is a very serious health risk for many dogs, yet
many dog owners know very little about it. According
to the links below, it is the second leading killer
of dogs, after cancer. It is frequently reported
that deep-chested dogs, such as German Shepherds,
Great Danes, and Dobermans are particularly at risk.
This page provides links to information on bloat
and summarizes some of the key points we found in
the sites we researched. Although we have summarized
information we found about possible symptoms, causes,
methods of prevention, and breeds at risk, we cannot
attest to the accuracy. Please consult with your
veterinarian for medical information.
you believe your dog is experiencing bloat, please
get your dog to a veterinarian immediately! Bloat
can kill in less than an hour, so time is of the
essence. Notify your vet to alert them you're on
your way with a suspected bloat case. Better to
be safe than sorry!
technical name for bloat is "Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus"
("GDV"). Bloating of the stomach is often
related to swallowed air (although food and fluid
can also be present). It usually happens when there's
an abnormal accumulation of air, fluid, and/or foam
in the stomach ("gastric dilatation").
Stress can be a significant contributing factor
also. Bloat can occur with or without "volvulus"
(twisting). As the stomach swells, it may rotate
90° to 360°, twisting between its fixed
attachments at the esophagus (food tube) and at
the duodenum (the upper intestine). The twisting
stomach traps air, food, and water in the stomach.
The bloated stomach obstructs veins in the abdomen,
leading to low blood pressure, shock, and damage
to internal organs. The combined effect can quickly
kill a dog.
prepared! Know in advance what you would do if your
If your regular vet doesn't have 24-hour emergency
service, know which nearby vet you would use. Keep
the phone number handy.
Always keep a product with simethicone on hand (e.g.,
Mylanta Gas (not regular Mylanta), Gas-X, etc.)
in case your dog has gas. If you can reduce or slow
the gas, you've probably bought yourself a little
more time to get to a vet if your dog is bloating.
information is not intended to replace advice or
guidance from veterinarians or other pet care professionals.
It is simply being shared as an aid to assist you
with your own research on this very serious problem.
Typical symptoms often include some (but not necessarily
all) of the following, according to the links
below. Unfortunately, from the onset of the first
symptoms you have very little time (sometimes
minutes, sometimes hours) to get immediate medical
attention for your dog. Know your dog and know
when it's not acting right.
Attempts to vomit (usually unsuccessful); may occur
every 5-30 minutes This seems to be one of the most
common symptoms & has been referred to as the
"Unsuccessful vomiting" means either nothing
comes up or possibly just foam and/or mucous comes
Doesn't act like usual self Perhaps the earliest
warning sign and may be the only sign that almost
We've had several reports that dogs who bloated
asked to go outside in the middle of the night.
If this is combined with frequent attempts to vomit,
and if your dog doesn't typically ask to go outside
in the middle of the night, bloat is a very real
Significant anxiety and restlessness
One of the earliest warning signs and seems fairly
"Hunched up" or "roached up"
This seems to occur fairly frequently
Lack of normal gurgling and digestive sounds in
the tummy Many dog owners report this after putting
their ear to their dog's tummy.
If your dog shows any bloat symptoms, you may want
to try this immediately.
Bloated abdomen that may feel tight (like a drum)
Despite the term "bloat," many times this
symptom never occurs or is not apparent
Pale or off-color gums
Dark red in early stages, white or blue in later
Heavy salivating or drooling
Foamy mucous around the lips, or vomiting foamy
Unproductive attempts to defecate
Licking the air
Seeking a hiding place
Looking at their side or other evidence of abdominal
pain or discomfort
May refuse to lie down or even sit down
May stand spread-legged
May curl up in a ball or go into a praying or crouched
May attempt to eat small stones and twigs
Heavy or rapid panting
Cold mouth membranes
Apparent weakness; unable to stand or has a spread-legged
Especially in advanced stage
Heart rate increases as bloating progresses
to the links below, it is thought that the following
may be the primary contributors to bloat. To calculate
a dog's lifetime risk of bloat according to Purdue
University's School of Veterinary Medicine, click
Stress Dog shows, mating, whelping, boarding, change
in routine, new dog in household, etc.
Although purely anecdotal, we've heard of too many
cases where a dog bloated after a 3rd dog was brought
into the household (perhaps due to stress regarding
Activities that result in gulping air
Eating habits, especially... Elevated food bowls
Eating dry foods that contain citric acid as a preservative
(the risk is even worse if the owner moistens the
Eating dry foods that contain fat among the first
Insufficient Trypsin (a pancreatic enzyme present
Dilution of gastric juices necessary for complete
digestion by drinking too much water before or after
Eating gas-producing foods (especially soybean products,
brewer's yeast, and alfalfa)
Drinking too much water too quickly (can cause gulping
Exercise before and especially after eating
Heredity (especially having a first-degree relative
who has bloated)
Build & Physical Characteristics Having a deep
and narrow chest compared to other dogs of the same
Disposition Fearful or anxious temperament
Prone to stress
History of aggression toward other dogs or people
Some of the advice in the links below for reducing
the chances of bloat are:
Avoid highly stressful situations. If you can't
avoid them, try to minimize the stress as much as
possible. Be extra watchful.
Can be brought on by dog shows, mating, whelping,
boarding, new dog in household, change in routine,
Do not use an elevated food bowl
Do not exercise for at least an hour (longer if
possible) before and especially after eating
Particularly avoid vigorous exercise and don't permit
your dog to roll over, which could cause the stomach
Do not permit rapid eating
Feed 2 or 3 meals daily, instead of just one
Do not give water one hour before or after a meal
It dilutes the gastric juices necessary for proper
digestion, which leads to gas production.
Always keep a product with simethicone (e.g., Mylanta
Gas (not regular Mylanta), Phazyme, Gas-X, etc.)
on hand to treat gas symptoms.
Some recommend giving your dog simethicone immediately
if your dog burps more than once or shows other
signs of gas.
Some report relief of gas symptoms with 1/2 tsp
of nutmeg or the homeopathic remedy Nux moschata
Allow access to fresh water at all times, except
before and after meals
Make meals a peaceful, stress-free time
When switching dog food, do so gradually (allow
Do not feed dry food exclusively
Feed a high-protein (>30%) diet, particularly
of raw meat
If feeding dry food, avoid foods that contain fat
as one of the first four ingredients
If feeding dry foods, avoid foods that contain citric
If you must use a dry food containing citric acid,
do not pre-moisten the food
If feeding dry food, select one that includes rendered
meat meal with bone product among the first four
Reduce carbohydrates as much as possible (e.g.,
typical in many commercial dog biscuits)
Feed a high-quality diet
Whole, unprocessed foods are especially beneficial
Feed adequate amount of fiber (for commercial dog
food, at least 3.00% crude fiber)
Add an enzyme product to food (e.g., Prozyme)
Include herbs specially mixed for pets that reduce
gas (e.g., N.R. Special Blend)
Avoid brewer's yeast, alfalfa, and soybean products
Promote an acidic environment in the intestine
Some recommend 1-2 Tbs of Aloe Vera Gel or 1 Tbs
of apple cider vinegar given right after each meal
Promote "friendly" bacteria in the intestine,
e.g. from yogurt or supplemental acidophilus
Avoids fermentation of carbohydrates, which can
cause gas quickly. This is especially a concern
when antibiotics are given since they tend to reduce
levels of "friendly" bacteria.
Don't permit excessive, rapid drinking
Especially a consideration on hot days
perhaps most importantly, know your dog well so
you'll know when your dog just isn't acting normally.
Breeds At Greatest Risk
Breeds most at risk according to the links below:
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bouvier des Flandres
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
English Springer Spaniel
German Shorthaired Pointer
Old English Sheepdog
written by GlobalSpan.net using the references above.
Although we have summarized information we found
from the links, we cannot attest to the accuracy.
Please consult with your veterinarian for medical
We have a deep-chested dog who has never experienced
bloat. We hope he never will. Feel free to share
this link with any who might benefit.Dogsitter
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