Causes of Painful Stomach in Dogs


A dog’s stomach is not very different from ours. Just as we humans experience certain gastrointestinal conditions, dogs also experience the same. As a pet owner, you should know what is causing your dog’s ailment.

Acute abdominal pain in dogs is mostly referred to as Peritonitis. It is characterized by unbearable pain in the stomach that is caused by inflammation of the abdominal tissues. Peritonitis can cause life-threatening situations such as electrolyte imbalance and acute dehydration as it shifts all the fluid into the peritoneal cavity.

Keep in mind, however, that this is a condition and is not a disease; therefore, it is marked by different causes that can contribute to creating such conditions for peritonitis. In this article, we have explored what can be the possible causes of this condition in dogs, the symptoms that are possible indicators of Peritonitis; and ways to properly diagnose the case in the supervision of a professional veterinarian.



Although the symptoms may vary greatly and may even show a sharp contrast in different cases, these are the symptoms that are common in almost all cases.

  • Shakiness and trembling accompanied by lethargy
  • Dizziness that affects the gait
  • Crying and whining
  • Heavy breathing
  • Fetus posture that looks like the dog is trying to protect the stomach
  • Bloated stomach
  • Black goo type material in diarrhea
  • Vomiting



There are many causes of this condition in dogs. Typically, there are two major factors involved in creating Peritonitis. It can either be the involvement of a foreign agent like bacteria, virus, or another microbe; or it can be caused by an already underlining condition that may be genetic or triggered by the environment. Therefore, we have classified the causes of infectious and non-infectious causes.

Infectious Causes

The infectious cause may include:

  • Viruses or bacteria in the stomach
  • An autoimmune disease that can makes holes in the stomach lining
  • Peritonitis Virus
  • Stomach flu caused by enteritis
  • Liver abscess
  • Infection of spleen or pancreas

Non-infectious Causes

  • Toxicity of blood
  • Blood disorders
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Cancer
  • Malignant Tumors
  • Poisoning
  • Abdominal trauma
  • Rupture of internal organs
  • Congenital hernia
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Kidney obstruction
  • Obstruction of uterus

Diagnosing Peritonitis

It is highly advisable to take your dog to a professional veterinarian so you can have a complete checkup to identify the real problem that causing the symptoms. The symptoms and causes provided in this article is a nice way to make up your decision to finally take your dog to the vet, but they are not for self-treatment.


The veterinarian will be able to analyze the causes by checking the medical history of the dog.  A visual diagnostic will be conducted to see if there are any problems with any of the organs. If visual diagnostics do not reveal anything then a complete blood profile may be conducted which will include the serum profiling and complete blood count. Additionally, ultrasound and X-rays may also be prescribed to gain an in-depth insight into the organs.

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