Why is My Dog’s Stomach Sagging On One Side? – Causes & Remedies

You may be concerned if you notice your dog’s belly is sagging on one side and you are unaware of the reason. There can be several reasons for your dog’s belly sagging, and it depends upon the breed, age, size, and several other factors of your dog.

There can be several reasons for your dog’s belly sagging on one side, and these reasons can be either mild or serious. It can be as simple as your dog having its food fast that causes it, or it can be some serious disease like cancer or cushioning syndrome.

This article here deals with why your dog has a sagging belly and the possible solutions to it that can help relieve your dog.

Symptoms, Causes, And Remedies For the Dog’s Stomach Sagging on One Side

Symptoms, Causes, and Remedies for the Dog's Stomach Sagging on One Side
Image source: mydogsymptoms.com

The first step when you notice your dog’s stomach sagging on one side is to contact the veterinarian. There can be many causes for the dog’s having a sagging stomach and stomach pain; some can be treated with medications, but others may need medical attention, and the dog should get hospitalized.

Here are a few reasons, along with causes and remedies, that are responsible for sagging stomachs in your dog.

Bonus Read: Is It Normal For A Puppy To Have A Big Belly?

1. Internal worms

Your dog’s internal organs can become hosts to various parasites, including worms, which is the main reason your dog has a sagging stomach, especially sagging on one side. As you can notice, your dog’s stomach is sagging on one side or appears like a pot, possibly due to many worms inside the dog’s intestine.

Five types of worms can badly affect the health of your dog. These are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and heartworms.

All dogs are at high risk of worms, but these are not visible to us with our naked eyes. But the vet can notice these worms and their eggs in the dog’s stool under a microscope.

If the dog has worms in its intestine, then the dog can have sagging of the stomach, and, along with it, there can be other symptoms that you can notice in your dog. These include:

  1. Stomach Pain
  2. Vomiting
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Lethargy
  5. Bloody stools
  6. Weakness
  7. Weight loss

Causes

The causes of these worms depend upon the type of worm your dog has in its body. As in the case of the roundworms, the dog can easily get them from its environment and surroundings.

Because the eggs of these worms are covered with hard shells, they can stay in the soil for a long time. If the dog ingests such contaminated soil that has the eggs of the worms, the worms will go into your dog’s intestine and cause problems.

When dogs come into contact with soil that gets contaminated with the stool of another infected dog, it can cause the ingestion of hookworms in your dog’s body, causing infection in your dog that further leads to various problems.

This condition is because the dog’s skin can absorb the larvae of the hookworm easily and easy infection through hookworms is thus possible.

 However, small puppies can get these hookworms from their mothers during nursing.

If your dog eats raw meat or roadside kill, there are high chances of ingesting these parasitic worms that multiply in a dog’s body. In addition, other insects can transmit these worms, such as parasites like mosquitoes, fleas, etc.

Remedies

The vet will test your dog’s stool to determine what worms are causing health problems for your dog, and the treatment will follow depending upon the identified worm.

If your dog is infected with roundworms, the vet will give him a dewormer, but note that this medicine will affect only grown-up worms. Puppies can get the worm larvae easily through the placenta; in this case, you should give the puppies dewormers after 6 to 8 weeks for proper treatment as giving before this age will be harmful to puppies.

Similarly, in the case of hookworm infection, a dewormer works best to treat your dog. Depending on the clinical; symptoms that the dog shows for whipworms, there will be a proper treatment plan that can last up to three months.

If your dog has a tapeworm infection, specialized drugs are available that your vet will administer orally or via injection.

Besides this, you have to ensure that your dog’s environment is clean and there are no flea infestations that can be troublesome for your dog, further worsening the conditions.

The most difficult treatment among worms for dogs is that of heartworms as it involves confining the dog and limiting its exercise as these heartworms have serious side effects on your dog. So, to kill these heartworms in your dog, there is a requirement for a series of injections.

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2. Bloating

Bloating
Image source: illumiseen.com

Bloating is a common health problem in dogs, but if you do not treat this health problem, it can prove to be fatal for him. In severe cases of bloating, you can notice the stomach of your dog twisting.

When the stomach of your dog gets filled with food, gas, and fluid, it leads to the stomach expanding. The expansion can put pressure on other nearby organs. Such a condition in dogs is popularly known as gastric dilation volvulus.

According to vets, the gastric dilation volvulus should be treated immediately, whenever noticed. Otherwise, it can be a problem. In addition, many vets believe that the dog becomes so weak and in pain due to this condition that you must immediately take him to the hospital.

Even with aggressive treatment, this bloating kills nearly 30% of dogs. In addition, the excessive buildup of gas due to bloating in the stomach can cause the blood to stop coming back to the heart from the stomach and back legs region, which is the reason for the problem of the dog’s stomach sagging on one side.

Also, when the dog’s stomach twists during bloating, the spleen and pancreas can be caught in between, causing trouble to your dog. Thus, as a result, the pancreas produces some toxic hormones that can be a reason for stopping your dog’s heart activity.

These are the symptoms that a dog with bloating can show.

  1. Drooling
  2. Restlessness
  3. Sagging of the stomach
  4. Go around in circles
  5. Experience pain when you press the belly

In severe cases of bloating, you can notice the dog will have increased heartbeats, have difficulty breathing, feel lethargic, and be less active.

Causes

For bloating in dogs, there is no definite reason that the vets can come up with, as the vet knows that the dog’s stomach fills up with air and twists, but the reason that leads to this condition of bloating in dogs is not known yet.

Possible reasons for bloating in dogs include:

  1. Your dog eating a large meal
  2. Running immediately after eating
  3. Having down food inside quickly
  4. Drinking excess water at a time

These are the common reasons for bloating, and there can be a few other reasons your dog has this condition.

Compared to other breeds, deep-chested dog breeds are more prone to bloating. The dogs at high risk of bloating include greyhounds, poodles, great Danes, saint-bernards, and basset hounds.

Remedies

Firstly, the vet will focus on relieving the pressure that builds up inside your dog’s stomach to comfort your dog. Next, the vet will pass a tube through your dog’s throat to its stomach to relieve the pressure. To relieve the pressure, a hollow needle may be needed.

To stabilize the dog, the vet makes use of fluids and antibiotics. If, due to bloating, the dog’s stomach is twisted, then there will be surgery to put the organs of your dog in their original place. If the stomach wall gets damaged, the affected parts will be removed.

The stomach can be tacked properly to the abdominal wall to ensure the bloating issue doesn’t frequently repeat in the dog.

Unfortunately, as multiple factors contribute to bloating, it is impossible to avoid this condition completely. But to lower the risk of bloating, there can be several steps that you can take, like feeding multiple small meals to your dog in a day, getting proper treatment for stress and anxiety, using slow feeder bowls, etc.

Bonus Read: My Dog Threw Up Hard White Chunks – Should I Be Worried?

3. Peritonitis

The peritoneum is a membrane that lines the abdominal cavity, and its function is mainly to lubricate the abdominal organs and provide protection to the abdominal organs. The serious condition in which this peritoneum membrane gets inflamed is peritonitis. This inflammation of the peritoneum can be due to any injury or infection that further results in several issues.

If this condition of peritonitis is left untreated, it can prove fatal for your dog. Peritonitis has a mortality rate that ranges from 50% to 70%. Therefore, there is blood work, x-ray, and physical examination to diagnose this condition of peritonitis. For confirmation of this condition, there will be a test of abdominal fluid.

These are certain symptoms that a dog having peritonitis will show. These include:

  1. Vomiting
  2. Nausea
  3. Fever
  4. Reduced poop
  5.  Reduced blood pressure
  6. Abdominal Swelling
  7. Dehydration
  8. Abdominal pain

As this condition can be life-threatening for your dog, it is highly recommendable that you contact the veterinarian for the treatment of your dog as soon as you see the signs mentioned above in your dog.

Causes

Mostly, a dog develops peritonitis when it suffers from an injury, trauma or if there is infection. For example, it could be an accidental injury, trauma to your dog’s abdomen, like a blow to the stomach, or an infection. Also, a foreign body can damage the abdominal cavity or open a previous abdominal injury.

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Your dog may also swallow a foreign object, which can lead to your dog having intestinal blockage. However, apart from the external sources responsible for peritonitis, this can also result from internal issues like ruptured bladder, stomach ulcers, bloating, liver inflammation, etc.

This condition of peritonitis is not hereditary, but certain dog breeds like spaniels, collies, and labrador, retrievers are more prone to swallowing foreign objects that result in intestinal blockage.

Remedies

It is very important to hospitalize your dog if you get diagnosed with this condition of peritonitis. The priority will be to stabilize the pet, which will be accomplished by administering antibiotics, electrolytes, plasma, intravenous fluids, and other medications to manage the symptoms your dog is experiencing.

In the event of your dog experiencing any injury or pain, it will be taken for immediate surgery. The vet’s first step will be to rinse your dog’s abdominal cavity thoroughly, ensuring that no such substance irritates the abdominal cavity.

4. Cushing’s disease

Cushing's disease

A dog’s stomach sagging on one side is a common and prominent sign of Cushing’s disease, which is noticeable in many dogs and requires proper treatment. This sagging condition could be due to the muscles around the dog’s belly continuing to sag.

Cortisol is a natural steroid hormone whose production is controlled by the adrenal cortex, and the hormone itself gets released by the adrenal glands. This hormone is important for your dog as it helps the dog to perceive danger and regulates stress, blood sugar level, and immune response.

In curing disease, a dog’s body produces excessive cortisol hormone, and controlling the excessive production is important.

Though this condition is found in many dogs, it’s still difficult to diagnose. If you notice or diagnose any signs that we have mentioned below, immediately take the dog to the vet for treatment. These signs and symptoms include:

  1. Hair loss
  2. Lack of energy
  3. The dog is lazy
  4. Excessive urination
  5. Muscle weakness
  6. Increased water intake
  7. Skin lesions

This condition of Cushing disease often affects older dogs, so it is normal to misinterpret these signs and symptoms as those of aging. It is best to voice your concern to the vet and get the proper advice and treatment for your dog.

Causes

In most cases of Cushing syndrome, the main cause is the pituitary gland tumor at the base of the brain, as there can be problems in this gland leading to the disease. Because of the tumor in the pituitary gland, the gland starts releasing excess ACTH hormones, which instructs the adrenal glands to release excessive cortisol, which is troublesome for your dog’s health.

This condition can also be due to a tumor in the adrenal gland above the kidneys. Besides this, prolonged exposure to drugs like prednisone, ear drops, dexamethasone, or other medications high in steroids can be a possible cause too.

The dog breeds at high risk of having this disease called Cushing’s syndrome include poodles, dachshunds, and beagles.

Remedies

The course of treatment depends upon the growth and size of the tumor. The tumor on the pituitary gland is often small in size and benign. Surgery, in this case, is often not preferable for your dog; instead, you can give oral medications to the dog. Oral medications are given to dogs to keep the cortisol level under control instead of any surgical method.

It would be best if you were very careful with your dog in such conditions as you don’t want to destroy the cortex of your dog. In such cases, there is surgery on the adrenal glands, but the treatment by surgery also may not be curative for the dog, and it will take proper vet checkups regularly to notice your dog’s condition.

5. Hormonal changes in female dogs

A female dog’s stomach could sag on one side due to hormonal changes like a fake pregnancy, heat cycle, or pregnancy. If you have an unspayed female dog, it is normal that the dog can easily go into heat twice a year. When your female dog is in heat, there are symptoms like vaginal discharge, excessive urination, abdominal swelling, etc., and these signs are normally witnessed in such dogs.

It is also normal for Unspayed female dogs to have fake pregnancies as the hormones produced during the heat cycle trick the dog’s body into thinking that it is pregnant, as the changes are like that of pregnancy only. As a result, such dogs can show symptoms like:

  1. Nesting
  2.  Restlessness
  3. Mothering activity
  4. Reduced activity level

If your dog is pregnant, it will start showing a round belly around 40 days into its cycle.

Causes

Unspayed dogs, if they go into heat, then it is a natural process. However, it would be best if you were extra careful when your dog is in this time of heat cycle. The female dogs will release hormones that indicate that these dogs are receptive to mating and are ready to conceive.

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At the end of the heat cycle’s estrus stage, your dog’s ovary will start producing hormones to maintain pregnancy and also receive the fetus. If the dog gets pregnant at this time, the hormone production will continue; otherwise, there will be a reduction in hormone production.

Remedies

If you don’t want your dog to get pregnant or go into heat, you should consider spaying it, as it is an important step to protect your dog. Spaying means that the ovaries and uterus can be removed surgically, as unspayed dogs have a higher risk of conditions like pyometra, breast cancer, and diabetes.

In the case of a fake pregnancy, there is no requirement for any treatment as the symptoms will slowly subside as the hormone production stops in the dog. But if any treatment is required, the vet will provide treatment based on the signs and symptoms that the dog shows.

In the case of unwanted pregnancy or a pregnancy that has harmful effects on your dog, you should consider the vet for the safest method of medical abortion; if you do not consider going to the vet, it can be harmful to your dog’s health and well being.

Bonus Read: My Dog Is Aggressive Towards Me But Not My Husband

6. Ascites

Ascites

Ascites is that condition in which your dog’s abdominal cavity gets filled with fluid. This condition is commonly known as effusion, a secondary condition. But the primary reason for this condition can be another disease or failure of other organs of the dog.

The fluid will continue to fill your dog’s stomach unless and until the root cause gets fixed. You may notice the following symptoms in your dog if he has ascites:

  1. Stomach sagging
  2. Shock
  3. Lethargy
  4. Stomach pain
  5. Loss of appetite
  6. Excessive panting
  7.  Difficulty in breathing
  8. Seizures
  9.  Excessive panting

Physical exams, CT scans, MRIs, EKGs, blood tests, etc., are performed on your dog to diagnose this disease.

Causes

A leading cause of this ascites condition can be nephritic syndrome, in which the dog has high protein levels in its urine and cholesterol in its blood, causing trouble to your dog. This disease can also be due to congestive heart failure, abdominal inflammation, liver disease, cancer, ruptured bladder, or kidney failure.

There can be other cases, such as internal worms and peritonitis, where the dog can have ascites as a secondary condition, but it still proves harmful.

Remedies

The treatment plan for this ascites condition depends upon the underlying reasons that cause this buildup of fluids. So the treatment of ascites varies, as it can be medications, antibiotics, surgery, beta-blockers, etc.

To eliminate sodium from your dog’s body, the vet will suggest the addition of diuretics. Also, the vet’s suggestion in such a condition is to limit the sodium content in your dog’s diet.

If your dog shows symptoms of severe ascites, the vet will remove the fluid to make your dog more comfortable.

Other causes

Apart from the causes mentioned above, other causes like tumor development in the intestine or other body parts of dogs cause such conditions. Such tumors need immediate treatment and veterinary attention.

Apart from this, dogs eating too much at once, internal bleeding, ruptured mass, intestinal obstruction, etc., can be possible reasons for your dog’s having a sagging stomach on one side.

Tips to Prevent Stomach Sagging Problems in your Dog

Tips to Prevent Stomach Sagging Problems in your Dog

To prevent stomach sagging problems in your dog, make sure your dog has regular checkups from the vet so that the vet can tell if there is any problem with your dog’s lungs, stomach, or any other organ.

A quick physical exam that gets performed on your dog’s abdomen can also help you realize that there is some problem with your dog’s stomach, either sagging or other.

To examine your dog’s stomach at home, check for tenderness due to touch, heat, lumps, stickiness, and swelling. If you find any other problems with your dog related to any issue, take the dog to the vet right away.

Conclusion

There can be several causes of responsible food causing sagging of the dog’s stomach on one side. For example, the main reason for your dog’s stomach bloating or it may be filled with worms.

Also, the dog may have developed Cushing disease, ascites, or tumors that cause sagging of the stomach on one side.

Sagging stomachs in female dogs can be caused by hormonal changes such as the heat cycle, pregnancy, or fake pregnancy.

You should take the dog to the vet immediately if you notice any additional symptoms like nausea, vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, reduced activity level, or abdominal pain.