at 7 years old.
The first at-home remedy for dog constipation is to encourage canine water consumption. Some dogs drink more if there are ice cubes in their water while others will drink a whole bowl of water if a couple of drops of low-salt chicken broth are added. Give your dog high fiber foods.
Giving your dog regular exercise can sometimes help a constipated dog. It`s obviously a good idea to take them for frequent walks, but you could also try throwing a ball or a range of other canine activities. Giving your dog a regular feeding pattern can help to keep their bowels regular too.
Dog probiotics can support a healthy digestive system to help dogs feel their best. Probiotics are a great natural remedy for constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive issues in dogs. Probiotics can even help reduce the duration of digestive problems or prevent them entirely.
Constipation is the most common stomach issue that older dogs deal with. Ginger is great for this because it promotes healthy movement of the bowels. This remedy also works with car or motion sickness in dogs. You can either add ginger to your dog`s diet daily or give them a dose when they are feeling down and out.
Milk is a safe treat in small quantities. A few tablespoons of cow`s milk or goat`s milk on an occasional basis can be a nice reward for your dog. But, you should probably hold off on offering your dog an entire bowl in one sitting, as it can cause unpleasant reactions, including diarrhea, vomiting, and loose stools.
So, use wet food as needed to help with constipation, but definitely keep it off the regular menu. You may be better off giving your pup a homemade meal of white rice, scrambled egg, and boiled chicken breasts to up the moisture content of their meal.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. I have two problems with my 16 yrs old dog: he’s constipated and has a ear ache. What can I use to relieve these?
ANSWER : A. Constipation is a common problem in dogs that can be due to a number of things. However it is a good idea to make sure the constipation is not actually diarrhea, as some dogs can strain after a bowel movement, making it look like such. If constipation is present, adding a little pumpkin puree or plain yogurt to the diet can help make digestion easier and make stools easier to pass. However if symptoms do not resolve after a few days, it is best to speak with your vet.

For ear aches, it is best to have your vet examine the ear as many things including allergies, ear infections, mites and more can cause ear problems. If the ear is just dirty, then cleaning the ear gently with cotton balls or a clean washcloth and a dog ear cleaning solution can help. Do not use Q-tips as a dog’s ear has a 90-degree turn in it and placing Q-tips in the ear can cause damage to the canal or inner ear. However if the problem persists or cleaning does not help, it is best to seek care.

Q. One of my pet’s ears seems very irritated. What I can use to clean it with?
ANSWER : A. Ear Irritation can be caused by a number of things ranging from allergies, ear infections or even mites. Dirty ears can also cause irritation and problems. Knowing the type of problem is best for figuring out how to treat it.

For plain dirty ears that do not have any odor, redness or leakage of discharge/debris, a simple over the counter canine ear cleaner can be used. Gently soak some cotton balls or a washcloth with the cleaner, and then use these to wipe out the flap of the ear and opening to the ear. Do NOT use Q-tips as these can become stuck or lodged in the curve of the ear canal and may cause injury to the ear drum.

If the ear is bright red or itchy without any dirt or debris in it, it may indicate an allergy. Sometimes an allergy medication can help provide relief in this situation. Your vet can give you the correct dosages of an over the counter allergy medication to use, or may recommend one specifically for dogs.

For infections and mites, changes to the ear such as bad smell or lots of debris and discharge, flecks of black or brown debris, or scabs and sores in the ear may be present. In these cases, it is best to have your vet take a sample of the ear debris to test for mites or infection. Your vet can then give you an ointment that is placed and left in the ear between ear cleanings. Most vets will then recommend cleaning the ears twice daily and then leaving in the ointment after for a period of ten days.

Ear mites ARE contagious to other pets, so if your dog does have them, it is best to treat any other pets in the house at the same time to prevent the mites from spreading around continuously.

Q. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. My Bulldog puppy growls, barks and even tries to bite me when I say “no” to him. What can I do?
ANSWER : A. First, avoid scolding him and acting aggressively towards him if you don’t want him to be acting aggressively towards you. There are other methods you can use to communicate to your dog that you don’t want him to continue doing what he is doing. I recommend you stop telling him “no”, scolding him, or raising your voice at him. Everything coming from you should be 100% positive and 100% calm.

Try to figure out ways to clearly communicate what you want to your dog. If you want your dog to leave something or someone alone, I strongly suggest teaching your dog commands like “leave it”. Here is a link to a video in which I explain how to do it:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1TS5nA7z5Q

Another thing I suggest you use is a no-reward marker. This clearly communicates when your dog has done something wrong. No-reward markers have to be introduced during your training sessions. You should be doing at least three training sessions per day, that are something like 3-10 minutes long (working on different things each training session). If you are teaching your dog something BRAND NEW, do not use the no-reward marker, as you do not want to discourage your dog from performing behaviors for you. Use the no-reward marker for known behaviors only. Here is another helpful video about this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdU5a6fXKlg

Lure each new behavior (as shown in the video) using high value treats. Let’s say you’re working on “down” which is a behavior your dog knows fairly well. Present the treat to your dog. Ask your dog to “down” (only ask once). If he does not go “down” immediately, say, “uh-oh” or “eh-eh” in a gentle tone, and then place the treat behind your back. This communicates to your dog that they did something to make the treat go away.

After you place the treat behind your back to show your pup “that was wrong” you need to communicate to your pup “let’s try again” by getting your pup to walk around for a second, and then start the behavior all over again. If your puppy is very young, chances are you haven’t taught him a solid “down” behavior yet. So, as I said, do not use this method until you have lured each new behavior as shown in the video.

This is the order in which you should teach behaviors: Lure using a high value treat as shown in the video. After a few successful food lures, lure with an empty hand. If the pup is successful with the empty hand lure, reward with lots of treats. If the pup is unsuccessful, then go back to food-luring a couple more times. After a few successful empty-hand lures, you can begin to add the cue. Say “sit”, then lure with an empty hand, and then reward. Once your pup understands the cue, begin to work on the no-reward marker.

Q. Can you use Floxin Otic for ear infections on dogs?
ANSWER : A. Floxin Otic is an ear cleaning solution designed for the clearing of ear infections in people. While it may be similar to dog products used for ear infections, it is best to bring it to your vet’s attention first so he or she can compare it to dog-safe products. It may be that it is in the same concentration and can be safely used, or your vet can instead recommend a product that is in the right formulation.

If you are seeing an ear infection in your dog’s ears, your vet can provide you with a dog-safe medication to use. Ear infections are usually treated over a period of ten days and involve cleaning the ear 2x daily and then placing the otic ointment in the ear to stay in place until the next cleaning.

Q. How do I desensitize my dog to squirrels and stray cats in the neighborhood?
ANSWER : A. It depends on the goal that you have in mind. I am going to assume that you would prefer that your dog not chase squirrels or stray cats in the yard/street. In this case, your options include: (1) training your dog on a “Leave it ” cue using positive reinforcement methods, (2) training your dog not to pull on its leash when it sees a squirrel/stray cat, and (3) training your dog to perform a more desirable behavior when it sees a squirrel/cat.
Training your dog on a cued “leave it” command is useful because it will give you the ability to tell your dog to stay away from any number of undesirable objects on your command. Training your dog to perform a more desireable behavior when it sees a squirrel or cat will substitute a behavior you find acceptable (sitting, laying down, coming to the door, etc.) with a behavior you dislike. Your dog can still react, just in a positive way. If your dog pulls on the leash every time you see a squirrel/cat, training not to pull will make your walk safer and more pleasant.
The ideal training method to use with dogs, or any animal for that matter, is positive reinforcement training, particularly a method called “clicker- training.” The basic concept of positive reinforcement training is to pair a reward (reinforcement) with a behavior you want to increase in frequency. In other words, when your dog performs the behavior you desire, it receives an award, which reinforces the desired behavior so you get more of that behavior. There are many excellent books in stores or on-line that describe positive reinforcement training in detail and many give step-by-step instructions for training common commands like “leave it”. Look for books that specifically mention positive reinforcement training or clicker-training. You can also take dog training classes to learn the techniques, find a mentor who already uses clicker-training, or request a consult from one of the pet experts on this site to guide you.

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.