Bloat occurs when gas forms in the stomach causing it to swell.
In severe cases the stomach twists at both ends, which does not allow the gas to pass. This is called torsion, and is quite often fatal.
What causes bloat?
Bloat seems to occur when a dog does not have enough of the correct enzymes to break down food in the stomach. Several factors may be involved:
- Familial – some families of dogs seem to have less of these good enzymes than others
- Stress – bouts of stress reduce the effectiveness of stomach acids and enzymes
- Exercising – strenuous exercise right before or right after feeding heats up the body and can lead to bloat
- Foods – dog food based on barley, wheat, and other expandable grains can be a factor
How to manage and/or prevent bloat:
- Use a feeder bowl to encourage slower eating (we recommend the Break Fast Bowl from Dog Supplies)
- Wait an hour after eating before letting your dog run or exercise
- Feed your dog a product that is not based on corn or other expandable grains
- Add a probiotic supplement to help break down food in the stomach (we recommend DogZymes from Nature’s Farmacy)
- If your dog has a severe case of bloat one time, ask your vet about having its stomach tacked
- Keep something like Gas –X on hand
- Bloat can kill a dog very quickly, so if you notice your dog beginning to bloat, call your vet immediately!
- Overall, try to avoid stressful situations, overeating and eating too fast