Two dogs upside down with their stomachs up.
Two dogs upside down with their stomachs up. Photography ©WilleeCole | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Why Is My Dog’s Stomach Making Noises? A Vet Weighs In

If you’ve ever wondered, “Why is my dog's stomach making noises?” you’re not alone. A vet tells us if your dog's stomach making noises is normal ... or a cause for concern.
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Ever heard a loud gurgling noise and wondered, “Why is my dog’s stomach making noises?” You’re not alone. And, more importantly, you might have wondered whether that dog’s stomach gurgling was something to be worried about.

dog's stomach making noises
Is your dog’s stomach making noises? Is it normal or a cause for concern? Photography © JZHunt | Thinkstock.

When it comes to your dog’s stomach making noises — what’s normal?

Dog stomach noises, like everything in medicine, have a fancy name. The scientific name for your dog’s stomach making noises is borborygmi. These gurgling sounds are produced when gas moves from one portion of the intestines to another.

It is normal for there to be some gas in the intestines. And it is normal for the intestines to engage in motility or activity that moves intestinal contents around. Thus, it is normal for gas to move around in the intestines, and soft borborygmi are therefore normal phenomena.

Normal borborygmi are quiet. Try the following experiment: Place your ear against your dog’s abdomen. You should hear periods of silence interspersed with soft gurgles. This is what normal borborygmi sound like.

Some dogs, however, experience episodes of abnormally loud intestinal gurgling. During these episodes, the borborygmi might be audible from across the room. These sounds are not exactly normal, but they don’t always represent a crisis. Sometimes they indicate something is wrong in the intestinal tract. In other instances, they are caused by nothing more serious than hunger.

But what if the stomach noises are loud?

Normal, quiet borborygmi occur when normal quantities of gas are moved through the intestines in a normal fashion. If your dog’s stomach is making loud noises, this is likely not a serious issue either. Abnormally loud intestinal noises occur when the intestines contain abnormally large quantities of gas, or when the intestines experience abnormally increased activity. Both of these phenomena often occur simultaneously.

Is your dog’s stomach making noises because he’s hungry?

One of the most common causes of your dog’s stomach making noises is when your dog is hungry. Intestines of hungry animals do not contain significant quantities of ingesta. (Remember how doctors have fancy words for everything? Ingesta, in most cases, means food.)

Therefore they have a higher ratio of gas to solids. And the empty intestines might start to exhibit activity in response to anticipated feeding. The result will be audible intestinal noises, or “tummy grumbling.” Breakfast is the treatment for this type of intestinal gurgling.

Are the noises because your dog ate something strange — or something he shouldn’t have?

Unfortunately, hunger is not the only thing that can cause loud intestinal gurgling. Anything that can cause gastrointestinal upset of any kind also can cause audible borborygmi.

Dietary indiscretion, such as occurs when dogs break into the trash or feast on novel food items, is a common cause of a dog’s stomach making noises. This type of gastrointestinal upset often is mild (it can be compared to what might happen when a person who doesn’t usually eat spicy food goes to a Thai restaurant).

However, be aware that dietary indiscretion in some cases can lead to very severe vomiting or diarrhea, or to other complications such as pancreatitis in dogs.

Other reasons for your dog’s stomach making noises

Other potentially serious causes of your dog’s stomach making noises include intestinal parasites, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal foreign bodies, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, certain toxicities, adverse reactions to medications, metabolic problems such as liver or kidney disease, glandular disorders and even cancer of the intestines.

What to do about your dog’s stomach making noises

So, how worried should you be about your dog’s stomach making noises, and what should you do? It depends upon the circumstances. If it’s the morning, and your dog appears to be feeling fine but has not yet been fed, consider offering breakfast. If he eats with his normal enthusiasm and the noises stop, there probably isn’t a problem.

On the other hand, if your dog’s stomach is making noises in combination with symptoms such as mild lethargy or slightly poor appetite, a problem could be brewing. You should brace yourself for possible diarrhea or vomiting (although these are not guaranteed to develop), and consider offering an easily digestible diet such as boiled boneless, skinless chicken breast with steamed white rice.

If your dog is producing loud intestinal noises and he seems sick, then you should seek veterinary care immediately. Symptoms that should signal alarm include significant lethargy, significantly depressed appetite or thirst, diarrhea and especially vomiting.

If you are in doubt about whether your dog needs to see the vet, the safest option is always to take him in. It is better to err on the side of caution in these types of circumstances.

Are your dog’s stomach noises painful?

Some people wonder whether loud intestinal noises are painful. Again, it depends on the circumstances surrounding your dog’s stomach making noises. Hunger pangs are not especially miserable, but the cramps associated with some of the more serious causes of loud borborygmi can be downright agonizing. Painful borborygmi are usually accompanied by lethargy and poor appetite. If your dog seems to be in pain, then a trip to the vet is in order.

Finally, some dogs experience loud intestinal noises on a regular basis. If you notice a dog’s stomach making noises — loudly — many times per week, then you should use the presence (or hopefully the absence) of other symptoms to guide your response. Dogs who experience regular loud borborygmi in conjunction with episodes of diarrhea or poor appetite might be suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, parasites, or some other chronic intestinal disorder that should be treated.

Dogs who feel fine but produce loud intestinal noises regularly probably don’t have anything wrong (although you should have your vet confirm it). After all, some individuals are gassier than others, and some intestines are naturally more active than others.

Tell us: Is your dog’s stomach making noises? What do they sound like? What was the culprit of your dog’s stomach noises?

Thumbnail: Photography ©WilleeCole | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

This piece was originally published in 2015. 

Read Next: Can You Give a Dog Imodium, Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol for His Upset Stomach?

 

75 thoughts on “Why Is My Dog’s Stomach Making Noises? A Vet Weighs In”

  1. I am pretty sure the gurgling is caused by 1. Heavy rainfall, and then the dog cleaning his paws of the mud and muck. The reagent causing the noises is bacteria from birds crapping in the back yard and then my dog licking his wet paws.infected by the bacteria. Time will heal it.

  2. Thay Lõi Tại Nhà

    cảm ơn bạn rất nhiều vì đã đầu tư vào bài viết đó. Tôi thấy đây là một bài viết thực sự hữu ích và thú vị để đọc!

  3. I have a year old, Olde English Bulldogge. About every 2 weeks for 1 or 2 days his stomach makes loud gurgling noises and he loses his appetite and his stool comes out like running water. Then he goes right back to normal and eats and has regular stools. Any idea what this could be? Right now I don’t have the funds to take him to the vet. I need some advice on what I can buy or do right now until I can come up with vet money.

  4. Hi, our Labrador Retriever is 9 weeks old today and we got him a week back. Over the last 2 days he has been dwindling between normal and semi-soft stools, but today he has had diarrhea and his tummy is gurgling. We also have 2 guests in our house and lastly had to change his food as the normal food that he had and what the breeder was giving was not available, although the breeder did give us the food he was feeding him which lasted for 2 days since we got him. His normal food ( Royal Canine dry food) will be coming in today and we will get him back to that right away. Was using Iams dry food in the interim. There are just so many factors that I am not sure how worried should I be. New home, new people, change of food. Although with his diarrhea today morning, he seems to be fine and has gone back to sleep even with his tummy gurgling.

  5. Hi! My family and I adopted a 4-going-on-5 year old pitbull, named Zoey, June 2020. She is a big baby, about 50 pounds, and eats with gusto. In the morning we give her dry kibble, and the evening kibble mixed with wet food. She’s been eating the same brand since we got her, so about 7/8 months? However, recently I’ve noticed that she’s been leaving her dry kibble untouched, but she’ll chow down on the wet/dry combo we give her in the evening. Additionally, my mom and I have noticed that she has LOUD rumbly tummy, audible from across the room. It’s not too strange for Zoey to not eat all of her breakfast; she usually eats it during the day, but every now and then she won’t even touch it. Should we be concerned about this behavior? I think we have another vet visit in the upcoming months, but I’m not sure if we should wait or pull her in sooner. Thank you!

  6. I purchased a lab puppy 4 days ago, he is 9 weeks old, he was delivered to me from another state. I couldn’t believe my eyes as he was handed to me, skinny you can count every rib, his hip bones are visible, it’s heartbreaking. He makes a watery gurgling nose about an hour after he eats, then he starts regurgitating, then throws up either his food or a lot of mucus. We have brought him to the vet, he’s on 7 different meds, NOTHING IS WORKING, the vet has done xrays, bloodwork can’t figure the reason. He is active, he doesn’t cry in pain, but you can tell he’s miserable. Please help WHATS WRONG WITH OUR PUPPY!!! Please no one reply send him back, that won’t happen

  7. My dog has loud gurgling and squirting at times. Typically if she doesn’t get something to eat in the morning this will happen. Problem is she won’t eat if her tummy is gurgling. The only remedy I have found is a small spoonful of peanut butter. She will usually lick it off my finger. Sometimes she refuses and I either put a dollop on her nose or put some under her lip. After about 30 mins she’ll eat actual food again. It’s quite frustrating but she’s had this issue for 4+ years.

  8. I have a Rottweiler cross french mastiff and his stomach is making very loud noises tonight like REALLY loud!!!
    He’s not lethargic or showing any signs of pain but he hasn’t eaten he’s dinner and hasn’t drank any water today at all but ate his breakfast.
    I don’t give him titbits or any human food and he hasn’t got into the trash or eaten anything Elsa that I am aware of.
    He’s a clingy dog and is at my side 24/7 so I’m sure I would have seen if he’d eaten any foreign objects at all.
    He’s now curled up sleeping and doesn’t seem to be bothered but his stomach is going crazy still bless him.
    Any advice please
    Thanks in advance

    1. Amy?
      I was reading ur post u had written back in July about ur rott puppy
      Anyway sorry my name is Karyn I have a 3 year old female Rottie
      She never leaves my side neither so I’d know if she would have ate something not right but her stomach at times does get really loud and it worries me even tho it doesn’t look like it bothers her at all
      Did U happen to find out anything about this with ur puppy and this issue id sure appreciate knowing anything about why it is so loud and why it appears
      thanks in advance 2

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