Have you ever heard a loud noise and wondered, “Why is my dog’s stomach making a noise?” You’re not alone. And, more importantly, you may have wondered if that a gurgling dog’s belly is something to worry about.
When a dog’s stomach makes a noise – what is normal?
The sound of a dog’s belly, like everything in medicine, has a fancy name. The scientific name for the dog’s stomach cries is borborygmi. These humming sounds are made as gas moves from one part of the intestine to another.
It is normal to have some gas in the intestines. And it is normal for the intestines to participate in peristalsis or the movement of substances in the intestines around. Therefore, gas movement in the intestine is normal, and the soft borborygmi is therefore a normal phenomenon.
Borborygmi is normally quiet. Try the following experiment: Put your ear on the dog’s belly. You will hear periods of silence interspersed with soft hums. This is the normal sound of borborygmi.
However, some dogs experience abnormal bowel movements. During these episodes, borborygmi can be heard from all over the room. These sounds aren’t completely normal, but they don’t always represent a crisis. They sometimes indicate something is wrong with the intestinal tract. In other cases, they are caused by nothing more serious than hunger.
But what if the noise? loud?
Normal, quiet borborygmi occurs when a normal amount of gas is moved through the intestines in the normal way. Abnormal gut noise occurs when the intestines contain it an unusually large amount of gas, or when the intestines increase abnormally. Both phenomena often occur simultaneously.
Does your dog’s stomach make a sound because it’s hungry?
One of the most common causes of a dog’s stomach to make noise is when your dog is hungry. The intestines of hungry animals do not contain a large amount of ingested material. (Remember how the doctors got those fancy words for everything? Ingesta, in most cases, means food.)
Therefore they have a greater density between gas and solids. And the empty intestine may begin to function in response to feeding as expected. The result will be audible gut noises, or “belly grunts”. Breakfast is a treatment for this type of uterus.
Are those noises from your dog eating something strange – or something it shouldn’t have?
Unfortunately, hunger isn’t the only thing that can make your bowels gurgle. Anything that can cause a digestive disorder of any kind can cause borborygmi to be heard.
Diet, such as what happens when a dog breaks into the trash or eats new food, is a common cause of a dog’s stomach making noise. This type of digestive disorder is usually mild (it can be compared to what can happen when a person who doesn’t normally eat spicy food goes to a Thai restaurant).
Other reasons your dog’s stomach makes a noise
Other serious causes of a dog’s stomach to make noise include intestinal parasites, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal foreign bodies, hemorrhagic gastroenteritiscertain toxicity, adverse drug reactions, metabolic problems such as liver or kidney disease, glandular disorders and even cancer of the intestine.
What to do when your dog’s stomach makes a noise
So how much worry should you be about your dog’s stomach making a noise and what should you do? It depends on the circumstances. If it is morning and your dog seems to be feeling well but has not been fed, consider offering breakfast. If he eats with his usual enthusiasm and the noise stops, probably no problem.
On the other hand, if a dog’s stomach makes a sound associated with symptoms such as mild coma or poor appetite, it may be a problem with lactation. You should be on the lookout for diarrhea or vomiting (although they don’t guarantee growth), and consider offering an easy-to-digest diet like boneless chicken breast, boiled with steamed white rice.
If your dog makes a loud noise in the gut and it seems sick, you should see the vet immediately. The alarming symptoms include significant lethargy, significant loss of appetite or thirst, diarrhea, and especially vomiting.
If you are in doubt about whether your dog needs to see a vet, the safest option is to always bring it in. You’d better be cautious in cases like these.
Does your dog’s cries hurt?
Some people wonder if the loud noise in the intestines is causing pain. Again, it depends on the circumstances surrounding the dog’s stomach making a noise. The hunger strikes are not particularly painful, but the cramps are related to some more serious causes of large borborygmi that can be extremely painful. Borborygmi pain is often accompanied by lethargy and loss of appetite. If your dog seems to be in pain, you should see a veterinarian.
Finally, some dogs experience a loud noise in their intestines frequently. If you find your dog’s stomach make a loud – loud – noise several times a week, then you should use the presence (or hopefully none) of other symptoms to guide your response. Dogs with frequent large borborygmi associated with episodes of diarrhea or poor appetite may be suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, parasites, or some other chronic intestinal disorder that needs treatment.
Dogs that feel well but make frequent loud noises in the intestines probably do nothing wrong (although you should have your vet confirm it). After all, some individuals have more temperament than others, and some intestines are naturally more active than others.
Tell us: Does your dog stomach make a sound? How do they sound? What’s the culprit making your dog’s stomach noises?
Thumbnail: Photography © WilleeCole | iStock / Getty Images Plus.
This work was originally published in 2015.