Bloating in dogs is an emergency medical condition that must be treated immediately as the condition can be fatal in a few minutes.  There are several factors that make bloating more or less likely. These include increased age, the dog’s breed, deep and narrow chests, stress and over feeding and eating foods, such as kibble, that expand the stomach.

Dogs that gobble their food are at high risk for bloating. The foremost reason for gas buildup involves a dysfunctional sphincter between the dog’s stomach and esophagus. Bloating occurs when the stomach becomes stretched from too much gas. It can also cause the stomach to turn in the abdomen and then cut off blood flow to critical organs. Bloating in dogs can also be called torsion or gastric torsion.

Other Contributing Factors and Causes of Bloating in Dogs

Allowing a dog to eat only once a day can increase bloating. It is better to feed your dog twice daily with half of his food in the morning and half at night. If your dog gobbles his food try adding raw carrots cut to about 3 inch lengths to his food so that he has to chew more. One friend put 3 tennis balls in the dog food bowl and the dog has to root around to get the kibble.. thus the gobbling is slowed down.

A few years ago dog nutritionist thought that raising a dog’s bowl while he or she eats would decrease the chance of bloating. This has proven to be false and, in fact, increases the risk of bloating.

Susceptible Breeds

Any dog that gobbles their food is prone to bloating which, as stated, is an extreme medical emergency. Boston Terriers have a short snout and may not chew their food well. In addition they have a barrel chest which makes them vulnerable. My Susi Q just about inhales her food so I am always on the lookout for new ideas in how to slow her down. It makes it worse that she doesn’t seem to like vegetables.

I find that if I cook baby carrots until they are very firm and not soft then she will sometimes eat them when I mix them in with her kibble. Other times she siphons them out and eats the kibble and then looks at me as if to say, “Mom, did you think I wouldn’t notice these big orange things in my food?”

Great Danes have a 37% chance of getting bloat over their lifetime. Serious stuff!!

Other breeds that are vulnerable are Weimaraners, St. Bernards, Gordon Setters and Irish Setters. Notice that these are all large breed dogs.

Spaying and Neutering: Fixing Your Dog

Difficult to Diagnose

 Bloating in dogs is difficult to diagnose because symptoms are not necessarily different from other kinds of distress that dogs may exhibit. Dogs may appear to be uncomfortable with no apparent reason. They may stand differently than they normally do. The dog may also have firm distension of the stomach and may be weak, express symptoms of depression, have difficulty breathing, salivate much more than normal, and may attempt to throw up unsuccessfully.

Veterinarians use several factors to diagnose a dog. First is the dog’s breed. Also vets will examine the stomach to determine if there is distension. If your dog is a breed that is vulnerable to bloating ask your vet in advance of any problems what you can do to help prevent the condition from happening.

It is a lot easier to prevent than to deal with it. Remember too that elderly dogs, no matter what the breed, are susceptible to bloating in dogs. If you are concerned that your dog shows some symptoms of bloating call your vet immediately and take the dog in to be checked out. Better to pay a doctor’s visit than to loose your dog’s life!!