When you bring home a puppy for the first time, you may ask yourself many questions, including “what does a normal puppy belly look like?”.
Such questions are understandable and essential to ask because there are many situations in which your puppy’s belly may not look or feel happy.
A happy and healthy puppy should have a very smooth and proportional stomach that doesn’t look bloated or swollen.
Unfortunately, a swollen, tender, or bloated puppy belly may be a severe concern if it isn’t correctly caught and treated.
In addition, it could indicate a pretty broad range of problems, all the way from a pup with a hearty appetite all the way up to worms and other issues.
This potential severity makes it critical for you to take this problem seriously and reach out to a professional veterinarian when you need help.
Before taking your pup to the doctor, though, take the next five minutes or so to read through this detailed and informative article.
It will give you an in-depth understanding of the potential issues impacting your puppy and make it easier to know when it’s time to call the vet. In many cases, you’ll have to take in your pup because they’re often so delicate in those early years.
Why Does My Puppy’s Belly Look Swollen?
Your puppy’s belly could look swollen for a number of reasons, each of which could be the result of a variety of different concerning issues.
Sometimes, a questionable puppy breeder takes dogs from their mothers too early and tries to convince owners to put them on dry or soft food. This mistake is a problem because your young pup may not be ready for this food and could swell up quite heavily.
Other dogs may react poorly to some types of foods or simply overeat and cause themselves to swell up and bloat. You’ll notice this swelling after your dog has a substantial meal, and they’ll likely show other signs of suffering, such as whining or even vomiting.
Try to keep your pup away from any unnecessary treats and limit how much you give them based on what your vet says is appropriate.
However, a swollen belly could also be a symptom of problems as diverse as various types of internal infections, problems with the puppy’s digestive system, and even worms.
As a result, it is essential to talk to a vet if you think your puppy’s belly is truly swollen or bloated.
That said, it is also vital to understand if it is normal for your puppy to have a larger stomach at a relatively young age.
Is it Normal for Puppies to Have Big Bellies?
When a puppy is in its very early years, it’s not uncommon for them to have bellies that may seem more significant than usual or swollen, fat, or bloated.
This is because puppies have many internal organs inside their body, and, in such a small space, there isn’t as much room to hold all of them. So, a big belly might be perfectly normal for your puppy, depending on their overall health and other situations.
That said, there comes a time when this “pup chub” should start going away, and your dog is developing a regular and proportional stomach. If their belly stays big but doesn’t show signs of bloating or swelling, you may simply be giving them too much food.
As a result, you may need to cut back on their diet to see if they can slim down a little: a fast-growing dog should have little trouble getting back into shape.
That said, if your puppy shows other signs of distress, such as troubling sitting, obvious pain, howling, or hiding behaviors, they may be struggling with severe pain.
Dogs often hide when they’re in pain because they instinctively prefer to avoid their pack and don’t want to “infect” others with any condition. As a result, it is crucial to know when your puppy’s tummy is bloated.
How Do I Know If My Puppy’s Stomach is Bloated?
A bloated or swollen stomach should be pretty apparent in a puppy because the belly will be bigger than average and seem to surge out against the dog’s typical frame.
The area may also be quite tender, and your dog may spend time licking it or cringing if you try to pet or touch the site: some might even get defensive if you try to touch them. There are other signs that they may also have a bloated stomach.
For example, signs of distress (such as pacing, whining, and coming to you regularly) could be signs that they have a bloated tummy.
However, they obviously can’t tell you what is wrong, so you need to be ready to pay attention to their body language and diagnose other related symptoms.
You may also notice excessive gas, an unwillingness to eat, panting, and even excessive drooling while appearing panicked.
When you see your pup vomiting or experiencing diarrhea with a blend of the other symptoms above, you may need to visit your veterinarian right away.
Even if your puppy is only experiencing some digestive troubles, the pain they experience may be hard for them to tolerate. Even worse, there’s a good chance that they may have worms or another type of digestive infection.
What Does Bloat in Puppies Look Like?
A bloated stomach is going to look swollen and uncomfortable, and your puppy will show obvious signs of struggling to walk.
In addition, they may end up sitting around for extended periods, whining, or even lying on their back to extend their bloated stomach.
This swelling may worsen or intensify over time, depending on the severity of a dog’s condition, and may become red or even tender to the touch in some dogs.
A swollen stomach is likely to hang close to the ground in a small puppy and may even touch the ground if it gets severe enough.
Some dogs may end up walking higher on their paws to avoid touching the ground with their stomach because it hurts.
Your dog’s sides may also stretch out along the sides and cause a rather rotund look that seems to come out of nowhere and cause significant discomfort in your pup.
In other words, a bloated dog is going to look very miserable and unnatural, with a rotund overall appearance that is likely to come and go, depending on its condition.
For example, a dog with a lot of gas will eventually lose this bloat, though a dog with worms may experience more and need special treatment. Make sure you talk to your veterinarian to get your dog the help that they need.
How Can You Tell If Your Dog Is Bloated or Fat?
It is usually pretty easy to tell if your dog is bloated or fat because a bloated stomach is going to occur very quickly and will look much different from your pup’s normal stomach.
In other words, it will get too big for the extra size to have been gaining weight, and the bloat may go away and leave your dog looking normal. That said, a bloated tummy also feels different from a fat stomach.
A fat belly should have a soft feel to it and will be pliant under your fingers, moving quickly if you try to push it back and forth.
Your dog may not enjoy you playing with their chub in this way, but they won’t show any signs of pain or discomfort.
The fat belly will also look more normal than a bloated one or will seem more in line with the dog’s frame, rather than stretching outside their normal range.
A bloated belly will feel stiff and won’t give when you touch it, usually staying unmoving if you try to push it to the side.
Your dog will likely whine or cringe if you touch a bloated belly and may even try to snap at you.
Try to avoid touching your dog if you think it has a bloated stomach. Instead, take them to a veterinarian to get help from a professional who fully understands this situation.
Take Good Care of Your Little Buddy
By now, you should know the answer to the question “what does a normal puppy belly look like?” and feel comfortable taking care of your little buddy. However, it is essential to take the time to diagnose these potential issues and to get treatment if they’re experiencing worms or any other long-term problems. Thankfully, most cases of this type can be easily fixed if you catch them early enough.