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Bloat in Dogs

Bloat in Dogs – Recovery Symptoms Causes Treatment & Prevention Info

Bloat in dogs is a serious health condition. In this article we will discuss the symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention of bloat in dogs.

What is Bloat in dogs?

The technical, veterinary name for bloat is Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, or GDV. In bloat, a dogs belly expands or swells in response to a large amount of gas, fluid or foam that has collected there. The cause of this swelling is not really known, although it has been seen to happen after large meals. It also can occur when a dog drinks a large amount of water after exercise. The swelling in itself is not life-threatening, but it can lead to your dog’s stomach becoming twisted, at which point it is a life-or-death emergency, and requires immediate veterinary help. Bloat in dogs is the second largest cause of death in dogs, after cancer.

Symptoms of Bloat in Dogs

This first symptom of bloat in dogs is swelling in the belly and obvious discomfort. Your dog may try to vomit or belch without success, and may drool. You’ll be able to tell he is not feeling well, as he may be restless and pace back and forth. His obviously swollen belly may feel like a drum; hard and hollow sounding if tapped. Occasionally the belly is not overly swollen, but will feel hard.

If your dog should show these symptoms, it is highly recommended to seek immediate veterinary care. There are emergency veterinary clinics in most cities that are open 24 hours. If not, a call to your vet’s office should provide you with an emergency number.

Bloat happens very quickly, and can progress very quickly. Urgent veterinary care can mean the difference between your dog getting better, or your dog dying. Don’t take any chances.

Will My Dog Recover From Bloat?

The earliest possible treatment is crucial in whether or not your dog will survive an episode of Bloat. Statistics show that about 50% of dogs who develop the condition will die from bloat. The earlier you can get your dog to the vet, the better chance he will have of surviving this serious condition.

Is Bloat in Dogs More Common in Certain Breeds?

Yes. Bloat is more common in the larger, more deep-chested dog breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers and any type of Setter.  BUT – bloat can occur in ANY breed of dog, both purebred and mixed breed. Bloat can occur in any size of dog, not just the big breeds. If your dog shows signs of bloat as discussed above, get them to the vet without delay.

Can Bloat in Dogs Be Prevented?

Yes, there are things you can do to lessen the chances of bloat occurring in your dog.

1. Feed your dog 2 or 3 smaller meals throughout the day, rather than 1 large meal. Hungry dogs like to “wolf down” their food. Try to avoid this.

2. Restrict water and food intake before and after exercise.  Wait an hour after your dog eats to take him for a walk or run. Do not allow your dog to eat or  gulp a lot of water for 60 minutes after exercising. Give him just enough to quench his thirst.

3. Do not allow your dog to drink a large amount of water after a meal. Again, give your dog just enough to quench his thirst.

Additional Online Resources About Bloat in Dogs

  • offers a good online resource about bloat in dogs, including lots of links.
  • has a very good article that discusses dog bloat in detail.



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