Recognize the Mysterious and Deadly Signs of Dog Bloat

BevHills_iStock_000022324741_LargeDog bloat is the second leading cause of death among canine companions, so it’s vital to know what this condition is and how it can be prevented. While it’s not a risk that can be vaccinated against, the signs of dog bloat can be intercepted by vigilant owners. If treated immediately, you and your dog will enjoy many more years and snuggles together.

What is GDV?

Dog bloat is known as gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), which refers to the buildup of unreleased gas in the stomach. This happens as a result of the stomach twisting 360 degrees, cutting off the esophagus and the duodenum. If gas, fluid, and food are unable to move out of the stomach – and your pet does not receive emergency care – the blood supply can get cut off, resulting in death.

What Makes the Stomach Twist?

Currently, we don’t know what causes dog bloat. However, many experts agree it develops as a result of ingesting too much water or food before strenuous activity. The food and water inside the stomach become gaseous and start expanding.

Preventing Dog Bloat

How can responsible dog owners avoid such a terrible condition? Our veterinarians recommend:

  • Feeding your dog smaller portions throughout the day
  • Prohibiting water directly after a meal
  • Elevating food and water bowls so your dog isn’t in an uncomfortable position
  • Keeping your dog as calm and stress-free as possible
  • Taking your dog’s food away if you notice he or she is eating too quickly

Our team is also happy to provide nutritional guidance and to discuss digestive aids to prevent dog bloat.  

Are all Dogs at Risk?

The short answer is yes. However, deep-chested breeds (e.g., dobermans, great danes, boxers, akitas, retrievers, poodles) are at a higher risk of developing GDV.

What to Look for

If your dog is experiencing GDV, you may observe the following symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Pacing
  • Lethargy
  • Stiff walking
  • Salivation or drooling
  • Hard or distended abdomen that may sound hollow when you tap it
  • Pain when the belly is touched
  • Unproductive retching
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Collapse

We urge you to contact us if you notice any of these symptoms. Without immediate attention, GDV can lead to organ failure, and your dog could go into shock or coma. Your veterinarian will conduct diagnostics and prepare your pet for life-saving surgery.

Dog bloat is a scary topic, but the more you know more, the better prepared you can be to help your dog in an emergency situation. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Our team is always here to help!

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posted in:  Pet Safety