Have you ever wondered what it may mean when your tummy starts to rumble and make ‘gurgling’ noises? Sometimes the rumbling may be so loud that it can be heard from others across the room and it can feel quite embarrassing! Are you hungry? Have you recently ingested a meal? Do you feel nauseous or unwell? Your puppy’s tummy may gurgle too for the same reasons as in humans. However, although gurgling noises can often be a normal and healthy process in many animals, they may also be a cause for concern. This article will explain and discuss the most common reasons for your puppy’s stomach to gurgle and when to be a little more worried and take that trip to your vets.

Why do tummy’s gurgle?

Tummy gurgling, scientifically named ‘borborygmi’ is a normal process that can take place at any time in many different species. Borborygmi represents a rumbling or gurgling noise made by the movement of fluid, food, and gas in the stomach, small or large intestines. It is also frequently termed stomach ‘gurgling’ or ‘growling’. Normal borborygmi is usually intermittent, quiet, soft gurgles followed by periods of silence. 

What are the normal causes of my puppy’s tummy gurgling?

Below is a list of the most common causes of borborygmi in an otherwise healthy puppy:

  • Hunger – Most commonly, your puppy’s tummy will ‘gurgle’ when they are hungry, or when food or gas is travelling along their digestive system. This is why borborygmi usually settles down at night time during sleeping, when minimal digestive processes occur. During hunger or anticipation of a meal, the tummy grumbling can become extremely loud and noticeable! 
  • Digestion – Sometimes borborygmi can be heard following a recently ingested meal so you may hear your puppy’s tummy rumbling following their feeds. This is due to peristalsis. Peristalsis is when the intestinal smooth muscle contracts and works hard to move food along the gastrointestinal tract for digestion. Because peristalsis involves the movement of food and gas, this consequently creates loud and audible gurgling noises.
  • Eating too quickly – If your puppy eats their food too quickly, they can ingest air with their meal. This is called aerophagia. The increased gas content within their gastrointestinal tract can create borborygmi. Introducing a slow feeding puzzle device can reduce aerophagia.

When should I be worried?

Now, this is when things can become a little bit more confusing! Loud borborygmi can sometimes indicate a problem, although your puppy may experience this if they are extremely hungry! 

If your puppy is experiencing loud borborygmi, but is otherwise very bright, eating and toileting okay…then there is little cause for concern. A noisy grumbling tummy alone with an otherwise well and happy puppy would not be worrying.  

It can be really hard deciding whether borborygmi should be anything to worry about. 

However, if your puppy is experiencing loud borborygmi and is also clinically unwell with any of the following clinical signs, you must seek immediate veterinary advice:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain and groaning
  • Lethargy and tiredness
  • Hunched posture and arched back
  • Swollen or distended abdomen (tummy)
  • Inappetance
  • Excessive salivation/drooling
  • Demonstrating the ‘prayer’ position – this is when your dog has both their front legs stretched in front of them and their head and shoulders down. This is a significant indicator of severe abdominal pain.

And there are a range of possible causes.

The following list highlights some of the conditions that can result in borborygmi in your puppy (this is not an exclusive list):

  • Dietary indiscretion – If your puppy has had an adverse reaction to a certain type of food this can lead to a gastrointestinal upset. Often this can happen if they eat human food scraps or with a sudden diet change. It is important to ensure that diet changes should be gradual. 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Gut parasites – It is important to ensure your puppy receives regular flea and worm treatment, contact your vet practice for further information.
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort 
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Abdominal bloat/gastric dilation volvulus (GDV) – With this life threatening condition the stomach twists which traps gas in the stomach, creating loud gurgling noises.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Pancreatitis – This is an inflammatory condition of the pancreas which leads to abdominal pain. This can cause your puppy’s tummy to grumble.
  • Parvovirus or other viral infections
  • Foreign body/gastrointestinal obstruction – If you are ever in the unfortunate position where your puppy has an intestinal obstruction and has ingested something they shouldn’t have, this can lead to borborygmi due to the build-up of gas within the gastrointestinal tract.


So, next time you experience your tummy gurgling, take a minute to think about the reasons why! To conclude, I hope this article has provided some comfort in understanding why your puppy’s tummy may be gurgling, the normal reasons for borborygmi, and the situations to be more concerned and seek veterinary advice. Finally, it is always sensible to ensure that your new puppy is registered at a local veterinary practice in case you need to seek help. Already being registered can make booking appointments much easier. 

If you need any help deciding on a Vet practice and choosing a Vet, the following articles provide additional information and advice:

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