Signs of Abdominal Cramping in Dogs

By Jen Davis

Abdominal pain can be a sign of a number of different canine health problems. It is crucial that you seek veterinary care for your dog immediately if you do not know the specific cause of his abdominal cramps. While your dog's abdominal cramps may just be because of a simple upset tummy, some conditions are serious and can be fatal.

Signs of Abdominal Cramps

A number of symptoms can be signs that your dog is suffering from abdominal cramps. You may notice that your dog's stomach appears to be distended or swollen. He may whimper, cry, vomit, grunt, gag or attempt to throw up unsuccessfully. He may appear restless and spend a significant amount of time trying to find a comfortable position. You may notice he has diarrhea or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, he may be constipated. If his condition is severe, it may be accompanied by difficulty breathing, pale gums, rapid heart rate, coma or even death.

Causes of Abdominal Cramping

A number of different conditions can cause your dog to experience abdominal pain and cramping. He could be suffering from poisoning, bloat, urinary stones that are obstructing his bladder, a rupture of the bladder, abdominal trauma, internal injury, peritonitis, acute pancreatitis or an intestinal obstruction. If your dog is pregnant, her uterus also may rupture and cause the cramping.

Identifying Your Dog's Condition

It is essential that you get your sick dog to the veterinarian as soon as you notice his symptoms. Time may be crucial in the event that your dog is suffering from a condition such as bloat or poisoning. Both of these conditions can be fatal within hours of the onset of the initial symptoms.

Diagnosing Your Dog's Condition

Once you arrive at the veterinarian's office, your veterinarian will examine your dog closely while asking you to tell him about your dog's condition. He will perform a basic physical examination which includes palpating your dog's stomach, listening to his heart and lungs, taking his temperature and observing him for any other possible signs of illness. Depending on your dog's symptoms, your veterinarian may opt to perform X-rays on your dog to determine the exact condition of his stomach and whether or not he will need surgical intervention.