Prevent your dog from fallign victim to bloatWhat is Bloat, And How Do I Recognize The Symptoms In My Dog?

Bloat is the second leading killer of dogs, with a mortality rate of nearly 50%. It is absolutely crucial that you understand the signs and symptoms to prevent injury or death arising from bloat.

New pet owners may not have even heard of “bloat” being used for anything other than a full tummy. Bloat, also known as Gastric Dilation and Volvulus, is a condition that occurs when a dog’s stomach is filled with excess air or gas. This causes the stomach to flip upside down, and cut off circulation to virtually every organ in their body. The stomach twists itself and blood can’t circulate through the stomach any longer.

This causes the stomach to become noticeably distended and dogs will begin to salivate excessively. It’s possible that they might vomit or dry-vomit, but heavy salivation is more likely. Dogs are extremely uncomfortable during bloat and will exhibit signs like:

  • Lethargy
  • Trouble standing and sitting
  • Restlessness and pacing
  • Short or shallow breath

If you see these signs then you need to act immediately, and get your dog to the vet.

How Long Do You Have Once You Recognize Bloat?

Once you recognize the signs of bloat you may only have hours or minutes to save your dog. When the stomach twists and blocks circulation, the tissue immediately begins to die. There’s a chance the dog can still be saved if they lose part of their stomach, but if the whole stomach dies then the dog will as well.

Here’s what you need to do when your dog has bloat:

  • Go to the vet
  • Go to the vet

Don’t set up an appointment. Don’t call beforehand, unless it’s taking place in the car while you’re driving to the vet. If it’s after hours, then go to the emergency vet. Even if you arrive with no warning, the vet will understand the gravity of the situation and should be prepared to operate quickly.

What Happens At The Vet, How Is Bloat Treated?

A puppy with a bloated stomachThe first thing the vet will do is put a tube down your dog’s throat to expel the excess gas and air in the stomach. Depending on how fast you caught it, they will usually want to do a surgery to untwist the stomach. If enough time has passed since the dog began bloating, the vet will also need to remove any dead tissue. The sooner you catch bloat the better it is for your dog.

As a preventative measure, the vet will also tack the stomach down inside the abdomen. This keeps your dog from ever bloating again. This is highly recommended, because once your dog has bloated it is far more likely to reoccur.

How Do You Prevent Bloat, What Are The Warning Signs?

Bloat is much more common in large, barrel-chested dogs. Breeds to be particularly cautious with include:

  • Great Danes
  • German Shepherds
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labradors

Smaller dogs are almost never affected by bloat, but it’s good to know the signs regardless.

There are lots of rumors about what can cause bloat, and the truth is that doctors don’t know. People used to think it was from dogs eating on the ground, so they started selling raised feeders. These feeders have no proven benefits, and might possibly increase the chances of bloat.  

Some people believe that eating before exercising or strenuous activity might cause bloat. To address this possibility, at DogBoy’s we allow the dogs about an hour to digest their food before they play.

During the Summer, when it reaches ninety degrees by ten in the morning, dog’s playtime is limited. Try to get them out to play in the early hours when it’s cool. Then you can feed them in the middle of the day as they rest and digest. There’s no harm in giving your dog a little rest and relaxation, it could help prevent instances of bloat.

Bloat Can Happen To Healthy Dogs At Any Time

Watch out for bloat at all timesWe have seen dogs bloat under so many different circumstances:

  • Full stomach
  • Empty stomach
  • Older dogs
  • Puppies
  • Relaxed dogs
  • Anxious dogs

It is more common in high-anxiety dogs, but this is not a hard and fast rule. We had a dog that boarded here for eight years with no problems, but bloated in her sleep one night without warning.

It can happen to any larger dogs, so stay aware and pay attention to their stomach and drooling. If there is unusual salivation and a distended stomach, don’t wait. Get to the vet as soon as possible. You can be the person that saves that dog’s life.

We take bloat very seriously at DogBoy’s. When we have a dog that’s bloating here, we run red-lights to get them to the vet. If you have questions or want to know more about the signs and symptoms of bloat, feel free to contact us today.



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