What Is Dog Bloat?
Bloating occurs when a dog's stomach fills with gas, food, or liquid, causing it to expand. The stomach puts pressure on other organs. It can cause dangerous issues, including:
Decreased blood flow to their heart and stomach lining
A tear in the wall of their stomach
More difficult breathing time
In some cases, the dog's stomach will turn or twist, a condition veterinarians call gastric dilatation volvulus (GSV). It traps blood in the stomach and prevents it from returning to the heart and other areas of the body. This can send your dog into shock.
Bloating from GSV usually comes on very quickly. At first, your dog may show signs that his stomach hurts. They can:
Have a bloated stomach
Look at their stomach
Try to vomit, but nothing comes up
Stretch with their front half down and back end up
As the condition worsens, they may:
have pale gums
Have a rapid heartbeat
to be short of breath
If you suspect your pet is bloating, take him to a clinic immediately. If dogs do not receive treatment in time, the disease can kill them.
Vets don't know what causes bloat, but there are some things that increase a dog's risk, including:
Eating from a raised food bowl
Have one big meal a day
Lots of running or playing after eating
Other dogs they are linked to have had bloating
To eat or drink too much
Any dog can get bloat, but it's much more common in large breeds with deep chests, like Akitas, Boxers, Bassets, and German Shepherds. Some are more at risk than others, including Great Danes, Gordon Setters, Irish Setters, Weimaraners, and St. Bernards.
The treatment a dog receives depends on the severity of their condition.
First, the vet may put a tube down your dog's throat and up to his stomach to release the pressure that has built up. Sometimes a twisted stomach can block the tube from passing. If this is the case, the vet can put a large hollow needle in her belly and release the pressure that way.
If your dog is in shock, the veterinarian will immediately start giving him intravenous fluids, usually with antibiotics.
The vet will take x-rays to see if their stomach is twisted. If it is, your dog will need emergency surgery to untwist it and return it to its normal position. The vet will also fix the stomach to prevent GSV in the future. They will also check to see if the condition has damaged other parts of their body.
Bloat can be scary, but there are ways you can prevent it from happening to your dog:
Do not use a raised bowl unless your veterinarian says your dog needs one.
Don't let them run around or play a lot just before or after meals.
Feed a few small meals throughout the day instead of one or two large ones.
Make sure they drink a normal amount of water.
For predisposed breeds, your vet will sometimes turn the stomach when your dog is spayed or neutered