Remember when your mom wouldn’t let you swim right after eating when you were a kid?
Supposedly it was to prevent a stomach ache but most likely to give her a break. But for dogs that are deep chested and prone to GDV keeping your dog in a resting state before and after eating is just one of the strategies to prevent your dog from experiencing Bloat.
What is Bloat?
If you’re unfamiliar with the diagnosis It usually happens when there’s an abnormal accumulation of air, fluid, and/or foam in the stomach (“gastric dilatation”) sometimes brough on by stress. Bloat can occur with or without “volvulus” (twisting). As the stomach swells, it may rotate 90° to 360°, twisting between its fixed attachments at the esophagus (food tube) and at the duodenum (the upper intestine). The twisting stomach traps air, food, and water in the stomach. The bloated stomach obstructs veins in the abdomen, leading to low blood pressure, shock, and damage to internal organs. The combined effect can quickly kill a dog.
Not all dogs are prone to this disease state. Breeds that have a deep and narrow chest are more susceptible than others, but age, size, and stress contribute to its potential.
Most people may not immediately recognize the severity of the situation until too many symptoms present themselves.
Here are some key strategies to prevent your dog from experiencing Bloat
- Don’t use an elevated food bowl
- Don’t exercise for at least an hour before or after eating
- Slow down your dog’s eating. There are special bowls you can buy or simply add a large clean rock to the bowl so your dog has to slowly serve himself rather than gulp down big portions
- Serve your dog multiple meals during the day in smaller portions
- Keep a simethicone product like Gas -x, Phazyme or Mylanta Gas in the house to initiate burping immediately
- Always keep fresh water available
- Feed your dog a mix of wet and dry food
- Reduce carbs
- When Switching dog foods, do so over several weeks
- Avoid dry dog foods that have Fat as one of the first 4 ingredients as well as Citric Acid
- Select dry dog foods that include rendered meat meal with bone product as one of the first 4 ingredients
- Feed your dog 30% high-protein, and at least 3% crude fiber
- Add an enzyme product to food like “ Prozyme” and herbs specially mixed to reduce gas. N.R. Special Blend
- Avoid brewer’s yeast, alfalfa, soybean products
- Promote friendly bacteria using probiotics such as Acidophilus
- When your dog is on Antibiotics probiotics should be given 2-4 hours apart.
- Don’t let your Dog drink water too fast