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Bloat Causes and Prevention in Dogs

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Bloat Causes and Prevention in Dogs
Bloat is a condition large breed dogs can succumb to, and it is a dilation and torsion (twisting) of the stomach. It develops very quickly, and it's often accompanied by a gas build-up and ultimately a painful death within a matter of hours for the dog.

Symptoms
If noticed early, the dog tries to retch or vomit and produces a frothy type of liquid. They are in obvious discomfort with a distended rigid stomach. They can appear hunched over, and the breathing is rapid and shallow. What kills the dog is excessive pressure from the bloated stomach pushing back up against the diaphragm, causing stress on the heart. The dogs' heart goes into fibrillation, and they die quickly.

Causes
Feeding (or excessive drinking) immediately after exercise appears to be the main reason dogs suffer from bloat as their stomachs are still moving and their breathing is labored. In addition, with the gut full of food or water, the wall of the stomach or intestines is more susceptible to twisting.

Age
Bloat can occur at any age, but it is rarely seen in very young pups, so the older the canine, the more likely it suffers and have a worse prognosis.

Breed
Dogs with deep chests appear to be more likely to suffer, especially Great Danes, German Shepherds, Irish Wolf Hounds, Red Setters, and other large breeds.

Seasonal
Bloat is more prevalent in the warmer months, especially after sudden temperature changes.

Prevention
Elevate feed bowl, i.e., place bowl in a top bucket or similar to ensure the dog is not bending over to eat. Ensure dry food is mixed with water, and it can also be partially soaked before feeding.

Do not exercise at all one hour or after a meal. Once they have eaten, do not allow exercise or play and ensure they are kept quiet for at least an hour after consuming food and excessive drinking.

If in any doubt about your dogs' health, take it straight to a vet to check.