Dog’s Stomach Is Hard


Which Dogs Does Gastric Dilatation Volvulus Affect The Most

Why is My Dog’s Stomach Hard (8 Reasons Explained and What to do)

Gastric torsion occurs most often in middle-aged and geriatric dogs. It is not only present in older dogs, but is also more common in larger breeds with wider chests, as they have a greater propensity due to the size of their anatomy. Gastric torsion is common in larger dogs breeds such as, German Shepherds, Boxers and Labrador Retrievers.

Gastric torsion in dogs is a condition which can occur suddenly and is usually related to the intake of a large meal, vigorous exercise immediately after a large meal or drinking too much water after ingestion. The typical symptoms of canine gastric torsion include:

  • Restlessness, nervousness or agitation
  • Nausea with unsuccessful attempts to vomit
  • Distension of the abdomen
  • Pain when touching the belly

It is essential to take a dog with a swollen and hard belly to the vet. They will determine whether the inflamed belly is indeed gastric dilation volvulus or if there is another diagnosis to be made. If it is a positive gastric torsion diagnosis, then immediate action is required. Once the dog is stabilized, surgery will usually be carried out. Prognosis depends on the success of the surgery and how quickly action was taken.

How Do Vets Treat Bloat

Your vet will first release the build-up of gas and air inside the stomach to stop the tissue in the stomach from dying and take pressure off surrounding organs. This can be done using a tube and stomach pump, but surgery is sometimes needed. Its possible to untwist the gut at this point as well, but not always.

Symptoms Of A Dogs Upset Stomach

If your dog has an upset stomach or an issue that makes you think they have a stomach or gastrointestinal issue, they can display some or all of the following symptoms. These symptoms are grouped by cause to show you their similarities:

  • Parvovirus: dullness, fever, loss of appetite, progressing to vomiting and blood in the stool
  • Intestinal inflammation: diarrhea, strain to move bowels, pain when emptying bowels, weight loss, and vomiting
  • Constipation: hard, dry feces, straining to move bowels
  • Bloating: restlessness, discomfort, rapid breathing, abdominal swelling, dry retching, excessive drooling
  • Stomach inflammation: vomiting of bile, froth, fresh blood, or digested blood
  • Cancers: vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, pale gums
  • Obstruction: lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, low body temperatures, dehydration
  • Ulcers: vomiting fresh or digested blood, abdominal discomfort, pale gums, dark stool with blood, decreased appetite
  • Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis: sudden vomiting, bloody diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, depression
  • Inflammatory bowel disease: weight loss, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, swollen abdomen, fluid retention, watery diarrhea
  • Malabsorption: weight loss and/or diarrhea


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Why Is My Dogs Stomach Hard Causes And What To Do

Normally, if you touch your dogs stomach, it should be soft. It shouldnt be too fat, but it shouldnt be hard either. A hard stomach can be an indication of a serious medical condition and should be considered an immediate red flag.

While it could just be from overeating, a hard and swollen stomach could mean something serious, ranging from bloat or GDV to parasites. If you notice your pups belly is hard, its important to immediately note any other symptoms and call the vet quickly.

Its especially important to call the vet immediately if you suspect theyre in any pain. Getting them to the vet ASAP can potentially mean the difference between life and death.


How To Prevent Bloat

Gastric Dilation Volvulus (Bloat)

Although you can’t completely prevent bloat, there are measures you can take to reduce its likelihood of occurring. Gastropexy surgery may be recommended preventatively, particularly in Great Danes or other puppies predisposed to bloat. Gastropexy doesn’t prevent air from being trapped in the stomach, but it does keep the stomach from twisting.

You can take many at-home measures to minimize the risk of bloat. These include lowering your puppy’s food bowl, feeding smaller quantities of food over multiple meals throughout the day, separating multiple dogs at feeding times, and waiting several hours after eating before exercising your puppy. Positive puppy socialization that reduces anxiety can also help prevent bloat as it ages.

  • Why does eating too fast cause bloat?

    Often if your puppy eats too much or too fast, its belly can be overfilled with food and gas, press on other organs, and cause bloat.

  • How common is puppy bloat in a small breed dogs?

    Bloat most frequently occurs in large and giant breed dogs, but all dogs are able to experience the condition.

  • How fast does it take for bloat to set in?

    Bloat sets in within two to three hours after your puppy begins experiencing symptoms.

Read Also: Blood In Stool Stomach Pain

Can Other Things Cause A Hard Stomach

The above four conditions arent the only things that can cause your dog to have a hard stomach, but they are the most common. Internal bleeding from trauma or ruptured masses, blockages, and tumors can mimic some of the above symptoms, too. In younger pups, less worrying things such as roundworm infection can cause abdominal swelling.

A hard stomach isnt always an immediate cause for concern but should warrant further monitoring as the above serious conditions will have other symptoms and for the first two will require rapid veterinary attention.

What To Do If You Feel Bloated And Tired After Eating

Along with bloating, nausea, and fatigue, the symptoms of dumping syndrome include: Symptoms may appear during or straight after eating, or 13 hours after eating. Dietary changes can often help people to relieve symptoms. It can help to talk to a dietician so that a person with dumping syndrome can maintain their weight.

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, gastoparesis can cause the following symptoms: bloating nausea feeling full quickly heartburn vomiting abdominal pain

They may have a stomach ache or pass more gas than usual. In some cases, salty foods and carbohydrates can make someone feel sleepy or bloated. In this article, we look at the causes of bloating, nausea, and tiredness, and what people can do to relieve these symptoms.

Recommended Reading: 10 Ways To Reset Your Gut Health

How Can Bloat Be Prevented

For years, veterinarians have been looking for ways to prevent bloat. If you search on the Internet, you will find a host of suggestions, but much of it is folklore. We have to look at what is scientifically proven and implement those strategies.

Risk of bloat is correlated to chest conformation. Dogs with a deep, narrow chest very tall, rather than wide suffer the most often from bloat. Great Danes, who have a high height-to-width ratio, are five-to-eight times more likely to bloat than dogs with a low height-to-width ratio.

In addition to Great Danes, large- or giant-breed dogs at greatest risk include St. Bernards, Weimaraners, Irish Setters and Gordon Setters, Standard Poodles, and Doberman Pinschers. Males are twice as likely to bloat as females. Neutering or spaying has no effect on risk.

If a dog has relatives who have suffered from bloat, there is a higher chance he will develop bloat. These dogs should not be used for breeding.

Certain dietary ingredients have been blamed over the years, but the data is inconclusive. This is because most large-breed dogs are fed a cereal-based diet, so making a statement that those diets are to blame is difficult. However, we do know that foods containing soybean meal or having oils or fats in the first four ingredients increase the risk by fourfold.

How Do You Help A Dog With A Bloated Stomach

4 Reasons Why Your Dogs Stomach is Hard and What to Do

What is Bloat?

  • Dont use an elevated food bowl.
  • Dont exercise for at least an hour before or after eating.
  • Slow down your dogs eating.
  • Serve your dog multiple meals during the day in smaller portions.
  • Keep a simethicone product like Gas -x, Phazyme or Mylanta Gas in the house to initiate burping immediately.
  • Read Also: Stage 4 Liver Cancer Survival Rates

    What Every Pet Owner Needs To Know About Bloat

    Did you know thatbloat, is second only to cancer as a cause of death in dogs? Most pet owners are in the dark when it comes to this mysterious condition, so were offering some helpful information to help you recognize and treat bloat in dogs.

    To begin with, what exactly is bloat?

    Bloat occurs when a dogs stomach is filled with too much food, liquid, or gas, causing the stomach to expand. Typically this poses no real problem since dogs have mechanisms to relieve this pressure naturally. Youve undoubtedly heard, seen, or smelled the effects of a dog that ate his food too fast.

    Occasionally, though, dogs are unable to expel the cause of their bloat. While vets are still unsure of the cause, this form of bloat can cause serious trouble if left untreated. In the worst cases, the bloated stomach will continue to expand and put pressure on the heart and lungs, blocking the flow of blood to the heart and spleen and causing cardiac arrest.

    Canine bloat, or more technically, gastric dilatation and volvulus , is a top killer ofdogs, especially of deep-chested giant and large breeds, such as Great Danes and Standard Poodles. … The accumulation of gas sometimes causes the stomach to rotate or twist on its axis this is referred to as torsion or volvulus.

    Because of the rapid onset and high mortality rate associated with bloat, dog owners should keep a trained eye out for symptoms and take as many preventative measures as possible.

    What are the signs of bloat?

    Treatment Of Abdominal Effusion

    The treatment of abdominal effusion will depend on the cause. Often, if the effusion is causing discomfort for the dog, it can be drained fairly easily with a needle and syringe, usually without the need for any sedation as long as the patient is cooperative with remaining still while the fluid is drained. This procedure can be repeated every week or two as needed to maintain the comfort of the dog. However, this does not treat the underlying cause, only relieves the symptom. If the underlying cause is not able to be easily addressed, diuretic drugs may be prescribed these pull fluids from the body and remove the excess fluid from the body by increasing urine production. A salt-restricted diet may also be recommended in order to keep the body from trying to retain more water.

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    Tips To Prevent Stomach Problems In Your Dog

    To help prevent stomach problems, be sure to take your dog in for regular checkups so that your vet can keep tabs on the health of your pet’s heart, lungs, stomach, bowel, and other organs.

    A quick exam of your dog’s abdomen can also help you recognize some of the signs of stomach trouble. To examine your dog’s stomach, feel for tenderness to touch, heat, stickiness, lumps, and of course, swelling. Take your dog to the vet right away if you notice any problems.

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    What Does Abdominal Distension Indicate

    Lumps Be Gone Fatty Mass Dog Warts Lumps Bumps Natural

    A distended abdomen is either an organic or a functional problem. An organic problem can be explained by physical evidence, like a disease. Functional problems are observable but unexplained.

    Organic causes

    Organic causes of abdominal distension might include:

    • Menstruation, which causes water retention.
    • Significant recent weight gain, which tends to be stored as intra-abdominal fat and may restrict digestion.
    • An obstruction of the small or large bowel, causing a build-up of gas and waste matter.
    • Partial paralysis of the stomach causing a build-up of digestive contents.
    • Inflammation of the abdominal lining .
    • A build-up of fluid in the abdomen caused by liver disease .
    • Organ enlargement from inflammation or a growth.
    • Internal bleeding .

    Functional causes

    Functional reasons for a distended abdomen tend to involve digestive problems that cause gas and/or digestive contents to accumulate. Causes might include:

    • Constipation causing a build-up of feces and back-up of digestive contents.
    • Urinary retention causing a build-up of urine.
    • A disorder of the muscle contractions involved in digestion , causing digestive contents to back up.
    • Abdominal muscle weakness, which causes the abdominal contents to sag outwards and downwards .

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    Treatment For Bloat In Dogs

    Treatment of simple bloat can be quite straightforward. Dogs are usually hospitalized to receive large amounts of intravenous fluids and sometimes medicine. Theyre also walked often to stimulate movement of the gastrointestinal tract to help move the gas and food quickly through the body.

    A dog with GDV requires more intense care that typically includes:

    • Intravenous fluids with electrolytes to aggressively treat shock and improve circulation to vital organs.

    • Pain medications and often antibiotics to treat discomfort, shock and any death of tissues from the loss of circulation.

    • A procedure to decompress the stomach by removing gas from the stomach to allow blood flow to the lower half of the body. In some instances, this helps untwist the stomach.

    • Electrocardiogram to monitor for any heart abnormalities which frequently due to toxins from decreased circulation.

    • Surgery is performed as soon as the dog is as stable as possible. Depending on the severity of bloat, a vet may have to untwist the dogs stomach and/or spleen, and remove any part of the stomach wall that may have died due to loss of blood flow. The vet will also stitch the stomach to the body wall in a procedure called a gastropexy. This significantly reduces the risk of rotation of the stomach in the future.

    Diagnosis Of Abdominal Effusion

    Your veterinarian will often start with a basic blood work panel to assess your dogs red and white blood cell counts as well as organ function. Imaging of the abdomen with radiographs and/or ultrasound will also be recommended. A sample of the fluid in the abdomen can also be obtained using a fine needle aspiration with ultrasound guidance. The fine needle aspiration involves placing a sterile needle into the fluid build-up in the abdomen and withdrawing a few milliliters of fluid. The fluid can then be analyzed either in-house or by sending it out to the laboratory. If heart disease is suspected, an echocardiogram and consultation with a cardiologist may be recommended.

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    How Can I Prevent Stomach Problems In My Dog

    While certain conditions cant be prevented, there are several things pet owners can do to keep their dogs in tip-top shape to lessen the likelihood of stomach issues.

    Take your dog in to see his vet regularly. The vet can then keep tabs on his overall health, as well as take a closer look at his organs to establish a baseline. Regular check-ups will also remind you to stay up-to-date on all of your dogs vaccinations and parasite prevention measures.

    Feed your dog a well-balanced and high-quality diet thats appropriate for their age and health status. Try to limit how often youre giving table scraps.

    Dont allow your pup into places where there might be things that would harm him. Keep garbage and household toxins like cleaning chemicals well out of reach. Research indoor plants before bringing them home to ensure theyre pet-safe. Make sure the toys youre giving him dont have any small components that could break off and cause blockages.

    Is Your Dog Drinking Too Much Water And Why

    Why My Dog Has a Hard And Swollen Belly

    So, you might be thinking that maybe your dog is drinking lots of water, and that made his stomach swollen.

    Believe it or not, such a simple explanation is many times the reason for a hard and swollen looking belly.

    Why would they be drinking so much?

    The simple reason that your dog is drinking lots of water is excessive thirst.

    It might be because of the hot weather, or your dog lost a great amount of body water in excessive sweating or panting.

    In many cases this is normal. Basically, when your dog is thirsty , they dont know when to stop in a given session of lapping down what is solving their problem in the moment.

    But lets look further, because excessive drinking can go beyond just needing to replenish. I hear you already if youre saying, my dog hasnt been in the heat or panting a lot.

    Generally, a healthy normal dog drinks between 20-70ml/kg body weight per day.

    If she is drinking above this, she might be suffering from polydipsia.

    In other words, excess water drinking may be a sign of an underlying disease.

    The following are some common medical conditions associated with excessive thirst and increased water drinking:

    • Kidney problems
    • Cushing Syndrome

    Symptoms of Polydipsia

    The best way to identify whether your dog is suffering from polydipsia or not is to look at the following symptoms associated with polydipsia:

    Drinking excess water due to any cause can make your dogs stomach swollen and distended.

    Remember our digestive lesson from above?

    Also Check: Treatment Liver Disease In Dogs

    Does Functional Dyspepsia Ever Go Away

    Among those who seek medical care for their functional dyspepsia, only 20% report permanent relief. How long does functional dyspepsia last? For most people, its a chronic condition that comes and goes indefinitely, depending on many factors. The best thing you can do is to try and manage your symptoms as they arise, and try to develop an awareness of the foods, stress triggers and lifestyle habits that affect your symptoms. The good news is that FD is not a dangerous or progressive condition. It should get better at least at times, and it shouldnt get worse.

    Read Also: Does Apple Cider Vinegar Flatten Your Stomach

    Causes Of Distended Abdomen In Dogs

    • Bloat – A very serious condition in which gas rapidly fills the stomach
    • Bleeding -An emergent condition in which blood is pooling in the abdomen
    • Free fluid – A serious condition when fluid builds in the abdomen, may signify disease or failure of major organs
    • Pregnancy – The female usually presents with a swollen abdomen by 6 weeks of expectancy, and will also have swollen mammary glands
    • Obesity – The abdomen should be soft and weight should be distributed around the body
    • Growths/tumors – Benign or may signify a disease such as cancer
    • Uterine infection
    • Hormonal condition i.e. Cushing’s Disease
    • Peritonitis – Inflammation of the peritoneum, the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the abdominal organs

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