When I feel bloated, I know it's a mild annoyance that will go away in time. When a dog experiences bloat, it's not a laughing matter at all. It is extremely serious and can be life-threatening if not caught in time. It can kill your dog in as little as 30 minutes. Cancer is the leading cause of death for dogs; bloat is the second.
The scientific term is Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus. What happens is that a combination of air, food or water can't leave the stomach because it's hard for a dog to burp out excess air. Everyone can burp but not all dogs can do this. If there is a buildup of this air, the stomach of the dog can twist on itself. The twisting of the stomach is the voluvus part. The air continues to fill the stomach and will press against the dog's organs.
I hope that any of you guys have not had a dog you've seen go through this. Still, it never hurts to be one step ahead by being aware.
Bloat has a tendency to be more prominent in larger breed dogs such as the Great Dane and St. Bernard. Still, a dog as small as a Basset Hound can be predisposed to it as well. It seems to hit dogs with a deep barreled chest most frequently. If you would like to see a chart of which breeds are most susceptible, check out this page.
The biggest sign that your dog has bloat is a swelling in their stomach. You will notice they are not themselves and seem depressed, or tired. They may also try to vomit where nothing comes up. Once a dog suffers their stomach twisting once, it's very likely that it will twist again.
This is a condition that there is no way to prevent bloat 100% but you can take some precautions such as:
1. Feed your dog two or three times a day. The frequency will decrease the chance of your dog's stomach stretching as much.
2. If your dog is a fast eater, turn the dog bowl upside down so your dog will be forced to eat more slowly because the food will be harder to grab.
3. Don't exercise your dog until 2 hours after a meal. It will have given the dog time to digest their food.
Since you can't predict that your dog will get this or not, all you can do is be cautious. If by chance, he does exhibit any of the above symptoms, call your vet IMMEDIATELY!
As always, if you have anything to add, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Have a great night Kool ones!