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Beware Of The Bloat!

Advice for your large and giant breed puppy

We have some serious business to discuss today. While we are sure your life with your pup is filled with fun and games, the threat we want to talk to you about is no laughing matter…

Commonly known as Bloat or Gastric Torsion, Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) is the medical term for a life-threatening condition characterised by rapid and abnormal distention of the stomach, often accompanied by twisting of the stomach.

If the stomach of your pup is twisted, gas, food and secretions cannot escape in the usual ways, which causes the stomach to bloat further, causing swelling and loss of blood flow to the stomach and other vital organs.

Quick action is required to correct the GDV. If left undetected, the loss of blood flow can cause the death of vital tissues, putting your dog’s whole system into a state of shock and likely resulting in organ failure or even death.

Pretty terrifying, right? The good news is, you can give your dog a high chance of survival by learning to recognise the early signs of GDV.


Which breeds are at a greater risk of developing bloat?

All breeds of dogs are susceptible to bloat.

However, deep chested dogs and larger breeds are more predisposed to developing the life-threatening condition. Breeds such as Dobermans, St Bernards, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Setters, Weimaraners, Standard Poodles and Bassett Hounds are all in the high-risk category.

What are the signs of bloat?
  • Dog becomes unsettled or starts to exhibit a change in behaviour
  • Pacing
  • Swollen or hardened stomach
  • Dog makes an effort to be sick but does not bring up any stomach contents- white froth may be seen but no further produce from the retching motion
  • Dog makes an effort to pass stools, but no faeces is produced
  • Drooling or producing more saliva than usual
  • Abdominal breathing- dog appears to be struggling to breath and can be seen to be gasping for breath
  • Pale gums
  • Increased heart rate
  • Collapse
How to reduce the risk of bloat for your dog ...

Follow these practical tips when looking after your pup to reduce the chances of bloat

  • Portion control-feeding little and often and avoiding large meals helps to prevent over filling of the stomach. For some dogs 3-4 meals a day may be recommended.
  • Feeding a diet that is highly digestible with lower feeding amounts
  • Avoid feeding a high fat diet
  • Although fresh water should always be available. Avoid consumption of large volumes of water especially around mealtimes
  • Feed susceptible dogs separate to other dogs at mealtimes to avoid over excitement or anxiety
  • Encourage dogs to eat slower to reduce the amount of air taken in while eating. Anti-guzzle bowls and puzzle feeders are perfect for this
  • Avoid exercise an hour before meal times and 3 hours post meal
  • Supervise dogs around meal times- supervising post meal is also advisable, especially during the first hour
  • Overweight dogs are more prone to bloat so maintaining a nice healthy bodyweight is important

Think your dog has bloat?

Here’s what to do …

Bloat is a veterinary emergency and a few minutes can make a big difference to your dog’s survival, so you should seek veterinary attention immediately.

If you suspect your pup is bloated, take them straight to the vets and call ahead (if it’s safe to do so!) to let them know you’re on your way, so they can prepare for your pet’s arrival.


Speak to our dedicated nutritionists for more advice...

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