If you are reading this article, that means you’re looking up the symptoms of bloat in dogs. This indicated there’s a good chance you fear your dog might be suffering from bloat. Because of this, we won’t waste your time by describing what bloat is at the start of this article, but if you’re interested in learning more about what it is and how to prevent it, jump to the end of this article.
Bloat is a severe condition and needs to be treated ASAP. Take a look at the list of symptoms below to help you determine if there’s a chance your dog might be suffering from this condition.
The Common Symptoms
Again, if you suspect your dog is suffering from bloat, we can’t stress how important it is to get them into the vet NOW!
- Hard and Bloated Stomach (Hence the Name)
- Failed Retching
- Quick and Heavy Breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Pale gums above teeth (apply pressure, warning sign if pink doesn’t return within 2-3 seconds)
- Loss of Strength
- Pain When Pressing The Belly
Those are not all the symptoms, but they are the most common. When it comes to bloat, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If there is any doubt at all, call your vet ASAP and explain what’s going on.
What Should You Do?
Here are the three steps you should take if you suspect your k9 buddy might be suffering from a form of bloat.
- Get your dog in the car and head straight to the vet
- While on the way, call your vet so they can prepare. They will let you know if they can handle the situation. If they can’t, they will tell you where to go.
- Once at the vet, get out of the way – more on this point below.
To provide a more detailed response to number three above, it’s important you get out of the way and let the vet do what they need to do.
The first thing your vet will do is take the dog back for an evaluation, and you most likely WILL NOT be allowed to go back with the dog. This is for several reasons, but the primary one is to make sure the vet can give full attention to the dog. It’s in your dogs best interest for you to hand the dog off to the vet and step back without questioning anything. If you waste time arguing, that’s precious time that could have been spent treating your dog.
At this point, you’ve done your job. Trust that the vet is doing everything possible to save your dog and pray for the best.
The first part of this article was written for those who suspect their dog may be suffering from bloat. The second part of this article is written for those who don’t suspect anything at the moment but want to be prepared in case something does happen in the future.
Is it Deadly?
One of the primary questions we get asked is if GDV (bloat) is deadly. Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Without immediate treatment, GDV is fatal. Not only does GDV prevent food and liquid from being eliminated, but it restricts blood flow to the heart. This is why the issue needs to be handled immediately. Your dog can’t survive longer than an hour or two without blood flow to the heart.
Can I Treat Bloat at Home?
No, it can’t be treated at home. The only treatment option is immediate surgery. Your vet will have to cut an incision in your dog’s belly and untwist the stomach. If the damage was severe, there’s a chance part of the stomach or spleen may need to be removed.
Why Does it Happen
Here’s where it gets frustrating, scientists and researchers still aren’t 100% sure what causes bloat. There’s a popular theory that states too much food combined with immediate exercise can cause bloat, but this has never been proven.
One thing that has been proven is that certain breeds are more prone to developing bloat than other breeds. Large dogs with a deep chest and narrow waist such as Weimaraner seem to suffer from this condition more than medium or small dogs. We also know that the older a dog gets, the more likely it is they’ll get bloat.
Can it Be Prevented?
There’s really not much you can do outside of surgery to prevent bloat. You can make sure your dog eats slowly and feed them multiple daily meals instead of one giant meal to avoid overeating, but that won’t guarantee prevention.
There is a surgery called prophylactic gastropexy that you might want to consider discussing with your vet. This surgery tacks the stomach in place, which makes it much harder for the stomach to twist (which is what causes boat).
Too many dog owners don’t prepare in advance for medical emergencies. If you decide to become a dog owner, it’s now your responsibility to become familiar with the closest emergency veterinary services.
If something happens to your dog in the middle of the night and your usual vet is closed, do you know where to go? Most dog owners will answer no, which sadly can lead to the death of a dog. Take the time to become familiar with local emergency services. If you are traveling with your dog, it’s still your job to know where to closest ones are in the town you’re staying in.
Know The Symptoms – Act Quickly
Knowing the symptoms of bloat and acting quickly can be the determining factors on whether or not your dog will survive bloat.
Remember that dogs read humans like a book and respond to our emotions. That’s why it’s essential for you to stay calm (or at least act like you’re calm!) in front of your dog. If they see you stressed, it will stress them even more. Considering bloat blocks blood flow to the heart, you don’t want to cause even more stress to your pup.
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