Let’s talk tummies! One question that we get a lot is “why is my dog’s stomach making noises?” There can be a lot of reasons for a noisy belly, and the great news is that most of the time, the noises are normal!
That said, sometimes belly sounds can be the first sign that there is a bigger problem brewing.
In this post, we will talk about these sounds, and when you should be concerned.
Why is My Dog’s Stomach Making Noises?
Most of the time, a rumble coming from your dog’s stomach is a normal part of the digestion process.
The act of digestion is pretty straightforward. Food gets swallowed, and enters the stomach.
Stomach acids and enzymes chemically break down the food while the stomach contracts.
This process mixes the food around until it is a slurry of digested material and fluids.
From there, this mixture is moved into the small intestine. That is where the dog’s body is able to absorb the energy from the food and move it into the bloodstream.
What’s left heads for the large intestine, where as much water as possible is reclaimed.
The remaining material is compacted into a solid and then stored until it is expelled as feces.
Digestion Takes 6 Hours to 2 Days
It can take anywhere from 6 hours up to a couple of days for a meal to be digested. Ten hours is about average for most dogs. This range is dependent on a few things, including:
Age of Dog
Older dogs digest their food slower, as the intestinal tract starts to slow down. Puppies, on the other hand, seem to do nothing but eat and poop!
Type and Quality of Food
Different kinds of food will be digested at different rates. Wet foods may be digested in as little as 5 or 6 hours, while dry foods may take up to 10 hours. Raw meats and vegetables may take even longer.
Best Food For Dog Digestion
The best food for dog digestion are those that are the least processed and are nutritionally balanced.
There are a variety of veterinarian recommended choices out there. The type you choose will depend on the size, breed, age, and nutritional requirements of your dog.
Choose from these top quality brands:
Making Your Own Dog Food
There are countless ways to make your own dog food. The problem with that is the time it takes, the added expense, and making sure you are feeding your dog a nutritionally balanced diet.
Unless you’re a dietician, it might be hard to get the right amount of calories, nutrients, minerals, fat, etc. in the recipes you choose.
Make sure you get it right and go with the pros.
They might seem expensive at first, but when you subtract the food you’d normally buy and factor in time saved (plus you can be guaranteed the food is just right for your dog’s particular needs), it’s worth it at the end of the day.
Normal Digestion Noises
Digestion is a noisy process. There are a lot of different muscles involved in moving the food through the digestive tract.
The stomach itself is a giant muscle that both mixes the food and pushes it into the top of the small intestine.
Often, you hear sounds when your dog is hungry, or because they have just eaten their meal.
Typical Causes of Stomach Noise
When your dog is hungry, their body anticipates the upcoming meal, just like our bodies do when we are hungry.
The stomach starts to make the digestive juices and begins to contract in preparation. This makes those gurgling sounds so familiar to hungry folks everywhere!
After your dog has eaten, you are hearing the result of this digestive muscle activity.
The sounds are made by the liquid slurry of food and digestive juices being squeezed from the stomach into the intestines, or the sound being made as this slurry is moved through the intestines.
Another reason for a dog’s stomach making noise is flatulence. In this case, the noise is actually originating in the small intestine.
There are many foods that ferment naturally in the small intestine, producing gas that also passes down the digestive tract. A few hours after a meal, you may hear the sounds of this gas as it moves through the small and large intestines.
If you dog has problems with excessive gas production, you should examine the ingredient list of their diet.
Beet pulp, beans, peas and soy products are all associated with fermentation in the small intestine. If your dog is very gassy, these ingredients could be adding to the problem.
When to Worry About Stomach Noises
Honestly, if the only thing concerning you is the noises you are hearing, then you can probably relax.
As long as your dog is resting comfortably and has no other symptoms, the noises are probably caused by normal digestion.
Even if you don’t usually hear your dog’s stomach making noise, we wouldn’t worry unless there were other signs of a problem as well.
Sometimes a dog just eats faster than usual, or drinks a bunch of water after a meal. Maybe they ate a new treat, or snacked on some grass in the yard. These can alter the sounds your dog’s stomach makes while it digests the food.
Signs of an Upset Stomach
Sometimes your dog’s noisy stomach is accompanied by other symptoms. Keep on eye on things if you notice these signs that your dog’s stomach is upset.
Dog’s Stomach is Painful
This can be a subtle symptom, and some dogs hide their pain really well. Signs that a dog has a painful tummy include pacing, panting, arching their back, and laying their belly flat on a cool surface (like a kitchen floor).
Also, many dogs try to eat grass when their bellies are painful. It is better to prevent them from doing this, as the grass can just make them feel worse.
This kind of pain usually passes within a few hours. If it is accompanied by other symptoms, you may want to make an appointment with your vet.
It is no fun, but dog vomit happens. Most of the time, we have no idea what caused them to vomit. Vomiting can be both a benign process or a sign of a bigger problem.
A single episode of vomiting isn’t usually a big deal. Multiple episodes of vomiting, however, point to a bigger problem. Even then, it just depends.
Examine the vomit, and make a note of what you see in it.
Common things to see in dog vomit include partially digested food, grass and other natural materials like twigs, and bile (when they vomit on an empty stomach).
More concerning things you may find in dog vomit include parts of dog toys, remains of treats like rawhide, pig’s ears and cow hooves, or foreign objects like rocks.
Go to the vet or emergency hospital immediately if your dog:
- Is vomiting blood or a substance that looks like coffee grounds.
- Is vomiting food and water immediately after eating/drinking (not holding either down).
- Is retching but is not able to vomit, or is not producing any vomit. This could be a sign of bloat. Emergency care is needed ASAP!
This is one of the more common signs of an upset stomach.
Diarrhea can range from a semi-solid stool to a soft stool all the way to a complete liquid. Sometimes a dog will have a normal stool, and then have diarrhea shortly thereafter.
You can treat diarrhea at home by feeding a bland or homemade diet. Some folks use probiotics as well, or add pumpkin to their dog’s diet.
This problem will usually resolve itself within a few days.
When to Seek a Veterinarian for Diarrhea
Head to the vet if your dog has had diarrhea for more than a few days without any improvement. Also, if they have vomiting and diarrhea together, a vet visit is a good idea.
Bring a fresh stool sample with you! The vet might want to test it for parasites or signs of a foodborne pathogen.
It is not uncommon to notice fresh blood in the stool when a dog has a bout of diarrhea.
If your dog is producing a stool that looks black and tar-like, seek veterinary care urgently.
Medications that Upset the Stomach
Many medications can cause an upset stomach in dogs.
Oral flea and tick products like Bravecto, Comfortis, Trifexis and NexGard are all associated with vomiting and sometimes diarrhea in dogs.
You can lessen the chances of your dog vomiting by feeding the medication with a small meal.
As long as your pet holds the medication down for an hour, you do not need to redose them!
The active ingredient that prevent parasites is already absorbed by then. If they vomit sooner than one hour after, call your vet for advice.
Noisy Can Be Normal!
As you can see, it is pretty normal for your dog’s stomach to make noises.
Unless you are seeing other signs that your dog is not feeling well, the noises themselves should not cause you any worry.
As always, if you have concerns about your dog’s stomach noises, flatulence or belching, consult your vet. They are a great source of information, and they can reassure you that all is well!
Jen Clifford has a B.A. in Biology from Reed College. She was a field biologist for several years, and then spent 10 years working in veterinary medicine as a receptionist and technician. Jen is currently a freelance writer living in the Pacific Northwest with her tribe of pets. She is a passionate animal lover who is dedicated to helping people find solutions to their pet-related challenges. You can find more of her work at her website http://MyWickedTribe.com