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Is Your Dog at Risk for Deadly Bloat?

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Bloat, otherwise known as Gastric Dilation and Volvulus can happen when a dog’s stomach swells up and/or twists because it is filled with food, fluid or gas. The swelling creates pressure on the surrounding internal area. This can result in difficulty breathing, tears in the stomach wall and loss of blood flow to the heart and stomach. The twisting or “torsion” also cuts off critical blood flow to the heart and body by trapping it in the stomach both of which can send your dog into shock.

Bloat is second only to cancer as a leading cause of death in dogs

Bloat is not only dangerous but life threatening. When it happens and it happens quite quickly you don’t have much time to get your dog to the vet, usually less than one hour. Left untreated it will kill your dog.

Risk Factors include:

ALL dogs are at risk for Bloat but deep chested dogs are at a higher risk (Great Danes, Boxers, Pit Bull Breeds, Weimaraners to name a few).

Dogs that gulp their food

Eating one large meal a day

Raised food bowls

Too much water before or after eating

High level activity after eating (running, playing, jumping, wrestling with playmates)

Dry dog food with a high grain content

Prevention is key so here are a few tips:

If your dog is a gulper look for special feeding bowls that slow a dog down. Slo Bowls are great and they are fun for your dog as well.

Break up your dog’s daily food allowance into two or three meals. Like breakfast and dinner.

Your dog was designed to eat with their head down to the ground. Toss the raised food bowls, they allow for extra air to get into your dog’s stomach as they eat.

Limit the amount of water your dog drinks prior to and directly after eating. Don’t allow them to gulp large amounts of water after intense activity or on high temp days. Smaller more frequent drinks are safer.

After any meal give your dog at least an hour or more to digest their food before resuming any high level activity.

Read the label: If your dog foods first ingredient is grain get a new dog food.

Recognizing the symptoms:

At first your dog may not exhibit any symptoms but as time goes on the symptoms increase

Acting uncomfortable, restless, lethargy, pacing, inability to settle

Salivation-drooling, head hanging

Unsuccessful vomiting-Dry heaves

Swollen stomach

White or pale gums due to lack of blood flow

Trouble breathing, shortness of breath

Increased heart rate


If you notice any of these symptoms get your dog to the Vet immediately. Time is of the essence in ensuring a good outcome.

For a short video of a dog experiencing Bloat click here . Beware it is hard to watch but it could save your dog’s life.

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