Who of us hasn’t woken up in the morning sometimes only to find our stomach’s rumbling. Unless you have an underlying medical issue, the normal cure is to eat some food. Our stomach is reminding us that we are hungry. But what about our furry friends? Is the same true for them?
Dr Eric Barchas, who is a veterinarian in the San Francisco area, writes in the February 1st 2020 Dogster magazine that gurgling in a dog’s tummy can be either a normal part of digestion or a cause for concern. Like so much of dogs’ activity, gurgling should be looked upon in the context of how a dog is acting and is he showing signs of lethargy, discomfort, vomiting or being off his food.
So let’s get technical for a minute. The scientific name for your dog’s stomach making noises is borborygmi. These gurgling sounds are produced when gas moves from one portion of the intestines to another.
It is normal for there to be some gas in the intestines. And it is normal for the intestines to engage in motility, or activity that moves intestinal contents around. Thus, it is normal for gas to move around in the intestines, and soft borborygmi are therefore normal phenomena. When a dog is hungry, the ratio of gas to solids is higher and the gaseous activity in the intestines can create normal gurgling. As with humans, giving your dog some food may well decrease the sound of gurgling.
However, what if excessive gurgling has been caused by your dog getting into something he shouldn’t have or you inadvertently gave him food which disagrees with his digestion? Your dog’s reaction to whatever he ate will determine your next steps. If gurgling leads to, say, diarrhea, then an easily digestible diet of boiled chicken breast and steamed white rice for a couple of days may help. You also may want to chat to your vet about trying probiotics. If this doesn’t solve the problem and particularly if the situation worsens to include vomiting and your dog showing signs of further discomfort, then a trip to your vet’s is called for.
Other potentially serious causes of your dog’s stomach making noises include intestinal parasites, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal foreign bodies, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, certain toxicities, adverse reactions to medications, metabolic problems such as liver or kidney disease, glandular disorders and even cancer of the intestines.
Does a loud, gurgling stomach hurt a dog? If caused by hunger, then unlikely. Cramps associated with some of the more serious causes of loud borborygmi can be downright agonizing. Painful borborygmi are usually accompanied by lethargy and poor appetite. If your dog is in pain, a trip to the vet is in order. Dogs who experience regular loud borborygmi in conjunction with episodes of diarrhea or poor appetite might be suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, parasites, or some other chronic intestinal disorder that should be treated.
You better than anyone know your dog and his mannerisms. After loud gurgling has occurred, watch for the signs of abnormal behaviour and act accordingly.