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Bloat in dogs


You know that feeling when you have some gas in your stomach? When you feel bloated?

We’ve all experienced it at least once.

However, for dogs, this is a very dangerous situation.

It’s a medical condition where the stomach gets filled with gas, causing it to expand. Therefore putting pressure on itself and other organs.

In some cases, the stomach can rotate around its own axle, this is called gastric dilation volvulus. The twist cuts the blood supply to and from the stomach. This causes your dog going into shock and is a life threatening situation.

Gastric dilation and gastric dilation volvulus are most frequently present in deep chested and large to giant dogs. Especially breeds like German Shepherds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds are prone to this condition.

For dogs who are prone to this condition, it is frequently recommended to have a prophylactic surgical procedure called “Gastropexy”.

Bloat in dogs causes

So, what causes bloat in dogs? It's kind of a mystery. Researchers have yet to discover the exact reason for this condition. However, certain actions and/or conditions are suspected to induce bloat.

The most suspected reasons are:

In some cases it is expected to be a genetic condition

Elevated feeding


Exercise immediately after a meal

Eating too much in one time

Eating too fast

Bloat in dogs symptoms

This condition usually comes quite fast, and the first warning signs come often within a few minutes.

Early signs of bloat in dogs

The dog tries to vomit, but nothing is coming out

You can see the dog is in pain

The belly looks swollen

Excessive drooling


As the situation gets worse, the following clinical signs may occur:


Difficulty breathing

The pulse in the hindlimbs cannot be detected

Increased heart rate

Very pale gums

How to help a bloated dog

Bloat requires professional help. You must go to the vet immediately.

In order to distinguish the gastric dilation from gastric dilation volvulus, the vet needs to take x-rays. If the stomach has turned, immediate surgery is required after stabilizing shock.

Unfortunately, the only other option is euthanasia.

There is no medication to cure this condition.

What should you NOT do?

Since there is nothing you can do, except from rushing to the vet, you should be informed of what not to do.

First of all, don’t try to relieve the pressure yourself. This can do more damage!

Secondly, don’t try to feed anything to the dog. No food and no water.

How to prevent bloat in dogs?

The specific cause or causes of bloat are still unknown. However, it’s suspected that elevated feeding increases the likelihood for this condition. Therefore, veterinarians recommend small meals, which are fed at ground level.

Especially bigger dog breeds are more prone to bloat.

The prophylactic surgery of gastropexy is widely recommended. It can be done together with a spay or other abdominal surgery. It can as well be done as an elective surgery.

Dog breeds prone to bloat

Generally speaking, it's the large and giant breed dog that are more prone to this condition. Dogs breeds such as Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds are known for it, so if you have a similar dog breed you should ask your vet for a consultation. 

That was it for today! 

Thank you for staying with me, I hope you've learned some useful information. 

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