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About Dog Stomach Problems

Dog stomach problems can vary a great deal in severity. They can range from just an upset tummy (perhaps from garbage eating), to a life threatening condition called gastric torsion. . . better known as canine bloat.

There are several things that can help you determine what kind of dog stomach problems you're dealing with. You'll notice most of them stem from dog owner education:

  • Know what's normal for your dog
  • Know how he lays, how she plays, what his tummy looks like normally
  • Know what your dog has access to
  • Garbage, chemicals, food, antifreeze, grass clippings, compost, etc.
  • Know what your dogs bathroom habits are (when, how often)
  • Know what your dogs stool looks like normally (color, consistency)

Judging by what they eat sometimes, we think our dog's have an iron gut. And actually, their stomachs are capable of processing things we don't even want to think about.

. . . But, they aren't made of iron and some dog stomach problems can be dealt with by pepto bismal, while others require an emergency trip to the vet. Take a look at some common symptoms below.

Dog Stomach Problems:
On this page you’ll find short summaries of different dog stomach problems. For in-depth information on a particular tummy disorder, click the links under each headline to learn more about that topic.

Symptoms of dog stomach problems

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Grass eating
  • Biting at their side or tummy
  • Restlessness
  • Bloated looking tummy

The most common reason for a dog to have stomach problems is food. Either them getting into food their not supposed to, or their own dog food causing problems such as allergies.

Also regarding food - Switching your dog's food, especially if you do it suddenly can cause a very upset digestive system. To avoid loose stools and other problems read switching dog food safely.

While the symptoms above are common to a lot of dog stomach problems, to help determine what your dealing with often depends on what combination of symptoms your dog is showing.

Specific Dog Stomach Problems

Vomiting and diarrhea are the two most common symptoms of a stomach problem, but unfortunately these two things can be a symptom of many other things as well.

It's best to pay very close attention if either is happening to your dog, and visit your vet if you have any concern that it may be more than just an upset stomach.

Dog Bloat

Canine bloat is is one of the most dangerous dog health problems there is.
It is an absolute emergency situation!

The clinical definition for bloat is gastric dilation volvulus or GDV, and it means "twisting of the stomach." It usually occurs after a dog wolfs down his food, drinks a bunch of water and then runs around or rolls around on the floor.

Bloat is actually 2 part -- The "dilation" part of it is when the stomach fills up with air, and puts pressure on other organs and makes it difficult for a dog to breathe. Basically, if he can't burp and get the air out of his stomach the condition worsens by putting pressure on veins that supply blood back to the heart.

When the stomach is filled with air, and escpecially when combined with rigoraus exercise, it can very easily rotate inside the dogs abdomen. This is the second part of the condition called "volvulus" and when this happens the blood supply to the stomach is cut off and it starts to die.

If you suspect your dog is bloating - Get to your veterinarian immediately!

Click the link above to learn more about the specific symptoms of canine bloat, what breeds are susceptible to it, ways you can help prevent it, and some things you can do at home or on your way to the vet to help the situation.

Canine Ulcers

Stomach ulcers in dogs are much the same as they are in people. Essentially, a stomach ulcer is a result of inflammation and erosion of the stomach lining.

Human stomach ulcers are often caused by bacteria, but that's not the case in dogs. The usual cause for dogs is anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin, as a dogs stomach is even more sensitive to them than we are.

The most common symptoms that say your dog has an ulcer is vomiting chronically (even when he hasn't eaten anything), and tarry looking stool (digested blood).

Of course vomiting and diarrhea or tarry looking stool can be a symptom of more dangerous diseases, so it's imperitive to way all of your dog's symptoms together and have a check up at the vet.

Click on the link above to learn more about dog stomach ulcers.

Motion Sickness in Dogs

Dog motion sickness is often a result of anxiety and stress. What we refer to is actually car sickness, as true motion sickness is a result of a problem in the inner ear.

Puppies usually have the biggest problem with car sickness because their inner ears are still developing. Most dogs will outgrow it.

It is a good idea to make every car ride for your dog as positive as possible, by starting out with short trips.

The most common symptoms of motion or car sickness are shaking, whining, drooling and yawning -- unfortunately, these symptoms are usually followed by vomiting :(

To learn more about how to prevent motion sickness and help your dog overcome it, click on the link above.

Vomiting in Dogs

Dog vomiting it probably the most common of all dog stomach problems, and should be payed close attention to. It could be something as simple as a minor tummy ache for numerous reasons, or it could be a symptom of a much more serious problem.

There are also different types of vomit -- what I mean by that is figuring out "how" your dog is vomiting, will help determine "why" she's vomiting.

Take the following two scenarios for instance:

  • Scenario #1 Your dog keeps bugging you to go outside. When you let her out she starts eating a bunch of grass, then she vomits and after a while appears to feels better.
  • Scenario #2 Your dog appears to need outside, but doesn't make it to the door before she starts projectile vomiting. You get her to drink a little water, and she vomits that up right away too.

Those 2 scenarios can mean very different things, and it's important to pay close attention. You can learn more about different kinds of vomiting, and what dog illnesses it might represent by clicking the link above.

Canine Flatulence

Dog flatulence, or better known as "passing gas", isn't one of the more dangerous of dog stomach problems, but it certainly can be annoying -- I call my dog "Stinky" for this very reason.

There are so many reasons for a dog to be flatulent, but most causes are food related. Some dog foods, even high quality brands can cause gas.

Quite a number of human foods cause gas as well. Cheese is well known for helping your dog clear a room (this I know too well from experience).

For a list of certain dog food ingredients, as well as human foods that tend to cause gas in your dog, click the link above.

Gastritis in Dogs

Canine gastritis is basically inflammation of the stomach lining. When the stomach lining is inflamed, it doesn't work like it's supposed to, which is to help digest food and protect the rest of the body from acids in the stomach.

Most cases are mild and don't last very long, and are called acute gastritis.

Other cases can be severe and or last for a longer period. When the problem lasts for a longer period of time, it's referred to as chronic gastritis.

There are numerous things that can cause gastritis, such as ingesting rotten food, toxins, certain plants, etc. But, some dogs are more sensitive, and feeding them certain table scraps that their stomach doesn't agree with can bring on a bout.

It can also be caused by an allergy of some sort, medications or an infection. Only a veterinarian can diagnose gastritis in your dog by taking blood tests, X-ray's of the abdomen and in some cases ultrasound.

The most common symptoms are a dog not wanting to eat, and vomiting, sometimes with blood in it. Of course those are symptoms of many dog stomach problems, so it's very important to see your vet if your dog seems "off" for more than a day or two.

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