Why Is My Dogs Stomach Hard

A dog’s stomach should typically feel soft to the touch. If your dog’s stomach feels unusually hard, that may indicate that they have a digestive problem. Cushing’s disease, peritonitis, and gastric dilatation volvulus are among the common stomach conditions that result in a hard stomach. You should immediately take your dog to the vet if their stomach is hard.

Many diverse conditions, including various stomach problems, infections, and internal bleeding, can result in a hard stomach.

Being a responsible pet parent means keeping a watch out for stomach problems. If left untreated, stomach troubles in dogs can result in major medical complications, therefore you don’t want to abandon your dog in pain. Take your dog to the vet right away if they exhibit signs of a stomach issue, such as vomiting or diarrhea.

Why then is my dog’s tummy more rigid than usual? This article will discuss the causes of a dog’s hard stomach and what you may do to treat it. The following information is important if your dog’s stomach is unusually hard.

Why Does My Dog’s Belly Feel Hard?

The most frequent causes of your dog’s tummy feeling hard are ascites, Cushing’s disease, peritonitis, and gastric dilatation volvulus. Bloating may also result from eating too quickly.

What Do You When Your Dog’s Stomach Is Hard?

Take your dog to the clinic immediately away if you don’t think that the hardness of your dog’s stomach is the result of eating too soon. If not treated right away, this severe case of GDV could be fatal.

Why Is My Dog’s Belly So Tight?

Ascites, Cushing’s syndrome, peritonitis, gastric dilatation volvulus, internal hemorrhage, liver dysfunction, heart failure, pregnancy, uterine infection, or other conditions could be to blame for your dog’s tight stomach. You should take your dog to a veterinarian to determine the cause and receive treatment.

What Causes Bloated Stomach in Dogs?

Dogs can experience bloating when gas becomes stuck in their intestines, just like it happens in people. Additionally, having a large meal, swallowing too much air, or exercising shortly after a large meal can all cause it.

How Do I Know If My Dog’s Stomach Hurts?

Since your dog is unable to communicate how his stomach feels, you must be aware of the warning symptoms. Gulping sounds coming from the stomach, flatulence, appetite loss, salivation, diarrhea, vomiting, licking the floor, and eating grass are all warning signs.

Should the stomach of my dog feel hard?

For this portion of the physical examination, start by looking at your dog’s stomach. Look for lumps and bumps, learn how a dog’s stomach should feel, and learn how to check for musculoskeletal problems. After reading the last piece in this series, you should be fully equipped to examine your dog for a screening.

How to Check Your Dogs Stomach

The examination is rather simple: gently massage your hands into the stomach of your dog, beginning slightly behind the ribs. You will be acquiring a sense of what is typical and then keeping an eye out for any upcoming alterations, just as with all other sections of the body.

If your pet has just eaten, you might feel a bulge in the left side of the tummy, which is where the stomach is located. This is common immediately after eating. Continue moving your hands lightly over the entire area as you move toward the back of the body. A dog’s stomach should not be bloated and should feel soft. A hard stomach in your dog may indicate bloat and necessitate emergency medical care.


any physical examination (palpation) that makes you sigh or have trouble breathing.

Any sign of pain is serious and needs to be treated right away; sudden, intense abdominal pain is referred to as an acute abdomen and can be brought on by a number of illnesses, such as pancreatitis (pancreatic inflammation), sepsis (a stomach infection brought on by a ruptured bowel or foreign object like a foxtail), bleeding into the stomach (from rat bait or a ruptured spleen), trauma, tumors, or abscesses.

One of the main symptoms of bloat or GDV is a hard, rigid, or enlarged abdomen. This requires quick intervention.

What should you do if a dog has a hard stomach?

Your dog’s stomach must be bloated, hard, or have an unusual shape for the disease to be true bloat and not weight gain. Make a quick call to your veterinarian if you observe this. You should take him to the emergency vet if it is after business hours. Bloat typically happens when food or gas causes the dog’s stomach to expand.

Why is the stomach of my dog so swollen and stiff?

Never try to determine the reason of your dog’s stomach problems yourself as this can be risky as stomach swelling in dogs can be deadly as well. Get your dog to a veterinary hospital or an emergency vet right away if the abdomen of your dog appears bloated or out of the ordinary.

Several factors can result in a dog’s stomach swelling:

Untreated gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), also known as “the mother of all emergencies,” can be fatal to a dog in a matter of hours. Bloat occurs when food or gas causes a dog’s stomach to expand. GDV occurs when the bloated stomach rotates, trapping the gas inside and cutting off the blood flow to the stomach.

There doesn’t seem to be a single cause for GDV, however swallowing air plays a role, and strenuous exercise right after eating may also act as a trigger. GDV is quite painful. GDV’s actual cause is still up for debate. Several of the several potential factors that could raise a dog’s risk of GDV include:

  • having a large chest. The danger of bloat is highest in breeds like the Great Dane, St. Bernard, and Weimaraner; in fact, dogs above 99 pounds have a 20% chance of bloat. Small dogs can also have the illness, though it is uncommon.
  • simply giving your dog one meal each day
  • elevating the food and water bowls.
  • a history of bloat/GDV in the family
  • eating too fast
  • Dogs 7 to 12 years old are more at risk since they are older.

Bloat must be treated immediately with emergency care, which may involve decompressing the stomach to release extra gas, controlling shock, and establishing heart stability. Once the patient is stable, surgery is frequently performed. Do not hesitate to take your dog to a veterinary hospital right away if his or her abdomen appears enlarged or distended or if the animal exhibits any signs of discomfort.

Bloat is difficult to prevent because so many factors may contribute to its development, but there are a few things you can do to lower your dog’s risk, such as:

  • Give your dog at least two meals every day.
  • Add canned goods
  • Make sure your dog has a nap after a meal; avoid vigorous exercise when you’re full.

How long before a dog dies from bloat?

Bloat in dogs is a sudden, fatal illness that, if untreated, can kill a dog in a matter of hours. The outlook is frequently bleak even when an owner does suspect a case of bloat and contacts a veterinarian right after.

What are the initial symptoms of dog bloat?

What signs do dogs exhibit when they bloat?

  • a firm, bloated belly.
  • unable to vomit yet writhing in pain.
  • Drooling.
  • When touched, the abdomen hurts.
  • additional indications of distress including panting and agitation.

What remedies are there for my dog’s swollen stomach?

You absolutely should not try to treat GDV at home and you cannot. even during the GDV’s “early phases.” There are no safe or effective over-the-counter treatments, prescription drugs, or nutritional supplements to give a dog with GDV/Bloat. No amount of Gas-X or other DIY or OTC remedies can treat or assist a dog with GDV or stop it from happening.

In fact, the difficulty of administering oral meds to a dog that may have a twisted stomach may make them feel worse. It postpones therapy and increases the possibility that you’ll get bitten or that the drug will end up going down their trachea and into their lungs.

Get your dog to a vet as soon as you can for the only effective treatment for bloat! You and your dog will be happier for the relaxation and peace of mind a veterinary evaluation can bring, even if it turns out to not be a case of GDV.

The time spent attempting to administer at-home therapies will unnecessarily postpone the necessary veterinary examination and treatment required to give your dog the best chance of life. If your dog has GDV, they will go into shock within a couple of hours if untreated.

How may dogs with bloat be treated?

Even while a dog’s troubled demeanor and outward look can lead a veterinarian to assume bloat and/or GDV, they often also conduct tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Abdominal X-rays

These are obtained to validate the diagnosis and assess the level of bloat. A dog’s simple bloat, in which the stomach appears excessively swollen and spherical and is typically filled with food or gas, can be detected on an x-ray. The stomach seems exceedingly distended and has what appears to be a bubble on top of the already bloated stomach on X-rays, which also indicate if bloat has advanced to GDV.

Treatment for Bloat in Dogs

Simple bloat may not require complicated medical care. In order to administer enormous volumes of intravenous fluids and occasionally medications, dogs are frequently hospitalized. In order to help pass food and gas through the body more quickly and encourage gastrointestinal movement, they are also frequently walked.

For a dog with GDV, more intensive treatment is usually required, which includes:

electrolyte-fortified intravenous fluids to aggressively treat shock and enhance blood flow to essential organs

Painkillers and frequently antibiotics are used to alleviate discomfort, shock, and any tissue death brought on by the loss of circulation.

a technique to decompress the stomach by expelling gas in order to improve blood flow to the lower body. This sometimes aids in stomach unwinding.

To check for any heart irregularities, which are frequently caused by toxins from poor circulation, electrocardiogram (ECG).

As soon as the dog is as steady as possible, surgery is carried out. A veterinarian may need to untwist the dog’s stomach and/or spleen and remove any stomach wall tissue that may have perished from a lack of blood supply, depending on how severe the bloat is. The vet will also perform a treatment known as a gastropexy to suture the stomach to the body wall. The likelihood of the stomach rotating in the future is greatly decreased as a result.

What does canine bloat appear like?

I’ve spent my entire life around large dogs and adore them. My family and I currently own 2 dogs: a 120-pound Bull Mastiff named Diesel and a female Rottweiler named Cleopatra. As you can expect, we spend a lot of money on dog food. The expenditure is justified, though, because the kisses get bigger the bigger the dog is. However, there are a few things that owners of large breed dogs must take into account that owners of smaller dogs typically do not: the size of the house and its foundation (Diesel likes to eat drywall), the need for an endless supply of poop bags, and the possibility of being literally pushed out of bed in the middle of the night. However, I could not picture a world without my gigantic friends, which is why it is crucial to be aware of BLOAT.

Bloat is a phrase that’s frequently used to characterize GDV. Gastric dilatation and volvulus is referred to as GDV. Some dogs can acquire a disease that causes the stomach to flip onto itself after fast filling with gas and/or liquid. Once spun, the gas cannot escape and keeps accumulating.

Large and giant breed dogs, as well as canines with deep or barrel-shaped chests, are at a greater risk for GDV. Additionally, it has been reported that dogs with jittery personalities, those that are under a lot of stress, those who eat too quickly, and those who have bloated parents or siblings may also be more vulnerable.

Breeds at risk:

Usually, GDV symptoms appear 2–3 hours after a substantial meal. It need not, however, be connected in any way to eating. Unproductive retching is the hallmark symptom of bloat (it looks like your dog has to throw up but nothing comes out). The abdomen feels hard to the touch and appears bloated. They can have trouble getting up or perhaps collapse, and their breathing might seem strained.

The stomach’s entrance and exit are obstructed when it becomes bloated and then turns. Extreme stomach distention reduces blood supply to the stomach and restricts blood flow to the rest of the body. Systemic shock results from substantially impaired systemic circulation. This disorder is almost always lethal if left untreated.

Emergency surgery is used to treat GDV. However, 10–30% of infected dogs die from GDV, even with urgent care and surgery.

There are a few things that can be done at home to reduce the likelihood of bloat, such as feeding your dog at least twice daily and using a bowl that is on the ground rather than one that is elevated on a stand. The greatest method to calm your anxiety would be to think about having a gastropexy as a preventative procedure. By securing the stomach to the interior of the body wall during a preventive gastropexy, the stomach is prevented from rotating when it becomes bloated. This treatment can be carried out when a puppy is being spayed or neutered. Or even during a laparoscopic procedure on larger, already changed dogs.

Bloat is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening illness, thus it is preferable to attempt to avoid it than to cure it once it happens.

If you have inquiries concerning a prophylactic gastropexy, contact your primary care veterinarian.

Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine awarded Dr. Shani Boone her degree in May 2004. Before coming to work with us as a full-time staff veterinarian, she finished her internship at Friendship. Dr. Boone is employed by our departments of Surgery and Primary Care.