What Causes Inflamed Intestines In Dogs?

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, […]

Oct 18, 2023·5 min read
What Causes Inflamed Intestines In Dogs?

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 behavior, 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 other health challenges, 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; such as infection or a genetic/hereditary complication. If the gut has become inflamed, it can leave your pup sensitive to other health challenges. You see, when the mucosa is inflamed, it’s left extremely vulnerable, which can lead to irritants 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 behavior, immune system, and vital organ functions.

Symptoms Of Stomach & Intestinal Inflammation

a red, long-eared, medium sized dog stands in snow with "puppy-dog" eyes

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 are;

  • Abdominal pain
  • Tar-like dark stools containing blood
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea; with blood
  • Straining and discomfort passing feces
  • 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 commonly 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, including chronic 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; diarrhea, blood in poop, or mucus-covered feces.

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?

a brown, black and blonde mixed breed, medium sized dog lies splayed out on their front on dark brown floor

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 fiber 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. 


“Stomach Inflammation (Atrophic) In Dogs” Pet MD, Oct 30. 2008 https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/c_dg_gastric_atrophic#:~:text=Atrophic%20Gastritis%20In%20Dogs,of%20the%20patient’s%20gastric%20glands.


Becca TriggB

Becca Trigg

An all round animal lover, who absolutely adores writing and researching anything puppy! Over the past few years, I have been able to gain ample pet knowledge; specifically joint health and dental hygiene. When I'm not typing away in the office, I can be found sitting in a country pub or growing chillies

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The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
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