14 Methods Of Preventing Bloat In Deep-Chested Dogs

If you have lost a dog to bloat, you’ll understand how devastated I was to recently lose my Zoey to this condition. Sadly, with her being a mixed breed, I didn’t consider the risk factors for her, nor recognize the early warning signs. I have done some research since and would like to share what I have found in order to help others prevent bloat, especially in anxious dogs.

With this affliction, prevention is the best hope. Once you think your dog may have bloat, it could possibly be too late to save your dog’s life. I’ll delve a little into the situation of bloat to explain what goes on in the dog’s stomach, but I mainly want to stress the importance of what you can do to keep bloat from ever occuring, especially if you have a fearful dog to begin with.

Bloat occurs when the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach malfunctions and there is an obstruction of the outflow through the pylorus. The pylorus is a small opening at the base of the stomach, which allows partially digested food to flow out to the duodenum. When this gets plugged up for whatever reason, the food can’t exit. With the plugged sphincter closing off the other end, the stomach fills up with air.

The stomach may then torque or twist up to 360 degrees and the dog cannot throw up or otherwise relieve the condition. The only possibility of flipping the stomach back over is with aggressive surgery, and even then the outcome is not very promising. Prevention is the best cure.

Something I didn’t realize is that easily stressed dogs are more prone to experiencing bloat than calm well-balanced dogs. My dog Zoey had obviously been badly abused as a young dog and pretty much lived at a high level of fear and anxiety, seemingly waiting for something terrible to happen.

That, coupled with the fact that she was 9 or 10 years old and had the deep chest of a Great Dane, made her a candidate for bloat. Not all dogs are at high risk to develop this condition. It is mainly expected in dogs with deep chests who may be underweight, older, and easily stressed.

Taking these 14 steps seriously can lessen your dog’s likelihood of developing bloat, especially for anxious dogs:

1. Limit water intake to a minimal amount for an hour before or after a meal, but at all other times have fresh water available.

2. Control your dog’s water intake on warm summer days. Dogs don’t know what can happen if they drink too much too fast. Only allow a small amount at a time every few minutes.

3. Feed small portions of food two or three times a day.

4. Control food gulping by placing a medium to large sized rock in with the food making your dog eat around it, but be sure its too large for your dog to eat.

5. Add raw meat to your dry dog food if at all possible.

6. When feeding dry food, look for one that does not include fat as one of its first four components and does not contain citric acid. If you can’t avoid the citric acid, feed the kibble dry with no water added.

7. Also if you feed dry food, look for one that has rendered meat meal with bone product as one of the first 4 ingredients.

8. Feed a high quality diet.

9. Do not raise the food bowl. This is one I would have never thought of, but it could be that this causes more air intake in dogs that are candidates for developing bloat.

10. Stay away from brewer’s yeast, alfalfa, or soybean products.

11. Supplement your dog with probiotics such as acidophilus to encourage healthy bacteria in his or her intestinal tract.

12. Some people also take the precaution of giving their dog 1Tbs of apple cider vinegar after each meal to aid in digestion.

13. Avoid subjecting your fearful or anxious dog to highly stressful situations when possible. If this can’t be avoided due to needing to make a trip to the vet,etc, try to make it as uneventful as possible. To help calm your overly anxious dog, try using the Thundershirt or Original Anxiety Wrap during events you know may raise the anxiety level in your dog.

14. Always keep a product containing simethicone on hand to give to your dog at the first sign of gas such as belching repeatedly. This would be a product like Phazyme, Gas-X or Mylanta Gas (must be for gas, not regular Mylanta).

These are the 14 things to consider if you have a deep-chested dog of the breeds of Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Weimaraner, Gordon and Irish Setters, Rottweiler and even the Basset Hound.

I’m not trying to create a sense of fear among dog owners, but rather heighten their sense of awareness. Even as these deep-chested breeds are at greater risk than other dogs, any fearful or anxious individuals within these breeds are certainly more susceptible to developing bloat. All of these preventive measures should be taken for these dogs if at all possible. In any circumstance, it is always best to set up a calm, peaceful home and routine whenever possible to establish a well-balanced, happy, and healthy existence.

Remember, we are the stewards of these wonderful animals who love us completely. Preventing bloat in easily stressed dogs is far better than trying to attempt a cure when it may be too late.


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