Diarrhea, stomach making noise (gurgling), and no appetite are all signs of upset stomach in dogs. Here’s how to deal with your dog’s stomach problems, based on my experience with my terrier Georgie.
Georgie’s tummy was upset for almost a full year before I finally figured out what was wrong. Her stomach was making weird, loud noises for such a small dog. She had diarrhea often, and sometimes she refused to eat dog food or delicious treats. Here’s what I found out – here, I share general information about what dogs should and should not eat, plus specific causes of gurgling noises and stomach problems in dogs.
“Some foods are good for people but bad for dogs,” says veterinarian Carmela Stamper, who works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Our bodies may break down foods or other chemicals that a dog can’t tolerate. A dog’s body processes food much differently.”
She adds that both people and dogs can have severe allergic reactions to foods, but the symptoms of allergies is different in dogs. Allergic reactions tend to manifest themselves more in skin or ear issues, and certain human foods can cause stomach or intestinal problems in dogs.
So if your dog’s stomach is making funny gurgling noises – or if your dog is having stomach problems – it may be caused by whatever your dog is eating. Remember that a certain food might harm one dog, but not another. It depends on your dog’s genetic makeup and size, as well as the amount that he eats.
“A big lab that eats a bar of dark chocolate may not have any problems,” says Dr Stamper, “whereas a Chihuahua could get dangerously ill.”
Probiotics for dog’s stomach problems
A healthy, safe way to deal with stomach problems in dogs are the Fortiflora Canine Nutritional Supplements. They promote a strong immune system and contain high levels of antioxidants, vitamins A, E, and C. Yogurt with probiotics is also good for dogs, but a canine nutritional supplement that replaces intestinal flora doesn’t add calories and fat to your dog’s diet.
Probiotics are important for dogs (and humans!) because diarrhea and gurgling stomach noises may be linked to a lack of healthy intestinal bacteria in your dog. If your dog’s stomach is making noises, you may need to experiment with different foods and supplements until you find what works for you. Dr Stamper didn’t suggest this tip for dealing with gurgling noises in your stomach’s dog – it’s what I used to soothe my dog’s stomach problems and gurgling noises.
And, here’s what else worked for me and my dog’s terrible tummy…
What Causes Gurgling Stomach Problems in Dogs?
“Fox-terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs.” – Jerome K. Jerome.
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My dog Georgie is a terrier, and she has been a “sinner” ever since we adopted her from the SPCA four years ago! She barks at male joggers, refuses to come when called if a squirrel is within a five mile radius, and barks when passersby look at the house (you should hear her when they have the nerve to come up the stairs and knock on the front door!).
And, my dog has a mild-to-severe stomach problems that took me almost two years to solve.
Dogs can get intestinal diseases, such as ulcerative colitis
I searched online for “stomach problems in dogs” but found nothing helpful. So, since I solved Georgie’s tummy troubles, I thought I’d better share my tips! I hope they help you figure out what’s causing your dog’s stomach gurgling, diarrhea, or lack of appetite.
Sometimes, gurgling tummy noises can indicate a serious illness such as cancer or intestinal bowel disease. Other times, stomach problems are the result of something your dog ate or killed. Georgie is a terrier who loves to hunt and kill squirrels, and that can cause all sorts of intestinal problems. But of course that doesn’t cause an intestinal disease or disorder, such as ulcerative colitis.
Dogs can have “human” stomach diseases and disorders
I took Georgie to the veterinarian several times, and we decided she probably has IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Or, perhaps she even has IBD (irritable bowel disease). I figured this out by searching the internet for “dog’s bloody stool” and “dog not eating.”
The reason I thought she might have irritable bowel is because her symptoms are exactly the same as mine. I have ulcerative colitis. My symptoms include stomach upset, gurgling guts, diarrhea, bloody stool, lack of appetite, and gas…it seemed like my dog’s stomach problems matched my own, and my diagnosis of colitis was accurate!
Tylan – a stomach remedy for dogs
The veterinarian did two tests for parasites; both came back negative. She said that the only way to know for sure if our dog has irritable bowel syndrome is to take a tissue sample. Instead of putting Georgie under anaesthetic and making her undergo surgery, I chose to give her Tylan.
Tylan is an antibiotic that can cure infections. It’s often prescribed when a dog has diarrhea, and is used to help heal stomach and gut symptoms caused by colitis and intestinal problems. I also recently learned that Tylan tastes awful, which explains why Georgie won’t eat it unless it’s covered by chicken or cheese.
Immune and digestive tonic for dogs
Paxxin-Digestive and Immune Tonic for dogs might be a good alternative to Tylan (Tylan is a prescription medication that a veterinarian prescribes for a dog’s stomach problems).
Paxxin can sooth and heal the digestive system, stimulate appetite, and calm your dog’s nervous system. I haven’t tried it for my dog’s stomach problems, but it does lubricate and protect internal mucous membranes. Check out the reviews from dog owners who tried it, on Amazon.
The summer season – when everything is Blossoming! – can be a tricky time for dogs who like to eat off the sidewalk. My dog’s stomach problems and gurgling noises increase in the summer, because she finds food in the park that was discarded at picnics and barbecues. Raw meat can contain E. coli, Salmonella, or other harmful bacteria – so don’t allow your dog to eat raw hamburger patties, steaks, or chicken breasts when you’re barbecuing.
“Food safety is important to you and your pet,” says the FDA veterinarian. “Don’t handle raw meat and then give your dog a treat unless you’ve washed your hands first. And remember it works the other way around, too! People can get sick after handling contaminated dog food, not washing their hands, and then using their hands to eat a sandwich or a slice of pizza.”
Probiotics for helping with stomach problems in dogs
Diarrhea and gurgling stomach noises may be linked to a lack of healthy intestinal bacteria in your dog. I’ve been told that yoghurt with probiotics is good for dogs, but I give my dog the canine nutritional supplement that replaces intestinal flora.
Probiotics are especially helpful if your dog has diarrhea, because diarrhea cleans out the intestinal tract. Not in a good way.
How to Deal With Your Dog’s Stomach Problems
Take your dog to the veterinarian for a checkup. I know vets are expensive and sometimes seems useless (I was frustrated with the three veterinarians we tried because they didn’t do anything about my dog’s stomach making noises), but you need to get a professional opinion about your dog’s stomach problems.
Here’s what worked for me…
Sensitive stomach dog food
Purina Pro Plan Dry Adult Dog Food, Sensitive Skin and Stomach Formula is what I feed Georgie, along with a cup of chicken soup and a teaspoon of white rice. I give her half a cup of the dry dog food along with a sprinkle of the Tylan twice a day.
And no more marrow bones. What I finally discovered is that marrow bones – which I regularly gave Georgie – are too rich for her. She only weighs 22 pounds, and if she eats the rich, protein-laden marrow out of a raw soup bone, her stomach gets upset. I don’t know why the marrow bones didn’t seem to bother her the first six months she was on Tylan, but it worked to solve her tummy troubles now.
Try different things to stop your dog’s stomach noises
The first six months Georgie was on Tylan, she didn’t have a single stomach problem! So I foolishly didn’t renew her prescription, and have spent the last six months trying to get her tummy troubles under control again. I don’t know why the Tylan didn’t automatically pick up where it left off – she was doing great for so long, but taking her off then putting her back on wasn’t as effective or easy as I thought it’d be.
So, back came the diarrhea, stomach noises, gurgling guts, and no appetite. I don’t know if she felt pain because of her upset stomach, but I fear so. My colitis hurts me, and I think Georgie’s gurgling guts aren’t comfortable for her.
Give your dog a bland diet
Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food, Hi Prairie Canine Formula with Roasted Bison & Venison is a very popular bestselling grain free dog food. Made with real roasted meats, supplemented with fruits and vegetables, it delivers natural antioxidants to protect your dog’s health. It’s also packed with highly digestible proteins that supports a healthy immune system.
Of course, there is no guarantee that any dog food (grainfree or not) will stop your dog’s stomach from making noise and gurgling. But, it’s worth trying different types of natural, organic dog foods until you find what works.
I give Georgie chicken soup and rice every morning for breakfast and every night for dinner. I make my own homemade chicken soup – I just boil a chicken carcass for three or four hours. She loves it, and it’s so good for her tummy. I supplement with a half cup of seafood kibble (the Purina Sensitive Formula dog food that I described above), which is made for dogs with sensitive stomachs and skin.
Eliminate everything but the chicken soup and rice
I figured out it was the marrow bones that was causing my dog’s stomach upset by giving her only chicken soup and rice for a few days. When her tummy was fine, I added her normal treats back to her diet. When I gave her the marrow bone, voila! Her guts and stomach made gurgling noises the next day, and she refused to eat. A fellow dog owner told me it’s the same with her dog – she only gives marrow bones for 15 minutes a couple times a week.
Foods never to feed your dog:
- Grapes, raisins, and currants can cause kidney failure in some dogs. This is worse than stomach problems, such as gurgling noises and diarrhea!
- Fried and fatty foods can not only give your dog a stomach ache, but can also cause a potentially life-threatening disease called pancreatitis.
- Moldy foods are not something you would feed your family, and your dog shouldn’t eat them either. If you put moldy cheese rinds or hamburger buns in the trash can, make sure your dog doesn’t dig into the garbage. Also – if you have a compost heap that your dog likes to nose around in, make sure the moldy scraps are well out of reach.
- Onions, garlic, and chives (including onion and garlic powder) can be harmful to your dog’s stomach, intestines, and other organs. If your food contains lots of onions and garlic – like mine does – don’t let your dog get into the leftovers.
- Salty snacks, in large quantities, could also cause stomach and intestinal problems in your dog. “Feeding the odd potato chip or pretzel probably won’t do any harm,” says Dr Stamper. “But if your dog gets into a whole bag of them, he could get really sick. Make sure your dog has access to plenty of water at all times, especially if he gets into salty snacks.”
Two more foods that will upset your dog’s stomach include macadamia nuts and sugar substitutes. I give my dog peanut butter, and only recently learned to avoid macadamia nuts.
If you’re a long-time dog owner, you’ve probably heard that chocolate is really bad for them. But did you realize that xylitol – a sugar substitute used in many sugarless products – can be deadly for dogs? Again, it goes beyond “just” causing stomach problems, gurgly noises, and diarrhea in your dog. You wouldn’t purposely feed xylitol to your dog, but make sure your sugarless gum, candies, foods, and some peanut butters and other nut butters are kept safely hidden from your dog.
“If you feed your dog pills coated in peanut butter, or put peanut butter in their hollow chew toys, make sure to check the list of ingredients first to make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol,” says the FDA veterinarian.
A final tip for curing your dog’s stomach noises and problems
One of the best sources of information about your dog’s health is other dog owners.
I’ve been told to give my dog charcoal, canned pumpkin, and yam – all are supposed to calm indigestion and upset stomach in dogs. I tried all three, but none calmed my terrier’s tummy. Still, if you haven’t tried it, you might consider adding a tablespoon of charcoal, pumpkin or yam to your dog’s dinner and breakfast.
If you want to stop the noises your dog’s stomach makes – and the gross stuff and smells coming out of your dog’s intestines and back end – you have to experiment with different remedies and solutions.
I hope my tips help you figure out your dog’s stomach gurgles…I welcome your comments below, but I can’t give advice on what to do when your dog’s stomach makes noises.
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May your dog’s tummy noises and stomach problems go away quickly, and not be the cause of any more trouble for your dog!