While it would be nice for our dogs and cats to be able to talk to us and tell us what’s going on with their bodies, this is not a reality. It’s usually up to us to figure out why our pets are acting a certain way and what it means. One common issue many pet parents notice is a noisy stomach. What does it mean, and when should you worry about it? Take a look below.
The term for a noisy stomach
Let’s take a moment to get technical. The formal term for having a noisy, gurgling stomach is “borborygmi,” and it’s produced when the gasses are moving around from one area of the intestines to the other.
As scary as it sounds, this is a perfectly normal condition that happens literally every single day. However, it’s usually so quiet that we can’t hear it unless we put our ears directly to our dog’s stomach. It’s usually just normal digestion noises.
Sometimes our pets have very loud noises, and this is when we can actually hear audible borborygmi that can signify a problem of some kind. Below, we’ll cover the most common causes.
What causes abnormally noisy stomachs in pets?
There are quite a few reasons for noisy stomachs in our pets, and understanding those can help you determine if you need to worry or change something in your pet’s eating habits!
- Eating too fast: This is the most common reason for abnormally loud stomach noises. Many pets love their food so much that they eat it as fast as physically possible. However, eating at this speed also means that they swallow a lot of air at the same time. The air starts to travel around the stomach and creates loud noises and uncomfortable gurgling for your pet.
- Eating non-food items: Our pets get into all sorts of trouble, and that often includes eating things they’re not supposed to eat. As your pet’s stomach struggles (and fails) to digest whatever non-food item they ate, the gastric juices work extra hard to move the items through, and your pet can get a serious amount of gurgling, belching, and more. This often continues until they poop out the item on the other end!
- Sensitive stomachs and digestive issues: Many pets have sensitive stomachs, and the normal food they eat may be contributing to that! A lot of pet food choices have ingredients that your pet may have trouble tolerating. Even if they can digest all of it fine, your pet may have difficulty with the portion sizes or even the texture of the food itself!
- An underlying health condition: One cause of your pet’s gurgling stomach could be an underlying health condition. The most serious one is called gastric dilatation and volvulus, which we’ll talk about a little later. If you are certain it is not any of the above other common causes, it’s a good idea to take your pet for a check-up to figure out what’s happening.
How to know if your pet has digestion issues
Figuring out if your pet has digestion issues doesn’t have to be hard work, but you will need to know what to look for. The most common symptoms that show a potential digestion issue include the following:
- An abnormally loud stomach
- Bloating and gas
- Loss of appetite
An easy one to spot is loss of appetite, particularly if your pet is normally a good eater. This is a sign that something is going on with your pet’s digestive tract , or perhaps their mouths (dental disease or internal organs).
Sometimes symptoms may pass on their own, but try to keep track of how often your dog is dealing with digestion issues. If it happens frequently, you might want to consider putting them on a sensitive stomach diet!
Is a gurgling stomach serious?
Remember that previous point we mentioned about how your dog could have a health condition that is creating the gurgling? One example, gastric dilation, and volvulus, is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. You’ll want to keep an eye out for this to protect your pet. If this is the cause of your pet’s gurgling stomach, you should contact your vet immediately
Gastric dilatation and volvulus is a condition when the stomach dilates from too much gas and then rotates and twists on itself (also known as bloat).This traps gas in the stomach, and the pressure continues to build. Very quickly, this starts to put a lot of pressure on your pet’s major blood vessels.
This is obviously a very scary condition, but it can happen to pets easily and quickly. Some of the most common risk factors of gastric dilatation and volvulus include:
- Eating too quickly
- Exercising or playing directly after eating
- Eating a high-fat diet
- Stress and anxiety
- Other predisposing factors, including genetics of some breeds/body shapes, etc.
Understanding your pet’s risks will help you do what you can to minimize the risk of developing this condition. If your pet does end up with it, your vet may need to perform emergency surgery to help return the stomach to its normal shape and also watch carefully for any kind of damage that might have happened in the meantime.
Gastric dilation and volvulus are digestive tract conditions that are very serious and require immediate veterinary treatment. So if you suspect this might be happening, you should call your vet clinic right away for guidance.
How can I stop my pet’s gurgling stomach?
If this freaks you out — we don’t blame you — then don’t fear. You can do a lot to help your pet’s stomach stay healthy and happy. A lot of it is in awareness, which you now have gained to help you make the best decisions. However, other measures you can take include:
- Getting your pet a puzzle bowl for slower eating
- Having food intolerances and allergies diagnosed by your veterinary doctor
- Limiting your pet’s activity immediately after eating
Whether it’s from mild indigestion or a serious underlying health condition, understanding your pet’s gurgling stomach will help you stay on top of their health and their comfort each day!