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VetTechErin, Licensed Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 681
Experience:  Published author in veterinary medical journals and on the Veterinary Information Network with a focus in toxicology
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My dog is pacing around and won't sit down. He stretches periodic

Customer Question

My dog is pacing around and won't sit down. He stretches periodically in the downward dog position. He has had stomach issues in the past and is better the next day. He hasn't had bloat to this point. Because he isn't siting down, however, I'm more concerned this time.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 2 years ago.
Hi there!
My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to help you with your question about your dog.
Does his tummy look like it is distended?
Has he gotten into anything recently (torn up toys, missing socks, ingested plastic, etc.)?
Any other signs aside from the stretching and pacing? (Vomiting/diarrhea/defecating and urinating normally?)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
His stomach does not look distended. I felt the stomach as well; it feels tight but nothing excessive. He hasn't acted like he needed to throw up either. He is panting but not heavily. He got into my sons breakfast this morning but his discomfort appeared immediately following this, so I suspect that he could have eaten something yesterday. He got into some tissues but I cannot recall if it was yesterday or the day before. He's also not crying except for a brief wine that comes with the period stretch.He has had stomach issues like this before but not to the extent where he won't sit for brief moments. He has literally not sat down since about 8:30 ET today.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
*periodic stretch
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 2 years ago.
The signs that you are seeing (restlessness and discomfort) are typically related to pain and discomfort. Meaning something like mild tummy upset could cause this, but with mild signs, we typically would have expected it to resolve by now.
Given the fact that he's been pacing, panting, and stretching for several hours causes me concern that this is not something that will pass without veterinary care.
If he got into some tissues or something else around the house yesterday or the day before, he is within the time frame where we can start to see the signs of a blockage develop. If the tissues balled up and are not passing easily, or he swallowed something else similar in the time frame, he could be having an issue passing it. Also, depending on what he ate from your son's breakfast, this could be causing part of the trouble as well.
Due to the risk of an obstruction after getting into something like tissues, I think you probably should get him into an emergency clinic ASAP. A blockage is an emergency, and the more developed it becomes, the harder it is to successfully treat. While it is possible you may be dealing with some other stomach issue (pancreatitis tends to cause tummy pains, constipation can cause pain and discomfort, intestinal parasites can cause similar issues, etc.), the risk of something more life-threatening is too high.
They will likely want to perform radiographs at the vet to determine if anything is stuck in his GI tract, and removal requires surgery. So long as he is clear, they may be able to give him some supportive care and possibly even send him home, but if he IS having trouble with a blockage or an obstruction, the sooner you get him in, the best his chances of recovery.
If you do opt to monitor him at home for a little while longer, a progression of an obstruction can eventually cause them to start vomiting, to stop eating/drinking, to grow very lethargic, the pain and restlessness typically continues, they may strain or have difficulty passing a stool, and their gums can grow pale or white in color. If you are seeing any of those additional signs in combination with what he's doing now, then he absolutely needs to get in immediately.
I would not recommend giving him over-the-counter medication, as the vast majority of pain medications are either toxic or will cause further irritation to the stomach. Some vets will suggest famotidine/plain Pepcid AC given at 5 milligrams per 10 pounds of body weight to help settle the stomach a little bit, but this will only reduce the acid production in his tummy and may not serve to ease his signs if he is dealing with something more serious.
After they've ingested something, we often suggest adding bulk/fiber to their diet to help it pass through, but once they've already started to show signs of a blockage, putting more food into the stomach will only increase the amount of "pressure" the swallowed material is placing on the area of the intestines where something might be stuck. Instead you might try withholding his food and water for 12 hours to give his tummy a bit of a chance to settle down and see if that helps him improve. If he's improving after that period, you can try reintroducing small amounts of water first for an hour, then reintroduce little bits of food to see if he holds it down.
All things considered, the vet visit is most likely your safest bet to ensure that anything possibly life-threatening is immediately addressed, as abdominal pain in a dog can be a sign of some pretty serious things. If you need help locating an emergency vet in your area, please feel free to reply back with your zip code, and I'd be happy to locate a few nearby to you.
Let me know if you have questions or concerns!

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