Dogs are creatures of habit, once both a pet owner and a dog established a schedule. The dog will stick to it unless there are medical concerns or external circumstances that will prevent it. And that fact applies to the dog’s bowel movement. When your dog stops pooping for several days, there might be some problems on the dog’s body, one of which is bloating.
Bloated dogs won’t be able to fart, belch and poop. This condition is medically termed Stomach Torsion or Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV). It is a life-threatening condition due to the dog’s inability to discharge waste from its body.
What Is Dog Bloating?
A condition wherein gas inside the dog’s body won’t come out. It is trapped in the digestive system and as a result, your dog can’t poop, fart or belch. This is a medical condition that every dog owner should be concerned about because if left untreated it will cut the blood supply of your dog.
Because the gas inside can’t escape, the air will create pressure on the dog’s body that will result in a dog being swollen or tight on the stomach area. Maybe you’ll think that your dog is full because of the food but a bloated dog will have its stomach bloated all the time until it is treated.
Bloating starts with Gastric Dilatation, your dog will have a distended stomach because of the air but because of the food and water as well.
However, when the twisting of the stomach starts it is called Gastric Volvulus and it blocks the entry and the exit of the food and air of the body. The gastric juices inside the stomach will trap more air, leaving your dog a swollen stomach that will affect body parts inside the body.
How Can You Tell Your Dog Is Bloated?
Aside from the tight and bloated stomach, your dog will show symptoms that they are already in the early stage of Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus.
It is one of the signs in which your dog will try to vomit but nothing is coming out. Your dog might be having heavy or shorter breaths and faster or rapid ones than its usual breathing.
Bloat in dogs will create discomfort that will cause restlessness on your dog’s end. The dog can’t stay in one place because it will constantly find positions to aid the discomfort that they’ve felt. It will make your dog weak because they can’t properly rest.
In addition, your dog will be in great distress because of abdominal pain. What you have to do when your dog is faced with this situation is to consult a doctor immediately so that the bloating won’t affect blood flow.
3. Difficulty in Breathing
You will find your dog panting because it’s difficult to breathe when your dog is bloating. The gas inside the dog’s body will create pressure that will eventually affect the dog’s lungs. Furthermore, there will be metabolic abnormalities that will cause rapid breathing making it difficult for your pooch to breathe.
4. Hard Tight Stomach
As mentioned above, your dog will have a swollen stomach. However, for some dogs, it won’t be noticeable because they have a longer chest. So for you to check if your dog is bloated, you have to touch and feel its stomach. If you found out that it is hard and tight then most likely your dog is bloated especially if they are not full from food.
Due to painful conditions, your dog will drool and if this happens then you have to immediately call the vet’s emergency number and inform them of your arrival.
How To Treat a Bloated Dog To Eliminate Waste on Its Body?
Bloating is an emergency condition that needs the veterinarian’s attention immediately. There shouldn’t be a time wherein a pet owner will try to resolve the health issue at home. No DIY remedies can cure bloating and the following solutions should be followed to ensure fast recovery for your dog.
1.Go to Veterinary Hospital
The best thing to do after figuring out that your dog is bloating is to immediately drive your dog to a Veterinary Hospital. Only veterinarians can help aid your dog as they will do some tests, EKG, X-ray, and blood measurement to see in which stage of bloating your dog is currently experiencing.
Stage 1: Gastric Dilation
Stage 2: Stomach Torsion
Stage 3: Volvulus
If you already figure out the signs of bloat on your dog then don’t wait for tomorrow. Send them right away to the emergency veterinarian for further check-up and solutions.
When your dog is in the early stage of bloating then there will be no need for surgery but if the condition is already at its worst then your dog will be needing surgery.
2. Emergency Surgery
The worst case of bloating is when the stomach twists and affects other internal organs of the dog’s body such as the pancreas and spleen. Aside from preventing your dog from pooping and excreting internal gases from the body, bloating can also cause the blood flow to stop on the digestive area of the dog’s body.
Surgery is needed to repair the dog’s stomach and to release all the stuck-up gas on the dog’s stomach. Furthermore, the veterinarian might as well conduct a gastropexy procedure wherein the dog’s stomach will tack to the abdominal wall to prevent the stomach from twisting again. Although, this does not prevent a bloating incident from happening again in the future.
Surgeries on dogs are a complicated thing because you have to prevent your dog from touching, scratching, or licking the wound thus you need a comfortable dog collar for your dog.
Type of Foods That Causes Bloat on Dogs
The occurrence of bloat happens when your dog intakes too much air either from eating or from exercising. That is why you have to be careful about the type of food you are feeding your dog.
Tons of research was conducted to identify solutions and to prevent bloating from happening to your dog. One research shows that when a dog was fed with dry food with fat, the dog is more prone to Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus by 170%. The study consists of 300 dogs, 106 of which are the bloating sufferers, and the results were concluded that the bloating increased because of the dry food with fat.
Another type of food that you should watch in your dog is dry food that is moistened by citric acid, studies have shown that it will increase bloating by 320%. However, the case is for citric acid alone, moistening dry food with water will not cause any bloating.
Furthermore, bloating also depends on how many times you feed your dog because there are tendencies that your dog will bloat if they only have one large meal in a day. To prevent bloating, divide the meal into smaller portions 3 to 4 times a day.
How To Prevent Your Dog From Bloating
Bloating may be a simple problem on the outside but a medical emergency that can cause painful death to your dog. Unfortunately, it can take your dog away from you and would leave you with veterinary bills if the condition worsens. As much as possible, you have to avoid bloating from happening so that loss and medical expenses can be prevented.
1. Puzzle Feeder
The more the dog gulps down the dog food as if there’s no tomorrow, is also the more chances of bloating. To prevent this from happening, you can buy a puzzle feeder wherein it will slow down your dog’s intake of food as well as enrich their mind because of the puzzle. Also, it is one of the ways to make your dog get full easily without asking for more.
2. Avoid Exercise After Eating
Your dog will swallow more air when it exercises while the stomach is still full. If the dog needs its exercise then you have to wait 30 to 60 minutes after eating to begin running, walking, or fetching.
3. Protein-Rich Meals
Prevent bloating by providing your dog with food that is rich in protein such as chicken, lamb, fish, and meat.
4. Take Note of Doctor’s Recommendations
To avoid another episode of bloating from your dog, you have to take into action all the recommendations from your veterinarian and avoid things that will cause it. Take note of all the triggers and supervise your dog at all times. Since it happened the first time, make it a habit to check your dog’s stomach and see if it is swollen or tightened regularly.
Dog Breeds That Are Prone To Bloat
Any dog can have bloat but some dogs are more prone to this medical issue because of their physical qualities that allow gas inside the dog’s body. They are the larger breeds that have a wider chest, narrowed waist, and big stomach taking in more air and allowing much space to allow the stomach to twist.
One study at the University of Purdue concluded that Great Dane dog breeds are more susceptible to the GDV or Gastric Dilatation Volvulus than other dogs. That is because Great Dane are larger breeds than others plus it has a deep chest and a narrow waist.
The following dog breeds are also included in the breeds that are more prone to the disease:
- Irish Wolfhound
- Irish Setter
- Standard Poodle
- German Shepherd
- Labrador Retriever
- The Great Pyrenees
Barrel-chested dogs are not at high risk of bloat but it does not mean that they won’t get to have it. Proper eating habits should be implemented for dogs to slow down or stop the risk of bloating.
Is Stress a Contributing Factor to Bloating?
Yes, stress can lead to bloating because when dogs are more relaxed and calm they will tend to eat right and take care of their body. But, when the dog is fearful and has anxiety, the behavior of the dog is more agitated and it is not good for the health.
You can take your dog away from stressful situations so that no further medical condition might arise.
Will My Dog Survive When It Has Bloating?
Bloating is a life-threatening emergency and you might wonder about the chances of your dog surviving the GDV Surgery. The percentage of mortality rate is around 15 to 20%. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of factors to consider in successful surgery. The dog might have other diseases that might be affected and get worse. Cardiac condition, shock, immune system, and stomach wall necrosis could affect the surgery of your dog.
If there’s tissue damage the mortality rate could increase up to 28 to 38% while if the spleen is removed the mortality rate could go 32 to 38%.
Can I Still Feed My Dog When It Is Bloated?
You have to ask the veterinarian if your dog is allowed to eat while it is under treatment. In most cases, fluids are allowed to keep your dog hydrated. Moreover, if you found out that your dog is not pooping and is showing the first signs of bloating, refrain from feeding your dog cause everything will be stuck up inside and will cause further discomfort on your dog.
Bloating is a fatal condition that shouldn’t be taken lightly by pet owners. Yes, it sounds like a normal stomach problem for your dog but no it isn’t. Medical care is needed immediately so that no further damage to the stomach will happen. Don’t mind the cost because it is very painful to lose a dear dog. In addition, be reminded that when you are uncertain of what condition your dog is having, you still need to consult the vet. Give them a quick call and state the signs on what you observe on your dog. Don’t leave anything to chance or think that everything will just go away in time.