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dog parent must-knows

What you need to know about your dog’s gurgling stomach

Your dog’s stomach sounds are probably normal. Occasionally, gurgles can indicate a serious issue lurking — here’s how to know when these sounds are something to worry about.

Updated September 29, 2021

Created By

Kaitlyn Arford,

📸 by Chris Benson

Why your dog’s stomach is making noises

Your dog’s tummy can make sounds for many reasons ranging from hunger pangs to stomach pains.

The scientific name for these stomach gurgles is borborygmi. This borborygmus is made when gas moves from one area of the intestinal tract to another during natural movements. Stomach gurgles are often caused by digestion as food is broken down.

Quiet stomach gurgles are normal. But when you hear more than one or two loud noises per minute, it could mean that there’s something more serious troubling your dog’s stomach.

Common causes of dog stomach gurgling

Potential causes of your fur baby’s gurgling noises range from serious problems in their digestive tract to an upset stomach.

Hunger. The most common reason why you hear a dog’s tummy rumbling is that they’re hungry. When a dog’s stomach is empty, they have more gas than solids inside of them, which can make it easier for their empty intestines to move around. It’s perfectly normal to hear stomach gurgling when your dog is hungry. So the next time you hear your dog’s empty stomach making noises, give them a meal or treat.

Your dog’s diet. In addition to an empty stomach, those excessive gurgling sounds can be caused by the kind of food your dog is eating. Some ingredients in your dog’s food are harder to digest. Noises are a normal part of the digestive process.

Gas. Some dogs are just naturally gassier than others and therefore more prone to a noisy stomach. It could just be that they are processing what they ate through their gastrointestinal tract.

Health issues. If you hear a dog’s tummy gurgling in combination with the symptoms listed below, a health condition could be to blame. Gastrointestinal problems like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), intestinal parasites, or pancreatitis could be what’s causing a noisy stomach.

Recent surgery. Sometimes your dog will have stomach rumbles after receiving anesthesia.

Dog bloat (gastric dilation volvulus or GDV). This is when a stomach is twisted or bloated with fluid or food. While mild bloating in humans is normal, it can be a massive problem in dogs as it traps blood or air in their stomach and prevents it from going to other areas of the body. Dog bloat can lead to shock and GDV is an emergency medical condition that needs to be surgically treated by vets.

Foreign object lodged in the gastrointestinal tract. If your dog swallowed a foreign body like a stick, toy, or rock, it can create an obstacle in their gastrointestinal tract. Since foreign objects can puncture the intestinal walls, you need to take your pup to a veterinarian if you suspect a blockage.

Toxicities. If your dog ingested something toxic (like chocolate, coffee, poison, or grapes), you need to call poison control. Veterinarians can administer activated charcoal to block further absorption of the toxins in their system. Your dog’s system reacting to toxins could cause stomach rumbles.

⚠️  If you suspect that your dog ingested something toxic, notify Animal Poison Control immediately: (888) 426-4435

Symptoms for concern

Stomach gurgling alone isn’t anything to worry about. But if you notice other clinical signs too, you need to take your dog to the vet.

When to go to a vet

A gurgling gut is not always a sign of a problem. But if your dog is experiencing these stomach gurgles frequently along with other symptoms, you need to take them to a veterinarian. Always talk to your vet if it looks like your dog is in pain.

Never give your dog over-the-counter medicine before speaking to a veterinarian as these medications can come with side effects. Before going to your veterinarian appointment, you can give your dog’s stomach time to settle by withholding dog food and water.

Diagnosis

In some cases, your veterinarian may begin with a physical examination to listen to your dog’s stomach, heart, and lungs. They will feel your dog’s abdomen to check for any swelling. They may check your doggy’s temperature or weight as well.

The tests your vet performs will depend on what symptoms your dog has.

If your vet suspects a foreign object blockage, they will take X-rays to see if there are any present. They may collect samples for further testing.

Treatment for a gurgling gut

Treatment depends on what’s causing your dog’s stomach sounds.

Inflammatory bowel disease can be treated with a combination of antibiotics, corticosteroid medications, and even diet changes.

Veterinarians treat internal parasites with deworming medication and periodic deworming. You’ll also need to clean your dog’s bedding and toys.

Depending on the severity of the condition, pancreatitis may require medication, low-fat diets, or intravenous (IV) fluids. In severe cases, surgery may be required. Foreign objects may require a surgical procedure as well.

Dog bloat is a medical emergency, as it only takes a few hours without treatment for your dog to go into shock, which can lead to death.

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Prevention

While you can’t prevent stomach gurgling altogether, there are steps you can take to prevent harmful digestive problems.

Pay attention to your dog when you’re on a walk together. Sometimes your dog will snatch a stray piece of food off a sidewalk or digest a rock or stick near a park path. These foreign objects can create blockages in their digestive system.

If your dog is dealing with stomach gurgles and other stomach issues and you think their food is to blame, you may need to feed them a more nutritious diet or switch to a different brand. Try feeding your dog twice a day so they aren’t going hungry.

Make sure your doggy stays hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. If you’re feeding your dog table scraps, don’t, since human food can cause stomachaches and other digestive issues.

Take a look at the way your dog is eating. If they are gulping down food fast, then they are also swallowing air and depriving their body of the chance to digest food slowly. Introducing a slow feeder, (either storebought or DIY), switching to a new dog food, or feeding your dog away from other dogs can help.

As a temporary measure, you can serve dogs a bland diet of white rice or chicken.

🚨 Consult your vet first if you plan to switch up your dog’s diet.

Frequently asked questions

How much does treatment cost?

The cost of treatment depends on what’s causing your pooch’s noisy gut. In general, out-of-pocket costs for injuries or illnesses start at $500.

A heartworm test can cost about $50. Laboratory tests can range from $200 to $300 and x-rays range from $200 to $400.

Is stomach gurgling painful for dogs?

Stomach gurgling alone is not painful. It’s mainly just noisy and feels similar to a human’s stomach gurgling. However, cramps caused by stomach gurgling can be painful.

Is it a serious condition?

Dog stomach gurgling is typically not serious. Most of the time, dog stomach gurgling doesn’t require treatment.

Are some breeds more likely than others to experience stomach gurgles?

Gut gurgling can happen to dogs of all ages and breeds.