Why Is My Dog’s Stomach Gurgling…
Poor Gut Health in Dogs and How to Help!
A healthy, functioning digestive system is essential for your dog to properly absorb nutrients from their food. These nutrients are then used to fuel your dog’s energy for daily life, in growth and repair and for all bodily functions. Gastrointestinal disease can affect any part of your dog’s digestive tract, resulting in symptoms such as bloating, vomiting, diarrhoea and weight loss.
Many dogs suffer from chronic digestive complaints. Veterinary advice should always be sought if you are concerned about your dog, but there are some changes you can make at home to optimise dog gut heath.
Signs of poor gut health in dogs
If your dog has always had a bit of a funny tum, you spend your evenings listening to a dog stomach gurgling and wondering if that’s normal, or your internet history is full of searches such as ‘dog stomach making noises’, then read on for the top signs of poor gut health in dogs!
Diarrhoea, sometimes with blood or mucus
Abdominal pain – your dog may have a hunched posture, or react when you touch their belly or pick them up
Dog stomach is bloated or distended
Inability to settle or get comfortable
Borborygmi – this is the vet term for that unhappy dog stomach rumbling noise!
When is a vet visit needed?
It can be difficult with gastrointestinal symptoms to known when just to feed a bland diet and give it some time, and when you need to take your pooch in for more professional help.
Is a dog stomach gurgling at night cause for concern?
How about a bloated belly, a few bouts of sick or a bit of diarrhoea?
It is often better to be on the safe side and call your vet if you are at all concerned about your pet. They may be able to reassure you and give advice over the phone if they feel your pup doesn’t require immediate attention.
However, here are some scenarios that warrant an appointment.
Young puppies, older dogs or those with other health concerns that develop gastrointestinal symptoms or appear unwell in themselves.
Vomiting or diarrhoea that is severe (multiple episodes in under 12 hours), or that contains blood.
A dog stomach upset that also makes them feel very lethargic or feverish.
If you think your dog is painful.
If you see your dog stomach distended and they are retching but not producing vomit.
What causes digestive problems in dogs?
Causes of digestive disease are both varied and many! Milder problems include eating unsuitable food, infections, and mild food intolerances.
More serious concerns are genuine food allergies, pancreatic disease, toxins, inflammatory conditions, blockages or cancers.
The term ‘gut health’ usually refers to your dog’s microbiome. This is the term used to describe the thousands of organisms which live within a dog’s intestines – bacteria, viruses, fungi and other small organisms.
The microbiome is hugely important, and if it becomes out of balance can cause ongoing digestive problems, as well as potentially impacting your dog’s immune system, behaviour and more! There are many things that can cause changes to the proportions of different organisms living in your dog’s gut, including stress, chronic health issues, antibiotics and obesity.
Ways to improve dog gut health
Digestive upsets are common in dogs, and are often mild and short-lived. However, there are some chronic conditions that require long-term management. Dogs with sensitive digestive tracts may show frequent mild symptoms such as the dogs stomach making noises and eating grass, or even your dog’s stomach making noises while sleeping. These indicate their belly isn’t quite happy - perhaps their food isn’t quite right for them, their microbiome is a little out of kilter, or they’re taking in too much air if they eat quickly which can be uncomfortable.
There are some simple changes you can make to your dog’s diet and environment that might make their tummies happier.
1. Ensure optimal nutrition
Providing your dog with a good diet is important in many ways, but is especially relevant if they suffer from digestive concerns. Look for a complete, balanced food which contains highly digestible, top-quality ingredients. Your vet will be able to advise you on a suitable food.
2. Slow down!
Guzzling food down too quickly can result in lots of air getting trapped in the intestinal tract, causing flatulence, discomfort, stomach noises and unsettled behaviour. Feeding smaller meals more frequently, and using a slow feeder bowl are really helpful for these super speedy guzzlers, as well as dogs who are prone to bloated stomachs.
3. Consider a pre or probiotic
Each dog has its own mix of organisms in their microbiome, and if this balance is disturbed, problems can arise. There are lots of things that can affect the microbiome, such as stress, age, antibiotics and other health conditions.
Using a gut supplement can help re-balance the intestinal flora and improve gut health. Always make sure you choose a reputable company whose product has undergone thorough research – your vet will be able to advise you.
Many dogs suffer from variety of digestive problems causing a range of symptoms from a bloated, rumbling tummy to vomiting, diarrhoea and weight loss. Often, veterinary intervention is needed, but there are some changes to be made at home. Ensuring your dog eats a suitable diet, not too quickly, and with a supplement to settle the microbiome if needed, are all changes you can make at home to optimise your dog’s gut health.