Did you notice that your dog’s stomach is unusually swollen and tight? Is your pet restlessly pacing up and down, and retching without results? Are you trying to make your dog fart or poop? Do you suspect that your dog may be bloated?
Or are you simply curious about dog bloat? Whatever it is you want to know about dog bloat, read on to find answers to your queries.
- Why does my dog walk and poop at the same time? Let me tell you…
Dog bloat is literally the inability of a dog to pass gas, fluid or solid waste from either the mouth or the anus. This is a very serious and life-threatening condition that requires urgent medical care and can cost a dog’s life within minutes to hours.
 Will a dog with bloat poop?
A dog with bloat will be unable to belch, fart or poop. Dog bloat actually starts with the inability of a dog to pass gas, the dog’s stomach rapidly fills with air that has nowhere to go. This condition in dogs is medically referred to as Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) or Stomach Torsion.
When a dog is bloated, it simply means that gas — amongst other things — are trapped in the stomach and cannot pass through the digestive system, either as belch or fart. With no escape route, the gas in the stomach starts to ferment and build up pressure. This is an emergency medical condition, and if left untreated, the stomach will rotate by itself twisting at each end, blocking its entrance and exit and further cutting off blood supply to the digestive system.
Dog bloat or GDV is an extremely painful condition, with blood circulation disrupted the dog will go into shock and possibly collapse. A dog with bloat will have a swollen stomach, but this is different from a pet who has had too much to eat because the stomach will be swollen and very tight, while the dog will be restive and fruitlessly struggle to get some of the gas out.
 How do I know if my dog has bloat?
A happy and perfectly healthy dog can develop bloat within a few minutes and there are really no warning signs to tell you that your pet is about to suffer a bloat episode. You can only tell when the dog is already bloated and is looking pained, uncomfortable and acting weird.
Here are the first signs of dog bloat, you’ll know if your dog has bloat if she/he;
- Has a swollen and very strong stomach
- Is very restless and clearly in pain
- Is retching and really trying to throw up but nothing is coming out.
- Has very rapid and short breath
- Is drooling uncontrollably, this is a sign of serious pain.
Once your pet starts to show the symptoms above and you suspect that it may be dog bloat, then it’s time to find the nearest veterinary hospital and the faster you get there the better the chances of your dog surviving the bloat episode because every passing minute counts. If not immediately attended to by a vet, the condition will worsen with the dog going into shock, with laboured breathing, pale gums, weak pulse, possible collapse and death.
Dog bloat is more common in middle-aged and older dogs. Studies have been unable to find out the exact reason(s) why bloat happens in the first place, why the gases that fill the stomach are unable to either move back to the oesophagus and out as belch or move down into the intestines and go out as fart.
However, bloat is generally known to be the result of a dog swallowing too much air either while eating too quickly or playing and exercising. The mind-buggling part is why the gas and fluid stay trapped in the stomach.
 Can dog bloat go away on its own?
Dog bloat is no ordinary condition and will not resolve itself, if nothing is done it cannot go away on its own. A dog with bloat needs urgent medical care and if not promptly attended to by a vet the condition will definitely worsen within a few minutes or hours and the dog will certainly not survive.
A very dangerous thing to do which can make the condition much worse is trying to help your dog yourself by giving him or her over-the-counter medication or some other home remedies you feel will relieve your dog. This will only delay the urgent and immediate treatment your dog needs, wasting valuable time and making things worse.
A bloated dog has a higher chance of survival if brought in for vet care when the condition hasn’t got to the extent of the stomach rotating and twisting.
Before the stomach rotates, a bloated dog can be treated by decompressing the stomach to let out the excess gas. The complications of a twisted stomach or a collapsed dog tremendously decreases the chances of survival, and all these can happen within an hour.
 What can you do for a bloated dog?
Other than quickly taking your dog to the nearest veterinary hospital for urgent medical care, there is absolutely nothing else you can do for a bloated dog. There are no DIY home remedies for treating or relieving a dog with bloat and you shouldn’t try one because if you do, you won’t be helping your dog.
A dog with bloat is clearly in great pain and discomfort, therefore trying to force anything into his/her mouth will only increase the suffering, this may cause more complications or you may get yourself bitten. Also, searching for home remedies will further delay the urgent health care your dog needs.
Dog bloat may come across as a simple condition that can be quickly resolved at home, but unfortunately there is nothing simple about it. It’s a complicated situation which can easily get out of hand if not treated as an emergency and handled as urgently as it should.
 What foods cause bloat in dogs?
GDV or dog bloat is majorly caused when a dog swallows too much air either while eating or exercising immediately after eating.
According to a research study conducted at the University of Purdue, large and giant dog breeds who rapidly gulp down one large meal a day are more susceptible to GDV than other dogs. Therefore, reducing your dog’s food and giving him/her smaller portions 2 or 3 times a day is better than one meal daily.
The type of food and ingredients also contribute to the increased risk of bloat in dogs. In this study over 300 dogs were examined, including 106 bloat sufferers, and the results show that feeding dogs dry food with fat as one of the first four ingredients increased their susceptibility to bloat by 170%.
Furthermore, moistening dry food which has citric acid as one of the ingredients before feeding a dog significantly increased the risk of GDV by up to 320%. Moistening dry food in general do not cause bloat, only those that contain citric acid.
On the bright side, feeding your dog a rendered meat meal with bones reduced the risk of dog bloat (GDV) by 53%. Including table and canned foods in a dog’s diet also significantly reduced the risk of bloat or GDV.
 What can you do to prevent bloat in your dog?
While you cannot completely prevent bloat in a dog, there are a few things you can do to decrease your dogs’ chances of ever having a dreadful bloat episode. Here are some tips to help you prevent dog bloat;
- Instead of one large meal every day, give your dog smaller food portions multiple times a day.
- Make your dog very relaxed and comfortable at mealtimes to prevent him/her from rapidly gulping down the entire meal in 2 seconds. This is more so if you have more than one dog, and they each have to protect their food from others. You can do this by separating them at mealtimes so each dog can have a stress-free meal.
- Even without other dogs, if your dog has the habit of eating too quickly, try to slow down his/her eating speed by using a slow feeding bowl.
- Ensure your dog doesn’t drink too much water at once, especially while eating.
- Always make sure that your dog doesn’t start exercising immediately after eating, all forms of exercise (including running and playing) can wait for at least 30 to 60 minutes after eating.
- Also, giving your dog calcium-rich meals like chicken, lamb meal, fish meal, bone meal, meat meal are great for reducing the risk of bloat/GDV.
- If you have a large dog breed or a dog who has previously suffered a bloat episode, endeavour to ask your vet for ways to prevent future episodes. Find out if your dog has underlying conditions like food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease or a disorder that slows down gut movement and may trigger bloat in your dog.
 What breeds of dogs are prone to bloat?
Studies have shown that some particular dog breeds are more susceptible to bloat than others, and these are large dog breeds with deep chests and narrow waists, like the Great Danes and GSDs. Offspring of both pure and mixed-breed deep-chested dogs are also at higher risk of having a bloat episode than barrel-chested dogs.
According to the University of Purdue, the dog breed with the highest susceptibility to GDV is the Great Dane, followed by other breeds like; Bloodhound, Irish Wolfhound, Irish Setter, Akita, Standard Poodle, German Shepherd Dog, Boxer, Labrador Retrievers, Great Pyrenees, Weimaraners.
These aren’t the only dogs that can have bloat, actually any dog can have a bloat episode but these breeds are more prone to it because of their anatomy. The deep chest affords the stomach more space to distend with gas and fluid, it also gives the stomach enough space to rotate by itself.
In barrel-chested dogs, this isn’t the case which makes them less likely to have a deadly bloat episode or wind up with a twisted stomach.
Age is also another factor that increases a dog’s risk of having a bloat episode. A report from Purdue states that every year added to a dog’s life increase the risk of bloat by 20%, probably because the ligaments holding the stomach in place weaken with age.
A dog with bloat can neither poop, fart nor belch. Dog bloat or GDV is a very deadly medical emergency that can kill a healthy dog with an hour. It’s that serious and there is really no drug you can administer at home to relieve the symptoms.
Besides getting your dog to the nearest open veterinary hospital as quickly as possible — once you notice the early signs of bloat — there is really nothing else you can do.
Also, if you have a deep-chested dog breed or a mixed-breed with a deep-chested parent, endeavour to do your bit to prevent your dog(s) from having GDV, especially as they grow older.