Bloating is not a thing to be taken lightly in dogs. It can be painful and dangerous, even fatal in the extreme case. If your dog is bloated, you should keep a close eye on him and contact the vet promptly if anything out of the ordinary becomes apparent. This article is a guide to the condition – it is always good to know what to expect, just in case.
Also Read: The causes of your dog’s upset stomach
Table of Contents
What Exactly is Bloating?
Everyone has experienced bloating in their lives. You find yourself completely at the mercy of temptation to a dessert or pint of lager too far, and the next thing you know you’re waddling to extricate yourself from jeans which have suddenly become a size too small for you. The term encapsulates the general condition of temporary stomach ballooning, which commonly points to an abdomen filled with food, fluid or air.
When it comes to our beloved dogs, bloating can be similarly harmless. A bloated canine stomach can sometimes lead to something life-threatening, and often tremendously painful. Thus, do take precaution if your dog has a distended stomach. It is advisable to consult a veterinarian as soon as you start to feel concerned.
Which Breeds Are Susceptible?
Bloating is known to be especially prevalent in particular breeds. These typically include deep but slim chested dogs, such as Great Danes and German Shepherds. The condition is not limited to such genetically predisposed breeds, though, so vigilance is essential for all forms of pooch. Dogs of this type who are lively in spirit should be monitored carefully. Make sure to feed them to a degree appropriate to their size.
If your dog is still acting normal, it may just be the case that he might have eaten too much too fast, and will work itself out. Even if you are not too concerned, you should still keep a close eye on him to see if his condition deteriorates.
A bloating problem may soon become evident in the behavior he displays. He may become lethargic and easily agitated if the problem persists. Furthermore, bloated dogs are apt to vomit, or attempt to, and pant heavily. If you recognize any of these symptoms do not delay in contacting the vet.
There are two other prevalent conditions which are often synonymous with bloating. They are, however, different in nature and are characteristic of different outcomes. One thing they do have in common is that they can all be fatal. Be sure to show an equal degree of attention to your dog, independently from which of these three conditions presents itself.
1. Torsion. Similar to the term ‘bloating’, torsion describes a the less general case where distention is the result of a twisted stomach at either (or both) of its extremities. If the vet says that your dog’s bloating is the effect of torsion, it means that this twisting has partially obstructed the essential passageways for food, fluid or gas.
2. Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus. The most dangerous situation will involve GDV. It describes a deadly concoction of both bloating and torsion, where both ends of the stomach are twisted to imprison an overabundance of ingesta. In this case, the dog’s stomach will prove an unsurpassed impediment to any incoming or outgoing traffic.
Early recognition is paramount to the safety of your dog if you suspect it to be suffering from GDV. If quick and forceful measures are not taken to treat the condition, a disruption to blood flow will ensue, resulting in a myriad of possible implications. If, on the other hand, you are prompt in recognition and action, the likelihood is that your dog will not sustain any lasting damage. After an incidence of GDV, the chance of a re-occurrence is pretty high. It may therefore be preferable to organize preventive surgery, details of which are given below.
Causes and Precautions
Additionally, bloating can be the result of a parasitic infection, a tumor in the abdomen, or Organomegaly – an enlargement of internal organs which is out of the ordinary. There are some pointers which can help you eliminate some risk. These will likely be more important to owners of the type of breed mentioned above, but, as mentioned, bloating can occur in any breed and can be fatal.
Firstly, be cautious about your dog’s feeding routine. Rearrange his meals so that they are spread out over smaller portions at intermittent periods, rather than feeding him one big lump of food and hoping that it will do him for a long time. Likewise, try to discourage him from gulping down vast amounts of water after meals or exercise. This will increase the intake of air (as will gulping down food).
Restricting exercise time to well after a meal will also reduce the possibility. As will eliminating low grains, such as wheat and rice, and other such carbohydrates from your pooch’s diet. Less obvious precautions comprise of reducing levels of doggy stress and not raising the level of your dog’s food and water bowls. Stress is more assuredly thought to be directly linked to gastronomical health, whilst raising the level of his bowl has recently been hypothesized to contribute the chance of bloating, contrary to previous belief.
Owners of high-risk breeds may even consider precautionary surgery in the form of a prophylactic gastroplexy, a procedure undertaken in order to attach the stomach lining to the abdomen.
Bloating can also be indicative of liver disease, which can cause adjustments in circulation in the abdomen, resulting in unwanted fluid accumulation. Look out for other symptoms if you are worried, these include: jaundice, loss of appetite, chronic weight loss, orange urine, unusually frequent urination, bleeding problems and pain in the abdomen.
Whatever the cause of your dog’s bloating, it’s important to observe and stay cautious. If there are any signs whatsoever of danger, you should contact your vet straight away.