Precious Pets Pawprint

Keeping Pets Healthy Since 2001

Find Us Here


PreciousPets on Facebook PreciousPets on Twitter PreciousPets on Google Plus PreciousPets RSS Feed

Canine Bloat | Gastric Dilation in Dogs

Prevent Deadly Canine Bloat in your Dog
© by Bree Weasner, LLC

Canine Bloat | Twisted Stomach

When humans become gassy or bloated from eating too much, it can be annoying, but it isn’t a serious issue. However, in dogs, bloat (AKA gastric dilation) is quite serious and can cause death.

Canine Bloat Twisted StomachBloat happens when gasses build up in the abdomen, making it very swollen. Some gassiness will dissipate by itself, but when bloat hits all of a sudden, the stomach can swell dramatically, twisting the stomach cavity, which can lead to a possible cutting off of blood supply. Cats rarely experience bloat; it occurs most often in big, deep-chested dogs such as German Shepherds, Labradors, Rottweiler, Akitas, Bloodhounds, Boxers and others. Bloat occurs in all large breeds.

Newfoundlands, Dobermans, Weimaraners, Gordon Setter, Borzoi, Mastiffs, Bullmastiffs and Boxers are especially sensitive and susceptible to developing Gastric Dilation.

What exactly is Bloat/ Gastric Dilation and what are the Signs?

Canine Bloat can be fatal and can come on quite quickly. It causes coma, shock and even death can occur within hours. Your vet can diagnose Canine Bloat with an x-ray. The diagnosis is given when stomach enlargement due to excessive gas and/or dilation is present.

Following dilation, volvulus (torsion) may occur. This is especially dangerous as it closes the esophagus and pylorus, which prevents the dog from getting rid of gas by belching. It also stops food from advancing into the intestines and stops the dog from vomiting. Torsion also stops a major vein that carries blood to the heart, which can lead to a shock and/or death.

Signs and Symptoms of Canine Bloat:

  • Swollen Abdomen

  • Heavy drooling

  • White or grey colored gums

  • Stomach makes gurgling noises

  • Dog tries to vomit and nothing comes up

  • Refusal to eat with one of the listed signs above
Bloat is very serious, but bloat prevention is quite simple to achieve. Here are some veterinarian recommendations:

Feed Yogurt

Yogurt is as good for dogs as it is for humans! Dog’s digestive tracts contain good bacteria that help them to digest food properly. When your dog is lacking these good bacteria, gas and air accumulates and leads to bloat. To improve your dog’s digestion and prevent gas from accumulating, give him plain yogurt (no artificial sweeteners). Give dogs over 15 pounds 1 teaspoon of yogurt a day and one-quarter to one-half teaspoon for small dogs.

Digestive Enzymes

Another way to improve digestion is to give him or her digestive enzymes on a daily basis. MSE Daily Boost works wonderfully, and MSE Microbial Paste should also be included in your doggie arsenal, especially if you have a large breed! You can read more about the importance of digestive enzymes/probiotics here.

Split up Meals

Some dogs scarf down their food quite quickly, while others take their time. Dogs that eat very quickly are more likely to develop bloat. Try feeding your dog smaller meals throughout the day.


Give your dog his own space to eat without being disturbed by other animals. This will help him to eat slower and decrease the chances of developing gas, which can lead to bloat.

Switch to All Natural Food

Holistic Vets recommend dogs be fed all natural food that does not contain fillers, and for good reason. These foods do not contain ingredients that cause the stomach to well and cause bloat. We recommend Life’s Abundance, which is an all-natural, high quality pet food created by holistic vet, Dr. Jane Bicks. Life’s Abundance does not contain toxic preservatives, wheat, corn, dairy or fillers. It is safe for all dogs, puppies to seniors.

Cook at Home

Yes, cooking for your dog is acceptable. Some research states that dogs given homemade food are not as likely to develop canine bloat. You can find information on the Web to learn more about homemade diets.

Give your Dog Chamomile

Used in humans with digestive problems, chamomile will also calm your dog’s tummy. Prepare chamomile tea like normal, and let it cool until it reaches room temperature. Give dogs less than fifteen pounds one half teaspoon a day, and larger dogs 1 tablespoon per day. Mix the tea in with their food or administer with a syringe before meals.

Soothe your dog with Slippery Elm

Incessant intestinal issues can be helped with Digestive Support. This helps to keep the digestive system moving smoothly and helps dogs that refuse to eat. Digestive Support soothes gastric systems, maintains healthy energy levels, improves absorption of nutrients and improves overall wellness.


Food can ferment in slow intestinal tracts, which can cause gas to accumulate. Walking your dog before he eats may help to get his digestive system moving. Be sure you wait 2 hours after eating for a brisk walk, as strenuous exercise after eating can cause bloat.


Nux is a homeopathic remedy that helps reverse gas build up right away. Follow instructions to give the proper amount of pellets to your dog. You should always have some Nux on hand as it reverses gas immediately!

When should I call the Vet?

Since bloat can happen very fast, it is important that you know the signs and act quickly. Dogs that develop sudden bloat will have a firm, bulgy tummy and they will also arch their backs in an uncomfortable position, lick their lips, drool or try swallowing. If these symptoms occur, your dog needs to go to the vet or emergency clinic right away.

What happens next?

If your dog develops any symptoms of bloat, you need to take him for emergency services immediately. Surgery will be performed if gastric dilation (torsion) occurs, along with treatments to stabilize your dog and relieve gas pressure. Surgery will prevent bloating from happening in the future.

Unfortunately, 29%-33% of dogs with bloat die. Being aware of the symptoms of bloat is imperative to the health of your dog. Practicing good eating habits, proper exercise, giving your dog probiotics and feeding them an all-natural diet will decrease the chance of him developing canine bloat.

Bloat is ALWAYS an emergency, however, so you will still need to get your pet to the vet as quickly as possible for treatment. History has shown me that had I gone directly to the animal emergency hospital rather than to my vet first when Sammi (Boxer girl) bloated in 1999, she and I may have had more time together, rather than saying Good Bye.

About Us

My name is Bree Weasner, and I’ve been bringing pet owners like you valuable information on pet nutrition and natural holistic alternatives to conventional pet care since 2001.

continue reading  >>

Latest News from our Blog

RSS Feed Widget

Contact Us

New Jersey, USA