What you need to know about bloat in dogs

by Kira Garrett | September 02, 2014

The statistics are scary. Bloat, or more technically Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GDV), is responsible for tens of thousands of animal deaths every year. But if you understand the condition and its cause, it doesn’t have to be a worry.

What is it?

When a human feels bloated, there are few side affects and the uncomfortable feeling most often passes naturally. But for our canine counterparts, bloat is far more serious. Bloat occurs when your dog’s stomachfills with air, fluid and/or food. When the stomach is enlarged, it puts pressure on other organs, which can eventually cut off breathing and blood supply to those organs. In the most severe cases, the bloated stomach will actually rotate or twist (called torsion or volvulus).

What are the symptoms?

A dog with bloat will typically have a swollen, visibly enlarged abdomen. He’ll likely drool heavily, make gurgling noises, dry heave, and refuse to eat. Also check the color of his gums—white or grey gums are a sign something’s wrong. If your dog displays any of these warning signs, don’t delay, take him straight to your holistic vetor emergency vet clinic.

Which dogs are most susceptible?

While there’s no way to predict if a dog will bloat in his lifetime, certain breeds are more susceptible to the condition than others. Larger, deep-chested dogs are more prone to experience bloat because of their body shape.

What can you do to prevent bloat?

There are no surefire ways to prevent bloat, but one of the best things you can do for your dog is monitor how quickly he’s eating. A dog that scarfs down a big bowl of food can more easily bloat. Check out our blog post on slow-feeding for tips on how to slow your pooch down at mealtime.

Although no clinical testing has been done, feeding moisture-rich, raw dog food with natural ingredients has been known to decrease the risks of bloat. Look for raw foods with all-naturalingredients and foods that contain no fillers, by-products or preservatives. Think about your own food consumption—you’re more likely to feel bloated after eating preservative-packed and processed foods, and the same goes for your furry friend.

Without question, the dangers of bloat should be taken seriously. But when you feed your dog a healthy, all-natural dog food and know what symptoms to watch out for, your pooch can enjoy mealtime—and you both can rest easy.