What Causes Dog Bloating?
Bloat in dogs is caused due to excessive gas accumulation inside the stomach. Gas accumulation occurs when there is not enough food or water intake during digestion. The amount of gas accumulated depends upon several factors such as size, age, activity level, diet and other medical conditions. A dog’s weight plays a major role in its ability to absorb nutrients properly from the food it eats. The most common cause of bloat in dogs is obesity. Other possible causes include chronic constipation, heart disease, kidney failure, liver disease and diabetes mellitus.
The symptoms of canine bloat may vary depending on the underlying condition causing the problem. If the cause of bloat is unknown, then the symptoms are likely to be similar.
Symptoms Of Bloated Dog
There are many different symptoms of a dog with bloat. Some of these include:
Loss Of Appetite (Weight Loss) : The animal may lose weight rapidly. This loss may occur immediately after eating or it could take up to two days before the animal loses all its body weight.
Increased Thirst And Urination : The dog may suffer from dehydration due to excessive urination. The animal may also suffer from increased thirst.
Distended Abdomen : The dog’s stomach could be visibly distended. It will be larger than normal.
The skin may or may not be pulled outward. This is known as tylecomany.
Deep Breathing : The dog may breath rapidly and with its mouth open.
Restlessness And Agitation : The animal’s mood will change and it may become difficult to comfort it.
Drooling : The dog may drool excessively. Since it has an enlarged abdomen, the saliva drips out slowly.
Collapse : The dog may eventually collapse if the condition is left untreated.
When Should You Take Your Dog To The Vet?
Take your dog to the veterinarian immediately if you notice any of the above symptoms. If the animal is suffering from acute bloat, then immediate medical attention is vital.
How Is Bloat In Dogs Treated?
There are several treatment options for this condition. They include:
1. Gastropexy: This is a surgical procedure where the stomach is tacked to the abdominal wall.
This prevents the organ from twisting in its place. The surgery helps prevent a recurrence of bloat, but does not correct the underlying problem.
2. Antacids: These drugs neutralize the stomach acid.
3. H2 antagonists: These drugs limit the production of stomach acid.
4. Prokinetics: These drugs stimulate the muscles in the stomach wall to work more efficiently.
5. Diet Change: The intake of things such as bones, fat and rich food should be reduced or eliminated from the diet.
Vegetables, dietary fiber and lean meat are recommended.
6. Medication: Medication is given according to the cause of the bloat.
For example, penicillin is used to treat infections caused by a certain bacteria.
7. Monitoring: The dog’s stomach is kept under observation for at least 48 hours after the initial treatment.
During this time, the animal should not be allowed to exercise or eat anything. Water should be available at all times.
If signs of bloat reoccur or persist, then surgery may be needed.
Can Bloating Be Prevented?
Yes, the condition can be prevented if you are aware of what causes it. These could include eating an excessive amount of dry dog food, eating just before exercising and the dog having a full bowl of water for an extended period of time.
It is recommended that you do not allow the dog to exercise before it has eaten. You should also avoid feeding the animal its regular food and instead give it treats.
This is because dry dog food can expand in the stomach, especially when it has been kept in the dog’s bowl for a long time and the treats have more moisture content.
You should also ensure that your pet has constant access to water. However, you should not leave the bowl full since this could also lead to bloat.
Always ensure that the water in the bowl is fresh and clean.
Other Preventative Measures
There are some measures that you can take to prevent bloat in your pet. These include:
Feeding dry food instead of wet or canned food. Most vets recommend a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat and protein.
You can also try feeding your dog twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. This will help slow the digestive process allowing the stomach to have a rest between meals.
Exercise restraint when playing with your dog. Do not let it strain too much as this can cause the dog to gasp for air leading to bloat.
Do not allow your dog to drink large amounts of water just before or after exercise, as this will dilute the gastric juices in the stomach which helps prevent bloat. It is also important that you do not exercise your dog immediately after it has eaten. There should be at least one hour between eating and exercise.
Make sure to consult your veterinarian if you think that your dog has bloating. S/he will be able to run some tests in order to determine the cause of the bloat.
Your veterinarian will also be able to prescribe medication as well as recommend other preventative measures.
How Is Bloat Surgery Performed?
Surgery to treat bloat involves placing a tube into the rectum in order to remove the gas and fluid that has accumulated. This will relieve the pressure in the stomach. The surgery is quite successful; however, there are some risks involved.
Sources & references used in this article:
- The Genetics of Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (Bloat) in Dogs: What Do We Know and Where Are We Going? Tufts’ Canine and Feline Breeding and … (VIN Welcome – vin.com)
- Modified Nissen fundoplication and the “gas-bloat” syndrome as measured by the inability to vomit: An experimental study (R Goldstein, W Butterfield – The American Journal of Surgery, 1973 – Elsevier)
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Bloat) (C Center, P Care, SP Insurance – embracepetinsurance.com)