Symptoms of stomach problems in dogs

Updated July 19, 2017

When your dog becomes ill, it can't tell you what it is feeling or where it hurts. Watching what the dog does or doesn't do can indicate if it has an upset stomach. Dyspepsia, the clinical term for a dog's upset stomach, can range from mild to severe.


Vomiting is your dog's way of ridding his system of a substance that didn't agree with him in order to make his stomach feel better. He may have ingested a toy, rock, sock or some other type of foreign object. Or it may be due to a simple case of gastroenteritis.

Eating Grass

A dog knows instinctively that eating grass will induce vomiting which will settle his upset stomach. A dog who eats grass will usually vomit soon.

Avoiding Food

If a dog who lives to eat suddenly shows no interest in eating, this could be a symptom of an upset stomach or stomach ache. Missing one or two meals is not usually cause for alarm, but any more than that could mean a more serious problem.


An active dog who becomes lethargic could have an upset stomach. If a normally active dog becomes unusually sleepy and apathetic, it might have stomach problems.

Bad Breath

Bad breath can indicate mild to severe stomach problems. Your dog may only have eaten something that didn't agree with it, but prolonged bad breath could be indicative of an internal disease or parasite upsetting its stomach.

Tender Midsection

Picking up your dog and hearing it groan, cry out or whimper can be symptoms of an upset stomach. If your dog's midsection is gurgling and tender to the touch, the chances are good it has stomach issues.

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About the Author

Based in eastern Iowa, Chris Wells has been writing pet-related short stories for dog rescue websites and newsletters since 2002. Wells has had articles published on eHow and enjoys writing about quilting, gardening and dog-related topics. Wells earned her Master of Business Administration from St. Ambrose University in 1999.