The more technical term for bloat is gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), and is when a dogs stomach (most common in large chested dogs such as Danes, Standard poodles, Shepherds, Ect) is filled with gas or fluid making the stomach expand. This causes pressure on other vital organs and is life threatening. With some cases of bloat the stomach will actually flip, or twist which is called volvulus.
So not only is bloat bad for dogs, it is deadly and life threatening. Therefore it is good to know the signs and symptoms as is comes on very fast. Here are a list of signs and symptoms to watch for:
1. Dog may seem uncomfortable, restless, and anxious (dog may even try to lay down but cannot due to discomfort)
2. Panting and drooling
3. Trying to vomit but unable to, or just flem comes out.
4. Enlarged stomach, will feel very tough and in most cases noticeably bigger.
5. Pale gums
6. Fast heart beat
In some dogs it is very clear they are bloating, but this is not always the case. It is always best to be safe then sorry. If you feel your pet is bloating, you need to get them to your vet ASAP so they can be treated. Bloat is a top killer in dogs, and should be taken seriously.
So what causes bloat?
It has not been determined the concrete reason for bloat happening, however there are many ways you can prevent it from happening. Below is a list of preventative actions you can take:
1. Feed smaller meals instead of lots of food at once
2. Limit the intake of water after eating
3. Do not use a lifted food bowl
4. Keep your pet from eating too fast
5. No activity for 30-45 minutes after eating
6. Keep your dog as stress free as possible
These are the best preventative ways you can practice daily to lower the risk of bloat. But once again, if you feel your pet is bloating, you need to get them to the vet immediately as it can kill a dog within 1 hour's time.
As a pet care professional I have witnessed a few cases of bloat in dogs while I worked at a boarding facility, as well as a Vet Tech. In some of those cases the pets had passed away for not getting treated in time. I now try to educate all my clients about bloat, what it is and how deadly it can be. I always like to ask first if they know what bloat is, and more than half have no idea what it is. Spread the word so other pet owners can know how to prevent this from happening, and keep your pets happy and healthy!