Why is My Dog with an Upset Stomach Stretching?
Dog upset stomach stretching: if your dog has an upset stomach and is stretching, consider that this may be a sign of abdominal pain.
Veterinarians often describe this position as "dog praying position" because typically the dog will stretch out and keep their front legs stretched in front of them so the elbows almost touch the floor while the back end is arched up in the air sort of like when they're stretching from a nap or performing a play bow. Some dogs may also keep their head lowered to the floor.
Why do dogs assume this position? This position gives a dog relief as it takes the dog's pressure off his stomach and internal organs. If you notice your dog assuming the praying position, consider that it can be a sign of something minor such as presence of gas or as serious as an intestinal blockage or a case of pancreatitis, explains veterinarian Dr. Fiona. In some cases, this position may also be indicative of a spinal issue affecting the vertebrae of the back.
If your dog is stretching out and has signs of an upset stomach, it is wise to see your vet. Left untreated, the potential underlying condition may get worse. In the case of pancreatitis, other than the assuming the stretched out praying position, dogs may develop other clinical signs such as nausea, vomiting, fever, lethargy and decreased appetite. Pancreatitis is often seen after a dog eats a fatty meal. Many dogs with pancreatitis may show pain when their abdomen is palpated.
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A bout of pancreatitis should not be ignored as severe cases may lead to acute shock and even death. Pancreatitis can be diagnosed by your vet by running some blood tests and looking for an elevated white blood cell count and elevated pancreatic enzymes X-rays can further confirm presence of inflammation.
[adinserter block="4"]If your dog is stretching out and you suspect he may have swallowed a foreign object, there are chances your dog may have a blockage. Affected dogs may be vomiting, have diarrhea, strain to defecate, have a painful abdomen, loss of appetite and appear lethargic. If your dog has history of recently swallowing items or bones and is assuming the praying position, see your vet.
Another worrisome condition where dogs may assume the prayer position is bloat. According to veterinarian Erika Raines, this may indicate that affected dogs are suffering from pain in the upper abdomen. This condition often affects large, deep-chested breeds but also smaller dogs may sometimes be affected. Other than assuming this position affected dogs will manifest an enlarged belly, difficulty breathing, nervous pacing and retching. This is a condition where every seconds counts and warrants an emergency vet visit.
If your dog assumes the praying position and doesn't seem to have an upset stomach, you may be dealing with a spinal issue such as intervertrebral disc disease. Back problems need addressed as well. Many times these dogs have a lot of pain and left untreated, a back issue can turn into a bigger issue that may trigger neurological problems. If your vet suspects a back problem, he'll likely prescribe a course of prescription anti-inflammatory drugs such as Metacam, Rimadyl or Dermaxx and see how your dog responds.
As seen, stretching out can sometimes be a sign of a mild upset stomach such as temporary cramping due to a dietary indiscretion or the presence of gas, but it could be much more. If your dog has an upset stomach, seems in discomfort and is repeatedly stretching out, see your veterinarian for help as pancreatitis, blockages and spinal issues can be serious and sometimes even life threatening.