Extreme bloat in dogs is a serious health concern. Sometimes the bloated stomach contorts, also commonly known as a ‘flipped stomach’ or ‘twisted stomach’. The medical term for it is actually Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV). It can cause serious harm to your pup, so it is important to know the warning signs, what to in the case of bloat and what can trigger bloat to happen in the first place.
Triggers of Bloat
When a dog eats a large meal or drinks a lot of water, his stomach expands. This expansion can put pressure on other organs nearby causing problems such as a lack of blood flow or a tear in the stomach wall. Sometimes if a dog is very active, this will cause the bloated stomach to rotate or ‘twist’, preventing enough blood to get to major organs.
Many larger breed dogs have a much higher chance of developing GDV in their lifetime, as opposed to smaller breed dogs; this is due to their deep and narrow chests. Dog breeds such as Great Danes, Boxers, German Shepherds and St. Bernards all have very high chances of having bloat at some time in their life. Dogs who have suffered from GDV, often have a much higher chance of it occurring again. Because bloat can occur if a dog eats to fast or has rigorous exercise to close to eating time, dogs who are naturally very active should be fed small meals and try to relax for a bit before going for a run. A popular tool if your dog tends to eat too fast is a ‘slow-feeder’ type bowl.
Although it is widely believed that bloat or a flipped stomach happens only to dogs who are too active after eating, there are also many cases where there was no known reason as to what caused the bloat. That is why it is important for every dog owner to know the symptoms and stages of bloat and how to handle situation.
Warning Signs of Bloat & What to Do
The symptoms of bloat typically don’t take long to appear. The dog may seem restless and start pacing. He may try to vomit but is unable to. Other typical symptoms are pale gums, drooling and rapid heartbeat. As all dogs are different, he may show only one of these symptoms or he may show many. If you notice your dog having any of these symptoms or any dramatic change in health or personality, you should always call your vet first to determine with an expert if he needs to come in. With cases of bloat, time is extremely important to the dog’s recovery.
If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, it is important to try and keep him as comfortable as possible until medical attention. Do not encourage the dog to get up and move around if he has collapsed, just make sure he is in a comfortable position. Do not try to force the dog to eat or drink as this can worsen the problem.
Once at the vet, the vet will relieve the pressure in the dog’s stomach by either a tube or a needle, depending on the severity. All cases of bloat should be seen by a vet immediately to prevent any further complications.
Bloat or GDV can be a very scary thing to deal with. It can be even scarier for your dog! That’s why we owe it to our furry best friends to know what to look out for and how to help until proper medical attention from a vet professional.