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My Dog Looks Bloated But Acting Normal – Should I Be Worried?

By Junefrazier

Isn't it a great relief to see your furbaby looking fine and healthy? Everything seems to be pretty normal except for one problem: your dog looks bloated. Should you do anything about it? Or can you just let it go?

As responsible and caring furry parents, we always make sure that our dogs are in their perfect health. So, when things go out of the ordinary, it can really be alarming. And if your dog looks bloated but still acting quite normal, it still won't be wise to just shrug it off.

But, what exactly is bloating? What causes bloating in dogs? Will it put your dog's health at great risk? If you're still wondering what the answers will be, don't just stop right there. I've listed down everything you need to know. Keep reading!

What is Bloating?

A production of excess gas or any muscle movement disruption in the digestive system typically result to bloating. It gives the person or animal a feeling of a tight, full, or swollen abdomen which becomes terribly uncomfortable. At times, it becomes noticeable due to increase in diameter of the abdomen and hence, the stomach looks much bigger.

Bloating is a common condition both in humans and animals. Although it doesn't cause too much pain in most cases, it is better to take an immediate action whenever it happens. It can also be accompanied by stomach rumbling or gurgles and sometimes, an abdominal pain.

In spite of the fact that we are at least aware of what causes bloating in humans, animals, especially dogs, might suffer from different health conditions that may not be common or present in humans. Hence, it is vital to take a precautionary measure before the condition gets worse.

The Common Causes of Bloating

There are a lot of reasons why your dog looks bloated. But, if you're still unaware of the reasons behind it and why your dog is still acting normal, there are common causes of bloating that I'm going to discuss and particularize.

1. Overeating and excessive drinking

Most dogs are not picky eaters and they would try to fill their tummies up until they no longer could. This is especially true for larger breeds who consume almost every nutritious dog food you give. Their big appetite causes them to eat and drink more. However, overeating and excessive drinking are one of the major reasons of bloat that might develop abdominal discomfort in your dog.

2. Ingestion of toys or other inedible stuff

Dogs always have the habit of chewing almost everything they see whether it is edible or not. I even caught my dog once chewing off the sofa and the pillow to pieces. It's devastating but totally forgivable! Another problem is when they're out of our sight and they can just sneak around to munch something. Although sometimes we can just let it go, it is important to always monitor our dogs closely.

As you know, size really matters. If your dog swallows something much bigger than it should, it could cause intestinal obstruction, bloating, and eventually stomach pain. A rib bone, a corncob, and even a chew toy might cause digestive issues such as diarrhea or constipation.

3. Pregnancy

Do you happen to own a female dog? If you do, there must be a sneaky male dog going around your territory that took your lovely dog for a date without you knowing! A few weeks or months later, an enlarged abdomen becomes visible. Could your dog be possibly pregnant? If you're certain that she is in heat during that time or weeks earlier, then she could possibly be.

However, pregnancy is not always the case, so you can't just speculate that it is. It is best to take your dog to the vet for a check-up.

4. Tumor

A tumor can also be the reason behind that distended belly. Although we wish that it won't be a serious condition, health issues are sometimes inevitable, especially with senior dogs. A tumor can be benign or a symptom for a certain type of cancer.

Tumors, on the other hand, are easier to treat when they are diagnosed smaller. If you feel that this causes the bloating, don't ignore it. Take your dog to the vet immediately.

Related Health Issues

There's possibly an underlying problem when you can't get your dog to lie down, move, or your dog yelps in pain for no apparent reason. It could be a sign that your furry pal is in some kind of pain or in a more serious health condition.

1. Liver Disease

Complications in the liver can result in bloating and also accompanied with jaundice, loss of appetite, unusual color of urine or more of an orange color, abdominal pain, weight loss, and urinates more frequently.

2. Gastric Dilation and Volvulus Syndrome (GDV)

Also known as gastric torsion or bloat, Gastric Dilation and Volvulus Syndrome is a disease in dogs where the abdomen becomes much larger. The stomach then rotates and twists which could cause disruption to the cardiovascular system and pressure in the abdomen. This can be painful and uncomfortable for the dog.

GDV is very common with larger breeds such as Great Danes, St. Bernard, Setters, dogs with deep chests, or the ones who usually weigh over 99 pounds. Gastric torsion usually happens when the dog exercises right after eating.

3. Roundworm Infection

This infection is very common in puppies. When the roundworm infection gets worse, it can cause swollen abdomen.

4. Cushing's Syndrome

Cushing's Syndrome usually occurs in dogs who are 6 years old or older. It is a condition where the pituitary gland produces too many hormones and rarely, due to a tumor in the adrenal glands. Once the disease is present in the dog, distended abdomen, increased appetite and drinking, frequent urination, and hair loss are some of the symptoms that go along with it.

5. Peritonitis

Peritonitis is an inflammation of the lining of the abdomen. Bone slivers, tumors, ulcers, and other stomach infection or diseases can cause such condition. The dog may experience excruciating pain in the abdomen, vomiting, distended abdomen, and lethargy.

Consult Your Vet

Bloating may just be like any ordinary and non-fatal health condition that a dog could experience. It may not seem painful and some owners just let it pass. However, an enlarged abdomen can possibly be a symptom of a life-threatening condition that requires an urgent attention.

Once you notice your dog looks bloated, do not ignore it. You may consider the information mentioned above, but do not let the condition gets worse before you make a move. Take your dog to the vet immediately.

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