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Ask the Veterinarian/Chihuahua's stomach churns, gurgles; won't eat


My 5-yr-old chihuahua's stomach is gurgling and squeaking very actively. Under normal circumstances she often seems surprised or offended by her rear end, and right now she seems only slightly more attentive to it.

Her most recent meal was about 24 hours ago. She declined her breakfast this morning and her dinner just now. (Every week I make a batch of the same food for her: chicken with pumpkin, carrots, green beans, and navy beans; she has eaten meals from this week's batch without incident.)

When I got home tonight she greeted me with her usual energy and affection. I've observed two behavioral differences in the past couple of hours. First, she is not burrowing as usual under a fleece throw or a pillow; second, she is not trying to lick my face when I kiss her on the cheek.

She had a regular solid bowel movement while I was at work. (She didn't want to go out in the heavy rain this morning, so I didn't force her.) The inner surfaces of her ears seem paler than usual. She does seem a little cool to the touch (but I wonder if that's because she isn't burrowed under).

Is she not eating because her stomach is churning, or is her stomach churning because she hasn't eaten? Is she fasting? Is she gassy? Would Gas-X help (all I have are dissolvable strips), or maybe baking soda?

I hope I haven't given too much useless information or too little useful.

Well something she has eaten hasn't agreed with her at all. She shouldn't be eating any kind of navy beans, these are way to gas-producing for dogs. Her diet, unfortunately, as good as it sounds to you, is not very well balanced. She isn't getting the proper ratios of minerals and vitamins with this diet. Home made diets are very, very tricky to get right.

So what's most likely going on is that she has gastritis, which is where her stomach and lower digestive system is irritated. The gas in her belly is causing the gurgling.

She needs to fast right now. She can then be started on a small amount, after 24 hours, of boiled chicken and rice. Then after another 24 hours she can eat a normal amount.

If she isn't better in 24 hours then she needs to see the vet because one of the issues of feeding human foods to dogs is their tendency to cause gastritis, pancreatitis- which can become fatal very quickly- and other digestive upsets.

I wouldn't give her any gas-x as I don't know if it's toxic to dogs or not. Pepto Bismol, a very small dosage, can be used safely twice a day.

If you insist on cooking for her you need to get a recipe for a fully balanced diet that consists of the proper nutrients and vitamins for her age and size.

Here is a list of diet recipes that Hills made years ago. As you can see, they take some ingredients to make them properly.

Most vets recommend a commercially prepared diet because of the issue of nutrient overload or underload. How can you know if you are making a fully balanced diet?

Once she is better you might want to re-think what she eats and opt for a fully digestible and nutrient dense diet such as Hills Science Diet Ideal Balance for small dogs. That way she is getting optimal nutrition without artificial ingredients or dyes. The new Ideal Balance diets are amazing and my cats are doing great on them.

I hope she feels better soon.  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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