Diagnosing Stomach Bloating and Gas in Dogs

Stomach bloating and gas can be two symptoms indicating an upset stomach, but can also be a sign of a more severe condition affecting the dog. The conditions causing stomach bloating and gas can be diagnosed through several tests and examinations. The additional symptoms should be observed for an easier diagnosis. If the dog has a food intolerance, the only way to identify the problem is through food trials.

Causes of Stomach Bloating and Gas

There are several possible causes leading to bloating and gas and these can range from a simple stomach upset to a more complicated tumor growth. The causes of bloating and gas in canines include:

  • Swallowing of air, which can happen when the dog eats or drinks rapidly
  • Ingestion of spoiled food
  • Ingestion of a foreign object that cannot be properly digested
  • Food intolerance
  • Intestinal infections
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Worms that lodge in the intestine
  • Digestive or absorptive problems
  • Lymphosarcoma in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Polyps in the intestinal tract
  • Gastric ulcers
  • A diet that contains too many fibers, soy products or certain foods and drinks that can cause excessive bloating and gas

Additional Symptoms

To get closer to a precise diagnosis, it may help to look at the additional symptoms the dog displays. A dog with stomach bloating and gas may also display:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in the urine, feces or vomit
  • Lack of appetite and weight loss
  • Itchy skin
  • Hair loss

Any signs that you notice should be reported to the vet. The vet will perform an examination but it helps to find the problem faster if he can suspect a certain problem.

Clinical Tests

The clinical tests that can be performed to diagnose bloating and gas in dogs may include:

  • Fecal examination, in some cases several stool samples will be required
  • A complete blood count (CBC), which can reveal any abnormalities that can be caused by an internal problem
  • X-rays and radiographs, that could identify if the dog has a tumor or has ingested a foreign object

A physical examination may also be performed by the vet. The vet may palpate the dog's stomach. The dog may not respond well to the exam and may become aggressive, especially if he experiences pain in the stomach area.

Food Trials

As a number of foods can cause intolerance in the dog, the vet will perform a number of food trials to identify the culprit ingredients. The food trials will be started by giving the dog only a source of proteins and a source of fibers, which should be ingredients that haven't been included in the dog's diet before. A new food ingredient will be introduced every two or three weeks until the suspected ingredient is identified. A diet excluding the culprit ingredient will then be prescribed.