Understanding bloat in dogs is important because it can be very deadly for your four-legged friend. Bloat occurs when the stomach gets twisted and gas builds up. The order of events is not completely understood by vets and they are not sure if the stomach fills with gas then twists, or twists and then fills with gas. Either way, the condition is dangerous and can cause serious health problems to your dog if not treated quickly.
The extreme pressure that builds up in the stomach during bloating can cause tissue to die. It can also put pressure on other organs and limit the dog’s body’s ability to properly function. Dogs that are
historically most prone to bloat are larger breed male dogs. These dogs have a history of over eating and over exercising. This combination of fast eating and wild play has been shown to cause bloat in dogs.
If your dog has a bloated stomach, is drooling more than normal, has trouble breathing, and/or is pacing back and forth, this could be a sign that they have bloat. If your dog is trying to vomit but nothing is coming out this too can be an indicator that they are suffering from bloat. Time is of the essence if your dog is dealing with any of these issues and you must bring them to the vet right away. There is nothing you can do at home to treat this.
Treatment for bloat in dogs requires a surgery that un-twists the dog’s stomach. The vet will typically suture the stomach to the abdominal wall to prevent it from twisting again. The surgery isn’t without risk and 1/3 of the dogs that receive treatment sadly still pass away. The best way to help your dog’s odds is to get them to the vet at first sign of issue.
Most vets and pet owners report that if your dog is able to make it through the surgery, they have a high chance of survival. This isn’t without lifestyle change and lots of recovery. Being pro-active on your dog’s diet and exercise is the best way to prevent bloat in dogs. Your vet can give you guidance based on your dog’s breed to best structure their feeding and play time. With large dogs it can be difficult to control what they are doing. And, because big dogs are the most likely to experience bloat, you need to be extra careful.
In general, it is a good idea to schedule annual visits with your vet and learn about health risks your dogs breed can be predisposed to. Take action early and sign up for pet insurance as well. These insurance plans pay 70-90% of the total vet bill. With a procedure like untwisting of the stomach costing $10,000 plus, you will be happy to have paid the small monthly premium – usually around $40/month – towards your dog’s insurance.
To get started on preventing bloat in your dog, visit a vet and talk to them about if your dog is at risk. You can also purchase items like a slow-eating dog bowl which is designed to limit the food intake by making it challenging for your dog to eat more than a tablespoon or so of food at a time. This is a big help especially when fast eating is a major factor in causing bloat.
Finally, make sure you keep your dog inside to rest for a half hour (or whatever is recommended by your vet) after they eat. Giving your dog time to digest will help them properly process their food and hopefully prevent their stomach from getting twisted. Dogs typically thrive on structure so coming up with a feeding and activity schedule will not only help prevent bloat but also give them a positive environment and support mental health.
To learn more about bloat in dogs, consult your vet today. Thank you for reading this article and we hope that it helps better prepare you for potential health issues that could harm your dog. Please comment below if you have had a dog that experienced bloat or if you have additional insights that can help other readers.