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Why is my dog’s stomach bouncing and twitching?

Have you ever been spending time with your dog, and suddenly you feel some jolting movement in their stomach? This sort of movement in your dog’s stomach may be scary, particularly if this happens for the first time.

Bouncing and twitching in your dog’s stomach is a sign of disrupted localized muscle contractions or spasms, which several factors, including digestive or gastrointestinal issues, may cause.

Finding out the leading cause of your dog’s discomfort may be tasking; however, this guide runs you through the signs that tell you it is time for a veterinarian visit.

What are the causes of stomach twitching and bouncing in my dog?

Muscle spasm, which typically results in bouncing and twitching of your dog’s stomach, points to the fact that there has been a disruption in the regular contractions of your dog’s stomach muscles. This might be happening to your dog for a number of reasons.

Digestive issues

Digestive disorders are one of the leading causes of disruptions in muscle contractions in a dog’s stomach. Food allergies, poisoning, indigestion, dehydration, or diseases typically cause these digestive issues.

For instance, if your dog found a way to sneak in a treat that contains poisonous substances or allergens, the digestive system would react to these substances with a disruption in the normal processes of breaking down food in the dog’s stomach.

Also, extreme cases of dehydration can be a stress factor on your dog’s digestive system, affecting regular muscle contractions and causing your dog’s stomach to bounce and twitch.

Gastrointestinal disorders

Sometimes gastrointestinal disorders can cause bouncing and twitching in your dog’s stomach.

Have you ever wondered how the foods your dog devoured get down to the stomach? It’s possible due to the amazing structure of the GIT. The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) comprises all organs from the mouth down to the stomach, digesting and utilizing the foods your dog consumes.

The GIT works by peristalsis—which is the movement of food materials down the tract by contraction of muscles. However, this contraction can be disrupted by various factors, including disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, such as inflammatory bowel diseases, pancreatic diseases, or infections. Such disruption can then cause twitching actions in your dog’s stomach.

Stress or overexcitement

Sometimes, your dog’s physical activities can be a cause of certain gastrointestinal or stomach issues. You might have heard physical stress can be a backdrop for human ulcers; the same thing can happen with your canine friend.

When your dog is overexcited and shows it by getting involved in so many activities during the day, you may notice that when he decides to rest or lay down after a while, your dog’s stomach may start to twitch or bounce due to the stress of all the activities.

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Emotional stress may also be a factor, as science has shown, there is a link between emotional imbalance and a change in hormonal levels (including the hormones of the stomach and other digestive organs).

Nervous conditions

Underlying nervous/neurological conditions can also affect the normal functioning of the muscles in your dog’s stomach. Usually, nerves control contractions that occur in all parts of your dog’s body. If there is such a problem with the nervous system, it may cause a disruption in the contraction of the muscles in the stomach.

Examples of nervous conditions that may lead to twitching and bouncing in your dog’s stomach are tremors, seizures, electrolyte abnormalities, spinal cord diseases, and pelvic nerve dysfunction.

What additional symptoms should I look out for?

Sometimes, stomach twitches in your dog may be an ordinary case of digestion and nothing serious. However, it could also be a sign of an underlying issue that may need urgent attention and care; the only way to differentiate between both situations is to look out for signs that may accompany your dog’s stomach twitching and bouncing.

The additional symptoms that may come with your dog’s twitching stomach can also guide you on the severity or intensity of your dog’s stomach condition. These symptoms let you know when to schedule a visit to the veterinarian and also guide your vet on a treatment plan. Here are a few additional symptoms to check.

  1. Diarrhea: If your dog’s twitching and bouncing stomach is accompanied by diarrhea, it might be a sign of malabsorption or improper digestion. Take note of how many times your dog poos and the consistency.
  2. Vomiting: Vomiting usually accompanies cases of muscle spasms in the stomachs of dogs when the dog has ingested a portion of contaminated food, has an object stuck in his stomach or intestine, or has an underlying medical condition.
  3. Smelly stool: Suppose you have noticed that your dog’s excrement smells weird; you should not ignore it. It can be pointing out that there is a digestive issue or gastrointestinal problem. It can be due to a change in dog food or the use of certain medications.
  4. Lethargy: Another sign you may notice in your dog with a stomach condition is a lack of energy or enthusiasm. Your usually active dog may be seen lying down and sleeping more often than usual; your dog might refuse to play or not respond to instructions.
  5. Bloating: It would be best to look out for signs of a swollen abdomen in your dog as a symptom of bloating; this is usually caused by a buildup of gas or fluids in the stomach—thus, may be another symptom that comes with stomach twisting and bouncing in your dog.

Other signs are

  • Heavy/abnormal breathing
  • Change in posture
  • Pains or discomfort
  • Muscle spasms are seen in other body parts like the limbs
  • Irritation/ unusual behavior toward people

When should I see a vet if my dog’s stomach is bouncing and twitching?

If your dog’s stomach is bouncing and twitching, the most pertinent thought on your mind is to get help for your dog. In such cases, it can be difficult to tell if it is simple indigestion or an urgent situation that needs your veterinarian’s attention.

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When is it time to see a vet?

  • Severe pain/ discomfort: You should schedule a visit with your veterinarian when your dog’s twitching and bouncing stomach starts to hurt. If your dog avoids contact in the stomach area or makes wincing sounds when touched there, it’s a sign it’s time for a vet check.
  • Refuses to eat or drink: If your dog’s twitching stomach causes your dog to refuse food or water, it is time to see a vet, as this is a sign of an underlying issue. If this is not checked, your dog’s glucose levels could drop, leading to further complications.
  • Twitching and bouncing for an extended period: If your dog experiences stomach twitching and bouncing for longer than 30 minutes, you should contact your veterinarian to discuss testing and diagnosis options.
  • Frequent vomiting/diarrhea: If your dog vomits or has episodes of diarrhea more than two times a day, you should get him over for a vet’s visit. Frequent vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to cases of low glucose and dehydration as your dog throws out his stomach content when he vomits or excretes frequently.
  • Poop contains blood: If your dog’s poop contains some blood traces, you should contact your vet doctor immediately, as a stool with blood followed by a bouncing and twitching stomach can be a sign of a serious health issue.

Tips for addressing stomach twitching and bouncing at home

Once you have identified the cause of your dog’s bouncing and twitching stomach, the next action plan is to manage the situation and help your dog feel better. You can do certain things to make your dog comfortable and control future happenings.

  • Provide a calm environment for your dog to make him comfortable before and after the event.
  • Adjust your dog’s diet by making meals more consistent and nutritious. Meals should be served in reduced portions but should be frequent.
  • Ensure your dog is physically active but not too drained from daily physical activities.
  • Monitor the kinds of foods your dog consumes; if you change the brands of dog treats you usually feed your dog, you may need to stop feeding them that brand.
  • Give your dog more water to drink; water replenishes your dog, especially after excessive vomiting or diarrhea. It also helps to aid digestion.
  • Minimize the use of seasonings or spices in your dog’s food. Bland diets are more advisable in this case.

Final Thoughts

Dog owners cannot always control what goes into their dog’s mouths. Hence, the case of indigestion and twitching and bouncing stomachs in dogs are quite common. Many cases pass after a few minutes and are often not a cause for concern.

However, in cases where it lasts for an extended period or is accompanied by other problems like diarrhea, vomiting, pains, or discomfort, it is best to seek the help of a veterinarian.