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I have just fed my dog her usual food and she is acting very strangely. She is moaning and then stretching out her front legs, while standing upright on her hind limbs. Is this normal behaviour? Should I be worried?

Alison Logan advises…

The position you describe is a so-called ‘praying stance’, and is commonly a sign of bellyache. The causes range from the simple to the complex, and may result in an emergency situation. I would keep a close eye on your dog, and if she becomes at all unwell then she needs to be examined by a veterinary surgeon as a matter of urgency.  If the episode is short lived – a matter of minutes, with a rapid return to normal behaviour afterwards – then monitor her closely after subsequent meals to see if this is a common behaviour. Simple stomach pain should pass quickly.

If the behaviour becomes a regular feature after mealtimes, then it may be a sign that her food is not agreeing with her. Weaning her over to a hypoallergenic diet may help, but ask your veterinary surgeon before doing so in case there are other health issues of which I am unaware.  More serious causes of abdominal pain include bloat and gastric torsion, which need urgent veterinary attention.

Pancreatitis is another classic reason for a dog adopting this praying stance, which may be acute or grumble on chronically. Pancreatitis in dogs is a serious condition that will need help from your veterinary surgeon to manage.

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