Is It Normal For a Puppy To Have a Big Belly?

Our love for our pets makes us want to spoil them all the time. What’s the best way to spoil them? Mostly, it’s by giving them treats (belly rubs come at the top of the list). Now, if we feed them too much, sometimes they can gain weight and look like adorable cinnamon rolls. That’s one of the reason why they can have a big belly. Don’t worry, that’s what vets are here for, they’ll form a proper diet for your dog so he’s healthy and happy. But in general is it normal for a puppy to have big belly?

is it normal for a puppy to have a big belly

What could be the reasons for dog’s swollen belly?

Your dog could be obese or she could be pregnant but there are other reasons that can cause your dog to have a swollen tummy. Following are the causes:


Roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms are the common worms that can contaminate PUPPIES and cause infection.

How has your doggo managed to catch these intestinal worms?

Below are some of the ways that your dog could’ve caught intestinal worms.

One of the ways for the transfer of worms is that they can be conveyed from the mother to the unborn puppies through her uterus. They can also be transferred to young puppies when they’re being fed breast milk by their mothers. It is a very frequent source of infection.

A lot of creatures have soil as their habitat; this includes worms, specifically hookworms, whipworms and roundworms. If your dog ended up eating the soil that was contaminated with these worms, he is likely to be infected by them. These parasites live in the gut and pass out their eggs into the soil.

When dogs groom themselves by licking their fur, they can consume that infected dirt this way. That is why, looking after your dog’s hygiene is so very important.

Parasites present in the soil can result in the contamination of that soil. When your doggo walks on that soil, hookworms can be caught this way. Any part of the body that touches this soil, the worms can then enter through this part, it’s usually the belly or the paws.

If some unfortunate rat or rabbit is caught by your dog and he has it as a victory dinner. If It turns out that this rodent was infected then it can lead to worms in your dog as well. Roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and whipworms can all infect your dog in this manner.

Fleas are very common in dogs. Only tapeworms can be contracted this way. A dog will only get tapeworm if it ingests a flea that is carrying tapeworm eggs.

[H4]Are you worried that you’ll contract worms from your dog?

Yes actually, the worms that your little friend managed to get infected by can also be transferred to you too! Parasites can be passed on from dogs to human one of such are Roundworms. Cases of Roundworms that humans are being infected with are more common among children.


Cancer can afflict dogs of all ages, especially dogs of old age. The five frequent cancers that could be found in dogs are as follows:

Mast cell tumors:

Skin cancers have many forms, one of those can present as a Mast cell tumor.


Dogs can be afflicted by Melanoma which is also a common type of skin cancer. It usually occurs around either the mouth or mucous membranes but it can also occur in hair.


Lymphocytes are a type of blood cells that basically help protect the body but if these cells become cancerous or if the lymphoid tissues undergo cancerous changes then that is known as a Lymphoma.  Lymphoid tissue can be found in the body in lymph nodes, liver, spleen, gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow.

Bone Cancer (Osteosarcoma):

Osteosarcoma refers to one of the malignant tumors of the bone. Frequently affected areas would be the long bones that are the limbs of the arms and legs. Also, it is mostly found to affect dogs of larger breeds than smaller breeds.


Blood vessels are lined by endothelial cells, if these endothelial cells become cancerous this can lead to a condition known as Hemangiosarcoma. It is found to spread rapidly and it can result in tumors that could be found anywhere in the body. It usually affects dogs that are either middle-aged or old. The most common organs that are affected by it are the spleen and the heart. Usually, diagnosis occurs in the advanced stage.


What is the difference between obstipation and constipation?

Constipation is basically a medical condition in which there is difficulty removing and passing stool.

Obstipation is a more marked and severe form of constipation in which a dog is unable to and cannot pass stool or gas. Obstipation can end up being very painful for dogs.

What are the common causes of obstipation in our furry friends?

When it comes to humans, a diet lacking in fiber becomes a cause of constipation. Also, unlike (some) humans, dogs sometimes eat things that are not food and end up being bad for them these could include things like hair or toys like dolls and even the kitty litter. All of these things may end up causing blockages in the gastrointestinal tract and difficulty in passing the stool.

Other factors include Age and Activity level. Elderly dogs seem more liable to have constipation and staying inactive often results in slower transit. Gastrointestinal tract tumors and Dehydration can occurs can result in electrolyte imbalance making things difficult

Medical procedures or drugs drug intake during surgical procedures may result in constipation. An example is surgery. Make an appointment with your vet for further investigation and advice if you observe this in the post-surgical period.

 Issues with anal gland and Prostate enlargement can also cause obstruction.

Drugs such as opiates, diuretics, antihistamines, some antacids, and anticancer drugs make bowel movements difficult. Metabolic diseases like hypothyroidism and renal (kidney) issues are areas of concern.

Hormonal diseases

Can hormonal diseases also occur in dogs? What are they?

Hormonal diseases can also occur in dogs and the most frequent endocrine diseases in dogs are diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism and cushing’s disease.

What are the signs of hormonal imbalance in dogs?

  • Excessive hairloss and recurrent infections
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Excessive panting
  • Increased drinking and urinating
  • Weight loss or weight gain resulting in a big belly

These are all the signs that confirm your dog has a hormonal imbalance.  

Bloat or gastric torsion

What does bloat or gastric torsion refer to?

Bloat is the another name for gastric torsion. Other name for it is gastric dilation volvulus (GDV) syndrome. If a dog’s stomach fills with gas and becomes twisted, it results in this life-threatening disorder that requires immediate treatment. Deep chested breeds such as Great Danes or Irish Setters etc are seen to be affected the most.

What is the cause of gastric torsion?

The cause is not known.


Pyometra is a secondary infection (which means that it occurs as a result of another disease in the body)due to hormonal changes that occur in the reproductive tract of the female dog.

When does pyometra occur in dogs?

Young female dogs that are sexually intact as well as middle aged dogs are prone to get pyometra but it is most commonly found in older dogs.

Are you ready to be a grandparent to little puppies?

Another reason for a big belly could be that your dog is pregnant. She can have cute little pups in her womb that can lead to bloating. Breeding periods also occur in dogs, the signs are always there. If you’re unsure about the pregnancy, make an appointment with your vet and in case of a pregnancy, your dog gets proper care. Breeding time for all dogs is different, it can be either twice in one year or it could happen every six months. How long would the heat cycle last? The heat cycle is different for different female dogs and it can fluctuate but usually they last from 2 to 3 weeks.

How would you find out that your Puppy’s big belly is not normal?

Are you concerned that your good boy is no longer happy? Have you noticed changes in his behavior? A visit to the vet is definitely required if you see all of the following signs in your dog.

Whining and Crying

Instead of playing fetch and running around, he’s lying in a corner and is exhausted and unable to move.

Uncomfortable Dog

Discomfort could be caused by his big belly and can be one of the major sources for dog’s uneasiness. He keeps trying to relax and be comfortable and yet is unable to find a cozy spot for himself to settle.

Pacing doggo

He’s restless. He whimpers and he whines and he lets out little barks of discomfort in between. He can’t sleep properly.

Irregular or shallow breathing

His big belly adds more weight on his body and that can be very draining for the little guy. He becomes easily fatigued even when doing activities that were routine and easy for him but now they’re more strenuous and require extra effort.

Rapid heartbeat

When an infection occurs, his heart beat is going to rise. Breathlessness or difficulty in breathing is one of the major signs. Especially when little activity makes him to be more tired than before.


Usually when you take him on walks, you’re reading with a plastic bag but now it goes empty because there’s nothing to clean up and throw away in the trash. This could mean that he’s suffering from constipation.

Belly is tender and painful

Dogs love having their bellies rubbed but whenever you touch his tummy, they whine and whimper out in pain.

Muscle loss

At the sight of food, he would be very excited but now it seems that he has lost his appetite which is resulting in a decrease in his upper body mass and he’s become lean.

What tests will be performed on your little friend by the vet?

Vets are blessings for our doggos. A physical exam will be performed and if the results turn out abnormal’s not pregnancy or just fat i.e. your dog has gained weight because of his diet.

Then, before the needle is inserted, the side of the belly will be cleaned and clipped. Some fluid will be taken and then that fluid will be examined under a microscope to look for white blood cells, red blood cells, bacteria or whatever other abnormality is the cause is for his inflamed belly.

For diagnosis there is a list of tests, it depends on the site, symptom and what the vet suspects. Abdominal or Chest X-ray, EKG, and sometimes even biopsy conforms the treatment or need of a surgery.

What treatment can be given to make him feel all better again?

Depending on the problem and the results of the tests, the treatment would be decided.

  • For cancer (lymphoma), your dog might be put on chemotherapy, or you can discuss some alternative treatments for cancer.
  • Surgery is recommended for a number of serious problems. This could be bloat, torsion, pyometra, urinary obstruction and even obstipation.
  • For a few cases the dog might be sent to the hospital, this comes under supportive care. It is given IV or proper hospital care to treat severe issues.
  • If the heart failure is comes secondary to heartworm disease, that will have to be treated too. A slow kill method is recommended, but some veterinarians use dewormers that kill all the parasites at once.
  • To resolve the breathing issues, drain the fluid through your dog. Next treat him with antibiotics for infections.
  • If your dog is having trouble breathing because of the fluid and heart failure, it might be drained off and then your dog can be started on medications.

What are the preventive measures that can help reduce big bellies in dogs?

Knowing that it’s not normal for a puppy to have big belly, what should one do? Here are a few handy tips.

  • Not to indulge in vigorous exercise for at least one hour before or after the meal
  • Slow down your dog’s eating process. Don’t overfeed him.
  • Keep a simethicone product this could include Gas –x or Phazyme. It helps with burping.
  • Give your dog multiple meals during the day in smaller portions.

How should one alter the diet?

  • Use both dry and wet food in the diet, mixing both is a great option.
  • If you want to change foods, transit slowly over a few weeks.
  • Carbs must be reduced, they are weight gaining component.
  • Try not to buy dry dog foods containing citric acid.
  • Select dry dog foods that consists of rendered meat meal with bone product as the primary ingredient.
  • Don’t let your Dog gulp down water too fast.
  • Probiotics such as Acidophills contain friendly bacteria that help.
  • Prozymes quick up the digestion and absorption process in the gut
  • Avoid products like brewer’s yeast, alfalfa, soybean products they end up in bloated stomach.
  • In case your dog is on Antibiotics probiotics must be given with a 2-4 hour difference.
  • Feed your dog a high in protein diet.

To sum it all up. Is it Normal for a puppy to have a big belly?

There is a reason that dogs are called a man’s best friend. They are truly your best companion. No matter what happens, they remain loyal to us until their last breath. We need to always take care of our best friends.

Moreover, we should be attentive to them, feed them a good diet and in cases of crisis, instead of being panicky, learn to keep a level head and contact the vet immediately because they really do know best. Our precious cinnamon rolls, our little buddies depend on us and therefore, it’s best that we try our best not to let them down. In short, there could be many reasons for the puppy to have a big belly. However, to find out the reason you need to visit the vet. Stay positive most of the time.

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