What To Do When Your Dog Is In Pain Due To Stomach Swelling

If you can see your dog walking around the home in an odd manner, it may just be something passing, as in gas or tiredness. But if you can quite clearly see your dog is in pain, and their stomach is larger than normal, that is not normal, and action should be taken. Hearing your dog whimpering, and looking scared and licking their stomach is not a sight any owner wants to come across. Stomach swelling can be life threatening in dogs, and it’s more complex than a simple case of they ate too much. Spotting the signs early, of your dog’s stomachs ballooning in size can save a lot of trouble and hassle, not to mention discomfort. There are some noticeable signs you can recognise and swift action to take, to deal with this rare but very serious issue.

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Common causes

If your dog looks bloated or unusually round around the midsection, the internal organs have become inflamed and swollen inside. It may be because they have ingested something they shouldn’t have such as a hard object, perhaps a toy, stone or maybe even a house key. The other, far more likely cause is going to be bloat or gastric dilation volvulus, GDV for short. This can be fatal in dogs because the gas caused by the upset, can stretch the stomach. When the stomach has been elongated, it can distend and twist, trapping the gas inside and in turn, blocking off the blood supply to the rest of the body. This condition can also be brought upon if the dog runs a lot, straight after a meal.

Taking action

If you suspect this has occurred to your dog, you first need to calm the animal. Dogs may try and cough or burp up the gas, resulting in vomiting. However, when they inhale after the exhale, they can ingest air into the twisted stomach, adding to the problem. So first and foremost, calm your dog down by petting them, calling their name, speaking to them affectionately in a calm, low tone. Without putting pressure on the stomach, put your dog in the car and take him or her immediately to a veterinary surgeon. Only surgery can untangle the stomach and release the toxic gas that has been building, allowing your dog to breathe freely once again. Of course, you dog will be sent to sleep during the operation, so stay with the dog until it closes its eyes, calming it along the way.

Photo source – Doc Searls

Recovery phase

Bringing home your dog and making it comfortable will require a few things. Make sure your dog is getting enough rest so either, put in place, extra padding in their bed or buy an extra soft and supportive bed so when they lie down, their own weight doesn’t cause pain. Make a liquid diet for your dog, because it won’t be able to eat solid for a week or perhaps two. Don’t force your dog to run, jump or alarm them in any way which would cause their muscles to tense up, because this puts added pressure on the core muscles, causing further anguish post-surgery. Make sure they have good clean air to breathe while they heal, so no dirt or bacteria is breathed in and down to the stomach area.