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Today is: Wednesday January 17, 2018


Bloat In Dogs

IF YOU THINK THAT YOUR DOG HAS BLOAT GET HIM TO THE DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY. BLOAT IS A VERY SERIOUS, POTENTIALLY LIFE THREATENING CONDITION THAT CAN KILL IN LESS THAN AN HOUR. IMMEDIATE VETERINARY ATTENTION IS NEEDED.

Bloat, technically named Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus or GDV, is a very serious and often times a life threatening health risk for many dogs. It is the number two killer in dogs, just behind cancer. Although any dog can get bloat, deep chested dogs, German Shepherds, Great Danes, and Dobermans have the highest risk of developing bloat.

Bloat is felt to be brought on by swallowed air. Generally, there is an excessive accumulation of air, food, or fluid in the stomach. As the stomach begins to swell, it can twist and rotate to 90 to 360. The bloated stomach begins to cut off the blood supply from the veins in the abdomen, leading to low blood pressure, shock, and damage to internal organs.

Once the onset of bloat occurs, you have very little time to get medical attention. If you suspect bloat, phone your vet or emergency clinic to tell them that you suspect bloat and will be bringing your dog in for an exam. Phoning the vet will allow them the time to prepare an area and get staff available to see you. Bloat is truly an emergency situation. Keep a product that treats gas that contains the ingredient Simethicone, such as Mylanta Gas or Gas X. If you suspect bloat give some of this product to your dog to help relieve some gas, it may buy you a few extra minutes. YOU STILL NEED TO GET YOUR DOG TO THE DOCTOR ASAP.

Some signs of bloat include:

  • Trying to vomit, usually unsuccessfully. This may occur every few minutes

  • Not acting normally

  • Acting anxious

  • Restlessness, pacing back and forth

  • Having a "hunched up" look

  • Bloated abdomen, that may feel tight

  • Pale gums

  • Coughing

  • Unproductive gagging

  • Heavy salivating or drooling

  • Foamy mucous around lips or mouth

  • Unproductive attempts to defecate

  • Whining or crying

  • Licking the air

  • Refusing to lie down or sit down

  • Drinking excessively

  • Heavy or rapid panting

  • Shallow breathing

  • Cold gums or tongue

  • Weakness

  • Fast heartbeat

  • Weak pulse

  • Collapsing

Although these signs can point to many things, when potentially dealing with bloat it is better to be safe, than sorry. You should always be aware of what is normal for your dog. What he normally acts like, what his gums look like, his normal pulse, etc.

The exact cause of bloat in unknown, there are some theories as to what can trigger it. Some of the known causes include:

  • Stress

  • Any activity that results in gulping air

  • Eating or drinking too fast

  • Eating gas producing foods

  • Elevated food bowls

  • Exercising right before or after eating, especially eating

  • Heredity

  • Having a deep and narrow chest

  • Older dogs

With bloat being so deadly, it is best to try to prevent bloat. Some prevention tips include:

  • Minimizing or avoiding stressful situations

  • Do not use elevated dishes

  • Do not exercise a few hours (generally advised at least one hour) before eating or after eating (two hours generally recommended)

  • Encourage your dog to eat slowly

  • Feed multiple meals throughout the day

  • If you change your dog's diet, do so slowly

  • Avoid excessive drinking, particularly after eating

This site and its contents are intended to serve as basic informational purposes 
 --not a substitute for-- 
professional veterinary care!

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