Treating bloat in dogs is a condition that requires the immediate attention of a veterinary professional. Bloat is a scary condition that all dog owners need to be aware of because it is seriously life threatening and can
occur very suddenly.
If you are not familiar with this condition, medically referred to as Gastric Dilatation Volvulus or GDV, for the
sake of your dog, keep reading!
What is Bloat?
A bloated stomach in a dog occurs when air, gasses and liquids have suddenly
accumulated in the abdominal area causing it to become enlarged. Sometimes, this
gastric event is accompanied by Volvulus, a secondary and more serious condition
whereby the swelling results in a torsion or twisting of the stomach.
happens, pathways in and out of the stomach can generally get pinched off, resulting
in an array of extreme possibilities. Time is of the essence to avoid a fatality.
Because a case of bloat can progress to this critical stage very quickly - sometimes
in much less than an hour, the best and only course of action is to take a dog to the vet
for diagnosis and treatment at even the
slightest sign of it.
Any delay generally results in the loss of a beloved pet,
particularly if the stomach has twisted. Not a risk we want to take!
So let's get to the symptoms of dog bloat so you'll be able to recognize this condition.
Signs of Bloat In Dogs
When treating bloat in dogs, these are some of the symptoms to be aware of that can be present with bloat in the early or late stages:
Sudden enlargement of the abdomen, but not always noticeable.
Abdomen may be sensitive to the touch or feel tight.
Tired or lethargic demeanor.
Pet unsuccessfully attempts to vomit.
Drooling excessively, trying to swallow, licking lips.
Seems restless and uncomfortable.
Pained look about the eyes.
Some groaning or whining, etc.
Rapid heart beat
Gums and tongue look pallid
What Is The Cause Of Bloat In Dogs?
While no specific cause is known, there are a few factors and habit patterns that are often associated
with the occurrence of canine bloat.
Eating large meals quickly
Consuming large amounts of water soon after meals
High activity following meals
Dogs that are larger or deep-chested are considered
more likely to be affected, especially if their
relatives have been bloaters. The breeds most often cited are: Saint
Bernard, Akita, Boxer, Great Dane, Weimaraner, Basset Hound,
Irish Setter, Bloodhound, German Shepherd, and Standard Poodle to name a
While dogs of any age and health condition may be affected, research has indicated the higher risk has
been associated with mid-life or older dogs and with males more than females.
Some sources cite possible dietary factors, type of food eaten
Treating Bloat In Dogs
Typically in the case where no volvulus has occurred, the veterinarian will insert a tube along the pathway leading
to the stomach to release the gasses and fluids.
It has been noted that even when the stomach has twisted, it may
still be possible for the tube to enter the stomach. Sometimes an x-ray is done to confirm a diagnosis.
Depending on the extent of the dog's condition, various treatments may be needed to:
Address symptoms of shock,
Deal with irregular heart rhythms, or
Perform corrective surgery.
Preventing Or Lowering the Risk
Dog owners who have witnessed a case of dog bloat don't want to live through it again, that's for sure. Fortunately,
there are a few practices advised by professionals to help prevent it:
Break up your dog's food allowance into 2 or 3 meals per day and make sure he is not under any kind of stress while eating.
Keep the water bowl inaccessible for up to an hour before and after eating
Avoid letting your dog gulp a lot of water at any one time
Delay high energy activities or brisk walks until food has had time to digest.
No elevated dog feeders. **NOTE: This advice came from a significant study on bloat and large dog breeds,
by Dr. L. Glickman,VMD., and was referred to in the August 2007 AKC GAZETTE.
Avoid meals containing only dry food.
Consider making nutritious homemade dog food which has been indicated by some research to reduce the incidences of bloat.
If your vet or emergency clinic is not close by, consult with your vet about the merits of obtaining a stomach tube for
your pet's first aid kit and having him teach you how to use it. This would just be as a back-up safety measure.
While not standard procedure for treating bloat in dogs, some owners of dogs in the high risk
category for dog bloat, elect to have a gastropexy performed on
their dog as a protective measure.
This surgical procedure is designed
to prevent the stomach from twisting by attaching it to the wall of the
Treating Bloat In Dogs - Recap
Since the jury is still out on the exact cause of dog bloat and more
research is yet to be done, a dog's best protection boils down to:
Owners becoming very familiar with the early warning signs of this syndrome