Symptoms of Colic in a Dog

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Dogs with colic experience stomach discomfort that usually stems from the build-up of gas. The condition can be acute or chronic and has a variety of causes: an infection, parasites, consuming spoiled food or a toxic substance and health conditions such as kidney disease, liver failure and pancreatitis.

While symptoms vary according to the severity of the condition, there are several telltale signs that a dog owner can look out for to determine if her dog has colic.

Change in Behavior

A dog with colic exhibits unusual behaviour in his effort to cope with abdominal pain. He may arch his back and tuck his feet in towards his belly or seem restless and unable to remain in the same position for an extended amount of time. He may also appear fatigued and lethargic--a discernible change in activity level is an early warning sign that something is wrong. Alternatively, he may thrash around on the floor due to severe discomfort or yelp when touched or picked up. A dog owner should pay attention to such alterations in normal behaviour since they are indications that her dog is ill.

Appetite Loss

While temporary appetite loss isn't a serious issue, an extended duration of appetite loss may signal a severe case of colic. If a dog owner notices that her dog's decreased appetite accompanies signs of abdominal discomfort, she should take her dog to the vet as soon as possible.


A dog with colic may experience abdominal bloat, an acute condition that occurs due to the rapid accumulation of gas in the stomach. Dog bloat can be fatal. According to Natural Dog Health Remedies, the warning signs include a severely distended abdomen that usually appears suddenly, excessive drooling, panting and unsuccessful attempts to vomit. In the critical stage of dog bloat, gums may turn bluish or mud-coloured.


Occasional flatulence is normal, but persistent flatulence that accompanies other indications of abdominal pain is a sign of colic in dogs. Excessive flatulence is a typical symptom since colic is rooted in the overproduction of gas in the stomach.