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Abdominal issues in dogs

by Ricardo Diogo on June 22, 2021

Estimated Read Time: 4 ½ minutes

Summary: In this blog, we learn all about the different abdominal issues in dogs and the signs of stomach issues in pups that you should look out for…


A painful abdomen can be caused by so many things and thus create abdominal issues in dogs. Unfortunately, our doggies can’t communicate to us when they’re experiencing pain in their abdomen or stomach, so it’s important we, as responsible pet parents, know what to look for. And, if we spot any tell-tale signs that something’s up with their abdomen, it’s important we act with haste and get them properly assessed by their vet quickly - as some abdomen issues can be caused by serious underlying problems…


Abdominal pain almost always occurs as a symptom of another problem, so several signs of abdominal pain can present themselves at once. Things to look for include:

  • Diarrhea (may also be a bloody or mucus-covered stool)
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty getting up from laying down
  • Whimpering/Whining/Vocalization
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Swollen/Tense/Hard abdomen 
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Low mood
  • Inability to get comfortable
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Constipation
  • Flatulence
  • Strange posture (They may hunch themselves or adopt a “downward-facing dog position” - forelimbs and chest on the floor, hind end raised)
  • Reluctance to be touched/picked up
  • Gastric Torsion/Bloating

In the case of bloating, it is essential you get your dog to a vet as a matter of emergency. Bloating occurs when air has become trapped in your dog’s stomach, and isn’t able to be relieved via farting or burping. If there’s enough air trapped, the stomach can end up twisting which can kill a dog as the stomach expansion can cause internal bleeding, stomach rupture, and put the body into shock - notably, this is more of a risk in dogs with deep chests. 

Time is critical. Signs of bloating include anxious, agitated behavior (attempting to be sick or pacing), difficulty breathing, dribbling, and/or a distended (large) stomach.

small terrier dog on beach


There are so many potential reasons why your dog may be experiencing abdominal pain. They can include:

  • Trapped wind
  • Parasitic infection (for example, worms)
  • Stress/Anxiety
  • A sudden change of food (changing a dog’s food brand/type should always be done gradually)
  • Eating something they shouldn’t 
  • Parvovirus (more common in puppies)
  • Food allergy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Pancreatitis (Usually caused by a high-fat diet)
  • Intestinal blockages 
  • Addison’s disease
  • Kidney/Liver Problems
  • Cancer
  • A diabetes complication
  • A urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • A gastrointestinal/stomach ulcer
  • Ischemia

And more! Because of the vast array of reasons your pup may be experiencing abdominal pain, it is always wise to get the issue assessed by their vet and to obtain their professional advice and treatment. 

However, if your dog just seems to have a sensitive stomach, there are things you can do to help and support their general digestive health.

poodle dog


Firstly, move your dog onto a bland diet like plain, lean chicken, and rice. This is usually advised when a dog is experiencing a bout of diarrhea or sickness, but many dog owners choose to adopt this blander diet for their dog every day - particularly if they seem to have a sensitive stomach generally. To make sure they’re getting the fiber they need, you can treat them with (or add to their bowl) pieces of cooked sweet potato and/or small pieces of carrot or cucumber. 

Secondly, you should always make sure fresh, clean water in a sanitized bowl is available and accessible to them at all times so they can manage their hydration levels.

Thirdly, be mindful you’re not over-exercising your pooch or under-exercising them as this can stress out their stomach. If you’re unsure how much exercise your dog needs, check out our handy guide below, or consult with your vet. 

How Much Should You Exercise A Dog?

Lastly, consider giving your pup a dog-specific probiotic supplement, sourced from a reputable, respected brand (like us!). Probiotics can boost the essential, good bacteria in your dog’s gut and not only help their digestive system work optimally and relieve abdominal issues they may be experiencing, but also can support their overall health and bring about good behavior! 

Always check with your vet regarding any abdominal issue and seek advice on any sign of a stomach problem. It’s essential for your dog’s wellbeing and happiness that you understand what the underlying cause of their discomfort is so you can help relieve them of it ASAP.


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