You feel bloated when you consume large quantities of meals. Similarly, when you eat a massive amount of food, you also swallow a significant amount of air. To humans, feeling bloated is very uncomfortable, but this inconvenience is our own making.
However, bloating in dogs is very different, and it can cause some serious problems and dangerous medical conditions.
You may have heard about feeding your dog with raised bowls to prevent bloating. Some people even add water to the dog’s kibble, these are some standard prevention methods that are used to stop bloating.
But it can turn out to be a disaster for you, trying all these methods can increase the dog’s risk of bloating.
Bloat can be a severe problem, and also, it is fatal. One must know how to prevent bloat in dogs. Also, you should know how to stop the life-threatening condition when it happens to your dog. Read on to know how to prevent bloat in dogs!
What is Bloat in Dogs?
The clinical name of bloat in dogs is called gastric dilatation-volvulus or GDV. The word volvulus has been migrated from the Latin word volvere, which means twist.
GDV risk factors increase when your dog’s stomach fills with tons of gas and twists. The twist in dogs can cross any margin ranging from 180 to full 360 degrees.
In a twisted stomach, both ends close, which blocks the entry and exit. The air can get out, but the opening is also blocked for food and fluids. So, the air built up in your dog’s belly does not get out.
Due to a stomach twist, when the food or the air cannot get out of your dog’s belly, its belly will start bloating. The pressure will increase more on the diaphragm, causing hard for him to breathe.
Due to the pressure created inside your dog’s belly, the return blood flood to the heart also stops, and your dog may face shocks.
This process can take only 15-20 minutes, so it is crucial to act fast. GDV can be deadly if you do not take any immediate action.
Breeds Prone to Bloating
Large breeds with deep chests are at increased risk of developing bloat. Having a large breed, you have to be more careful about your dog’s bloat signs and symptoms.
If any other dog from your dog’s family history had the symptoms of GDV, then it is probable that your dog will also face GDV risk. So, you must be sure about your dog’s family history from the dog’s breeder.
Bloating can happen at any time to breed or of any size. Let us check the breeds that are at increased risk of bloating. However, if your dog is not a large breed and is not on the list of breeds prone to GDV, you should not feel safe.
Old English Sheepdogs
Several Causes of Bloat in Dogs:
When dogs suffer from mild cases of bloating, their causes are much similar to humans. If any dog overeats and quickly, then the dog can develop bloat. It also goes the same with the rapid consumption of water.
Moreover, if your dog does any heavy exercise right after eating, the dog’s chances of bloating remain high. It is a high-potential path for a bloated dog.
Apart from this, a bloated dog with a twisted stomach is far more dangerous and unpredictable.
However, the reason for stomach twists and denying of liquid, air, and food is still unclear. Every breed of dog has the potential to fall prey to a twisted stomach and GDV.
But giant breed dogs and small dogs with deep and narrow chest cavities can frequently suffer from bloating. Even older dogs have bloating symptoms.
a) Poor Diet
Feeding kibble to your dog can cause bloating. It can be due to high starch diets. It can also cause bloating due to high starch diets. Also, a lack of fresh, raw foods can be a reason for dog bloat. As pet parents, you should not include your food in your dog’s diet.
Diets that include soy and cereal and a low amount of animal protein can lead to bloat in dogs. Dry food, which includes fats in the first four ingredients, can increase the chances of GDV by 170% in dogs.
b) Large Breeds Risk Factors
Large breeds which are not giant can have GDV risk due to
Moistening the dry food
Living in a rural area
Aggression to people
Not drinking water before and after eating
Dogs with submissive natures are at lower risk of dog bloat.
c) Giant Breed Risk Factors
Giant breed dogs, which are not large, can have worse GDV risk factors.
Living in city
Distended belly right after a meal
Raised food bowl
Chronic medical problems
If your dog has reduced the risk factors of GDV, then you may see your dog with:
high level of activity
high level of happiness
fast eating time
All dogs suffer from chronic stress, if your dog experiences more than eight hours of stress, then the dog’s risk of bloating increases. Stressful events can include:
A pet sitter or any stranger visits the house
As pet parents, you have to keep these factors in mind and keep your dog out of these events to prevent bloat.
Symptoms of Bloated Dog
Bloat in dogs symptoms can range from an abnormally distended stomach to strange, relentless, aimless walking or behaving around. Since the blood supply gets stopped, the effects are far more dangerous than for humans.
A dog’s stomach gets locked up from all sides, and you may see your dog vomit without any positive results. When the bloat in dogs changes into GDV, it can turn it inactive or broody.
As time passes, dogs’ bloat will worsen, and their heart will start speeding up, with their gums turning pale. You will also see that your dog is not moving, accompanied by heavy breathing.
If you face any combination of these symptoms, you should rush for a medical emergency. Some of the common symptoms of larger dogs’ bloat include:
Agitation accompanied by whining, pacing, or panting
Shaking or shivering
Bloated abdominal wall
Loss of consciousness
Bloat in dogs starts right after your dog eats. So, keep your dog in check with both meal and bloating issues.
Treatment in Dogs With Bloating:
The treatment in bloating dogs with GDV is a higher risk to their life, which is excruciating. Medical intervention is very much essential to avoid bloat in dogs.
In the worst cases, a veteran surgeon has to work on restoring the proper function of the stomach and its entry and exit point with surgical procedures.
However, even after the surgery gets successful, there is a chance that the dog may develop several GDV cases. So, in such cases, a surgical procedure called gastropexy is performed to reduce the reoccurrence of GDV cases.
It is a preventive surgery that includes pinning the stomach to the abdomen wall so that the dog’s stomach does not get twisted again.
Some dog owners with high-risk breeds think of getting their dogs a preemptive gastropexy surgery to avoid a twisted stomach altogether.
Most vets may suggest additional preventive surgery, keeping your dog under anesthesia. Though GDV treatment can be dangerous, it can have some complications.
Low blood pressure
Having Aspiration pneumonia due to vomiting or postoperative regurgitation
Perforation and gastric necrosis for five to six days after the surgery
Leakage of cellulitis or peritonitis from stomach contents
Low blood circulation
Inflammatory responses awakened by some other factors
Lung injury due to the filling of fluids in the lungs
The last four complications after surgery can be a severe problem and may even reduce the chances of your dog’s survival. Your dog may need to be put under a ventilator or supplemental oxygen in these cases.
Even after doing gastropexy, it will not stop your dog from bloating. It will only help your dog to stop the twisting stomach.
However, bloating is a serious issue, and you have to stop your dog from bloating in the first place to avoid the surgeries. So, before taking your dog for surgery, be sure to rethink it since there can be several serious complications.
Can Dog’s Bloating Be Prevented at the Very First Place?
Apart from the risky surgeries for preventing bloating in dogs, you can try other methods to prevent bloating and possibly stop it from developing into GDV.
The foremost and most straightforward approach for preventing bloat in dogs is giving your dog small meals. It would be best to keep your dog’s food and water dishes on the floor.
When dogs crane their neck lower to the ground, they have fewer chances of getting affected by bloating. Since, in this process, they will consume less air while consuming their meal.
Another easy method to avoid bloating in dogs is to separate the human food bowl and table scraps from the dog’s food bowl.
Typically foods rich in carbohydrates produce more gas, which can later be a significant cause of bloating and the development of GDV.
Bloat in dogs of any breed, be it large breed dogs or small, along with a twisted stomach, is a severe condition and can be uncomfortable for your dog.
So, as pet parents, you must check your dog’s diet and what exercise they do both before and after the meal.
What to Do?
Giant breeds suffering from bloat or GDV is an emergency since it can happen suddenly. Some clinical signs stay for more than six hours, and they can increase the chances of death of your dog from GDV. So, if you suspect bloat, rush for preventive surgery and preventative gastropexy help.
Also, when not sure about bloat risk, call your veteran surgeon on the way, and go to the vet clinic. To prevent GDV, you can give your dog some homeopathic remedies, so he may not develop GDV and increase other risk factors.
Homeopathic Remedies to Stop Bloat in Dogs
Though you give your dog some homeopathic remedies, you should not be late to arrive at the vet. Even if he does, then you will be at the right place.
Dogs need to be given the remedies after every 15 minutes. It can help your dog relieve the bloat, which will decrease the need for a medical emergency when you reach a vet.
1. Carbo Vegetabilis
It is one of the most common remedies used for bloat in dogs. If your dog has a lot of gas, then prefer giving this homeopathic remedy to your dog.
The dog’s abdomen will be bloated and weak, he may be cramping with pain and cold breath or a cold muzzle. Dogs feel better with fresh air, so get them in the open or fan them.
Bloat typically happens due to eating large meals and decadent or decayed food. Even if the food has much starch, your dog may develop GDV.
2. Nux Vomica
During bloat in dogs, they suffer from cramps and vomit repeatedly. Even your dog may try to vomit but can be unsuccessful since the wall gets blocked, and nothing can go in or out.
When your dog is stretching a lot or has cold paws, you can give him this remedy to make him feel better. Tip some pellets into his cheek, and apply them every 15 minutes. Dogs generally feel good with warm drinks during bloats.
In vets, they will prioritize your dog with:
Blood supply restoration. They will do it from the catheter and cranial veins of your dog.
With a gastric tube, surgeons will decompress the dog’s stomach. The surgeons will insert it from the mouth or nose of your dog after the dog has been sedated for this procedure.
Dilation of GDV from X-rays.
The vets will give your dog anesthesia to correct the volvulus or twisting.
How to Prevent Bloat in Dogs?
Preventing is always a better option than curing disease and disorder. When it comes to your pet, you should be more cautious about its health. Since you must keep your pet in check, give your dog a healthy lifestyle, and help your dog stay longer.
Bloating may not be a severe condition for humans, but it is painful for dogs, so you must help your dog prevent bloat. Let us check how you can prevent bloating in dogs.
1. Fresh Diet
The dog’s digestive tract is well suited for meat but not grains and starches. Processed foods like kibble, which contains a lot of starch and carbohydrates, are useless for your dogs. It can even harm your dog’s digestive system.
Also, it has a substantial probability of increasing the chances of bloat in dogs. It would help if you always fed your dog fresh and whole food and a raw meat-based diet.
Kibble also has citric acids, increasing the bloat risk by 320%. The percentage can rise higher if you moisten it right before feeding your dog.
To prevent dog bloat, you should add a raw diet to your dog’s meal. However, if serving raw food to your dog is not possible, you can choose some food with low starch content.
Dehydrated or air-dried food
Home-cooked diet for dogs
Freeze-dried raw food
2. Giving Bones to Your Dog
Including raw bones in your dog’s raw diet is essential. It provides essential nutrients which can strengthen your dog’s teeth. Moreover, serving your dog with bones can prevent bloat in dogs.
Good bones can even strengthen stomach muscles which further improves the digestive power of your dog. So, it would be best to give your dog some raw bones to eat since it can even avoid the building up of gases in the dog’s stomach and stop stomach fills.
Chewing relieves stress for your dogs. Adding some recreational bones to let your dog chew can be a great option. Purchase some recreational bones for your dog, and serve them to them.
3. Stop Giving Raised Bowls
Raised bowls are highly responsible for the bloat in dogs’ risk factors. Back then, vets recommended that dog owners give raised bowls to their large and lean dogs like Great Danes.
However, later they changed it, and vets recommended not to give raised bowls to their dogs since it increases the risk of bloat in dogs. Also, bloat is directly linked with Gastric Dilatation Volvulus.
You can cross-check that dogs eat their food from the ground in wildlife. There is no one to log their food at some height.
So, you should also do the same. Give your dog small meals, but let your dog have the meal by bending down and not upwards. It decreases the intake of air. It is also a natural pose for your dog to have a meal.
Also, it would be best if you avoid giving your pet dog large meals. Especially fearful dogs or lean dogs like German shepherds, if they eat much, and their stomach fills, it can cause a severe problem for your pet. The blood flow will be disturbed, and bloating risk will be increased.
4. Set Exercise Timing
Like us human beings, even dogs require exercise and strength training. However, their type and amount of exercise depend on your dog’s breed. Most dogs need some daily activities to keep their mental and physical health in good condition. But, exercise timing is very crucial for your dog.
You may remember not to run and jump right after you eat. You should apply the same to your dog for doing exercise to prevent bloat in dogs.
Do not make your dog do any exercise right after eating or drinking. It would be best not to indulge your dog in-game playing since it can increase the risk of bloating. It also includes wrestling, tug of war, and other sports like high jump and long jump.
After eating, when your dog’s stomach fills, your dog must flip and twist.
5. Avoid Letting Your Dog Stress
Make sure not to let your dog fall under any stress. Any situation which causes your dog stress can be dangerous for the dog’s health. Try to simplify your dog’s situation, minimize the stress percentage, and pull your dog out of it. You can give your dog an evening walk to help him relax.
Remember that dogs’ feelings are directly linked to their owner’s feelings. So, you should also not be under stress, or else it will affect your dog’s mind.
Preventing bloating in dogs is essential since, in extreme conditions, your dog may have to take emergency surgery and other procedure called gastropexy.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you feel if a dog has bloat?
Their tummies may appear bloated at times, but not always, as well as they may react uncomfortably to pressure on their left side. It’s normal for dogs to exhibit regular, ineffective retching as if they’re attempting to puke but can’t.
2. Will dogs with bloat poop?
In most cases, a dog suffering from bloat will be unable to poop. In the event they do, it will be a little amount of signalling diarrhea.
3. How do you clear a bloated dog?
Dogs are typically hospitalized to get massive volumes of intravenous fluids and, on occasion, medicine.
When you get yourself a pet dog, make sure you learn how to prevent bloat in dogs since your dog will face this condition several times. Though the dog bloating depends totally on how you treat your dog.
Do not mistake that your dog is not one from the giant breed group, so bloating will not affect your dog. This condition can happen to every dog.
Taking your dog out to a walk-in dog park can be excellent. It will let your dog interact with other dogs and help your dog keep its mental and physical health in good condition.
Also, you must take pet insurance for your dog. Treatment for both humans and animals is expensive, so insurance will help you deal with your dog’s treatment expenditures.