What Causes Inflamed Intestines In Dogs?

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What Is Stomach & Intestinal Inflammation in Dogs?

Estimated Read Time: 5 minutes 

Summary: In this blog, we look into what inflammation of the intestines in dogs is, the causes of stomach inflammation and thickened intestinal walls, and what are the symptoms we dog parents need to look out for.


Your dog’s gut health is very, very important. Not only is their digestion necessary for their survival, but the actual gut can also affect behaviour, immune system, and vital organ functions…

What Is Inflammation Of The Intestines In Dogs?

Just like us, our dogs’ bodies become inflamed as a natural reaction to infection - so when you think of it like that, it’s a good thing, right? Well, short-term inflammation can help combat and fight disease and bacteria, but chronic or long-term inflammation can create havoc on your pup’s body…

Inflammation of the intestines in dogs can be caused by a multitude of things; infection, allergies, food, or a genetic/hereditary complication. When the gut has become inflamed, it can leave your pup sensitive to allergies that they may not have suffered from before. You see, when the mucosa is inflamed, it’s left extremely vulnerable, which can lead to irritants and allergens attacking your dog’s digestive system, resulting in prolonged upset without an obvious cause.

Long-term inflammation and upset to your dog’s intestines and digestive system will put stress on their immune system - affecting their overall health and wellbeing. As said above, your dog’s gut health is so important, with a slight imbalance affecting behaviour, immune system, and vital organ functions.

Symptoms Of Stomach & Intestinal Inflammation

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Knowing the signs and symptoms of stomach & intestinal inflammation is imperative as a puppy parent, not only to keep their gut and digestion healthy but to also support their overall health...

The most common symptom is regular and frequent vomiting, often containing;

  • Undigested food
  • Stomach bile
  • Blood
  • Froth
  • Digested blood/old brownish-red blood

Other common signs and symptoms are;

  • Abdominal pain
  • Tar-like dark stools containing blood
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhoea; with blood
  • Straining and discomfort passing faeces
  • Poop covered with mucus
  • Lack of appetite

Types of Intestinal Inflammation

Due to the sheer size of the gastrointestinal tract, inflammation can take hold at almost any point, with most types of inflammation being short-term or chronic - requiring medical support and assistance. Take a look at the types of intestinal inflammation;

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) - any dog can develop IBD, but some breeds are more regularly affected; Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Boxers, Border Collies, Irish Setters, and Norweigian Lundehunds. IBD is a condition where your pup’s digestive tract or intestine regularly and frequently becomes inflamed. This continuous inflammation can end up damaging the lining of their digestive tract, preventing food from being digested correctly and healthy. 

Acute gastritis- this type of intestinal inflammation is normally short-term, often accompanied by symptoms such as; vomiting blood, undigested food, or stomach bile.

Chronic gastritis - when vomiting has continued consistently and more regularly over a short period of time (a week), it is often down to chronic gastritis. Unless your dog is suffering from food poisoning as these symptoms are very similar.

Chronic atrophic gastritis - there are different types of chronic gastritis, includingchronic atrophic gastritis. This is a type of long-term stomach inflammation that affects the lining of the stomach and gastric mucosa.  

Chronic hypertrophic gastropathy - this uncommon type of chronic gastritis occurs when inflammation affects the muscles along your dog’s digestive tract, constricting and reducing gastric functions and outflow.

Inflammation of the colon or large intestine -  similarly to gastritis, colon, and large intestine inflammation can occur either long-term or short-term. This type of inflammation and irritation normally results in symptoms affecting the bowel; diarrhoea, blood in poop, or mucus-covered faeces.

Granulomatous enteritis - although not very common, this rare condition is caused by long-term, chronic inflammation that narrows the bowel opening, causing a lot of discomfort and difficulties for your pup.

Causes of Stomach & Intestinal Inflammation?

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Short-term inflammation is extremely common in dogs, often caused by what your dog is eating. Bad food, overeating, and consuming toxic foods can result in stomach and intestinal inflammation.

When it comes to long-term inflammation, the causes can vary;

  • Food allergies
  • Allergy or reaction to new medication
  • Bacterial or parasite infection
  • Breed (some breeds are more prone to developing chronic, long-term inflammation)
  • Hyper-immune response
  • Lymphoid tissue

Final Thoughts On Inflammation Of The Intestines In Dogs

If you suspect your dog may be suffering from either short or long-term inflammation, we absolutely encourage you to visit your vet as soon as possible. Most pups are given medication and anti-inflammatory drugs to help ease symptoms such as vomiting. You may even get asked to add fibre to your dog’s diet if it is only a short-term issue. Whatever you do, if you notice your pooch displaying any of the signs and symptoms above, seek medical support. 

Related Reads

Leaky Gut Syndrome In Dogs

Abdominal Issues In Dogs

Chicory Root: A Natural Probiotic



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