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Could Your Dog Have Bloat?

Updated on February 16, 2014
X-ray of a dog with bloat.
X-ray of a dog with bloat. | Source

A Dire Situation!

Bloat is a very painful often deadly medical issue that occurs in dogs. It is deadly in fifty percent of cases, however early detection can improve your pet's chances of living.

More Prevalent In Large Breeds

All breeds are susceptible, however larger dogs are more often afflicted with Bloat or Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV). Bloat is a dire situation that requires immediate medical attention. According to bloat happens when stomach gasses build up so fast and so large that the abdomen expands and cuts off other organs. This can affect blood flow and even breathing. The stomach may also twist at both ends not letting gas escape from the stomach cavity. In this case your dog will need surgery to untwist the stomach and then attached to the chest wall so the condition doesn't reoccur. Some owners of large breeds are proactive and have the stomach attached while their pup is still young.

Important Signs To Look For!

The main point of this article is to know what to look for. If your dog develops bloat you have a very limited amount of time to get them the medical care they need to save their life. The signs of Bloat are not always obvious, so knowing your dog and paying extra special attention to symptoms you know are not normal will help you avoid a catastrophe. Here are some things to look for. 1. Your dog retches but is unable to vomit. 2. Your dog will most likely be in pain, so if your dog is whining for no apparent reason check for the next sign 3. Distended abdomen. If your dog’s stomach seems extra large and very hard to the touch chances are they have Bloat. 5. Your dog may exhibit excessive panting and salivate. 6. They may have pale gums and a rapid heart beat and may eventually collapse. If you suspect your dog may have Bloat take them to the vet immediately. Knowing the signs is important because once the symptoms start you don’t have much time to get them help.

How Can I Stop Bloat?

There is not much information as to why Bloat happens but here are some ways that may help to keep it from happening. 1. Keep your dog's feeding bowls on the floor. Bowls that are raised make it easier for your pet to eat fast and avoid chewing thoroughly. That's why you should keep your pet's bowls on the floor. They don't swallow as fast and don't gulp down as much air, two things that contribute to bloat. 2. Try feeding your dog smaller meals more often. More, smaller meals is easier on your dog's digestive tract. 3. Don’t exercise your dog immediately before or after feeding. Wait at least one hour after exercise to let the body cool down. Wait at least two hours after feeding to allow the food to digest. 4. Most people feed their dog some brand of dry dog food, but you should always supplement your pet's food with a wet brand too. Another reason why I like a home-cooked diet. Dry food is a huge contributor to bloat. 5. Feed your dog grain free foods. Grains puff up in the digestive tract and can cause gas. 6. Don’t let your dog gulp large amounts of water all at once. I fill my dog's bowl about one quarter full and let her drink. If she wants more I fill put a little more in it. The time it takes you to get your pet more water gives them enough chance to swallow and rest before they drink more. I know when we are swimming dogs at the spa we sometimes have to burp (squeeze the dog's abdomen) a dog several times because they swallow water.

Attentiveness Is Key!

Vets don’t know why Bloat happens but does happen and it happens in larger dogs. I have seen it in smaller dogs as well, but not as much. I also know people with giant breeds that are proactive and have their dogs stomach attached to the chest walls while they are in being spayed or neutered. Knowing the signs is half the battle. If you know what to look for it can actually mean the difference between life and death.


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