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The silent killer of dogs: Bloat. Let's talk about it.

Run Free K9 Bloat information graphic 1 of 3

The silent killer of dogs: Bloat, also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), is a serious condition that can affect dogs of any age and breed, although it is more common in large and deep-chested breeds, such as Poodles, Great Danes, German Shepherds, and Doberman Pinschers.

The condition is caused by the rapid accumulation of gas and fluid in the stomach, which causes it to expand and rotate on its axis. This rotation can cause the stomach to twist, trapping the gas and food inside and preventing blood from flowing to the stomach, spleen, and other vital organs.

While the exact cause of bloat is not fully understood, there are several factors that can contribute to its development. These include genetics, diet, stress, eating habits, and exercise patterns. Dogs that eat quickly, eat one large meal per day, and exercise vigorously after eating are more prone to developing bloat.

Run Free K9 Bloat information graphic 2 of 3

The symptoms of bloat can be subtle at first, but become more severe as the condition progresses. Some of the early warning signs of bloat include restlessness, pacing, and a distended abdomen. As the condition worsens, dogs may experience unproductive vomiting, difficulty breathing, and collapse.

If you suspect your dog has bloat, it is important to seek veterinary attention immediately. The longer the condition goes untreated, the less likely the dog is to survive. The first line of treatment for bloat is to relieve the pressure on the stomach by decompressing it. This is done by passing a tube through the dog's mouth and into the stomach to remove the gas and fluid. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the twisted stomach and prevent future episodes of bloat.

To reduce the risk of bloat in dogs, pet owners can take several preventative measures.

1. Feeding smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day instead of one large meal.

2. Reduce exercise or any other vigorous activity just before or after meals.

3. Exercise using slow-feed bowls to prevent dogs from eating too quickly.

4. Embrace a calm and stress-free environment for the dog.

5. Refrain from feeding your dog foods that are high in fat, as they take longer to digest.

6. Understand that your dog needs constant access to clean drinking water, as dehydration can increase the risk of bloat. It is best to hydrate your dogs food with water prior to feeding them to help reduce likelihood of bloat.

7. Nurture continued learning about your K9's specific breed and care by discussing preventive measures with your veterinarian.

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In conclusion, bloat is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that can affect dogs of any breed. It is important for pet owners to be aware of the symptoms and seek veterinary attention immediately if they suspect their dog has bloat. By taking preventative measures and being vigilant, pet owners can help reduce the risk of this condition and keep their dogs healthy and happy.

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