Life Threating Condition in Dogs. Know the Signs

GDV (Gastric dilatation-volvulus) also known as bloat, stomach torsion or twisted stomach, is not commonly recognized by pet owners but is very dangerous and can be deadly if not treated right away. Before getting into the pet sitting business, I had not heard of bloat in dogs let alone knew that it could be life threatening. Not too long ago, a fellow pet sitter wrote a heartbreaking post in a pet sitting Facebook group about a 7 years old English Bulldog client who died of bloat. When she left him after her last evening visit he was fine; however, the family came home later in the evening and observed the dog taking a large drink of water and panting and pacing. Unfortunately the owners were not aware of bloat and its signs and before they could take their dog to the vet, he passed away.

Bloat Bloat imagewhich is a rapid accumulation of gas in the stomach is often seen in large, giant breeds and deep chested breeds (deep chested are those that when viewed from the side, their chest cavity is significantly longer from spine to sternum when compared to the width of the chest cavity viewed from the front). These breeds include Great Danes, standard Poodles, Doberman Pinschers, Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Dachshunds, Rottweilers and many more. Bloat can be caused by excessive and/or eating or drinking too often, often doing so too close to exercise. Age, gender, diet and genetics also play a role.

There are many signs to look for in a dog if you think they are experiencing bloat. The most obvious signs are abdominal distention (swollen belly) and nonproductive vomiting (dog appears to be
vomiting, but nothing comes up) and pacing or restlessness. Other signs include labored or rapid shallow breathing, whining, pale gums, vomiting saliva, lethargy and excessive drooling. If you notice any of these signs, it is extremely important to get the dog to a vet immediately. Remember do not administer any medication prior to consulting with a veterinarian.

Some ways to prevent bloat include:
• Large dogs should be fed two or three times daily, rather than once a day.
• Water should be available at all times, but should be limited immediately after feeding and exercising.
• Vigorous exercise, excitement, and stress should be avoided one hour before and two hours after meals.
• Diet changes should be made gradually over a period of three to five days.
• Susceptible dogs should be fed individually and, if possible in a quiet, stress free location.

To learn more about symptoms and prevention, consult your veterinarian.

Also, a good article to read is

Happy Paws & Pet Pals LLC
Your pets, happy at home!
Pet Sitting & Dog Walking in Indian Trail, NC and Nearby Towns

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  1. Jerry koons says:

    Great article did not know about limiting water consumption before and after meals i think 2 hrs is a bit extreme as far as exercising them.

    • Victoria Blackwell says:

      Thank you for your input. It is just a suggested guideline to go by; though probably a good idea to wait that long before any real vigorous exercise for many of these at risk breeds. Better err on the side of caution.

  2. I didn’t realize dachshunds were also at risk, I thought this was just a large dog problem. Many of my friends have lost dogs to bloat, so devastating because it can happen to the young ones, too. Great post!

    • Victoria Blackwell says:

      Thank you for your comment. So sad that your friends have lost dogs to bloat. Hopefully knowing the signs will help us spot these signs and get help before it is to late.

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