A Great Dane lies in the grass.

If you’ve ever had a big meal and needed to change into a more comfortable pair of pants, you know that bloating is an uncomfortable feeling. Bloating in dogs is a much more serious condition than a brief period of discomfort in the stomach. Without the proper attention, this condition can be fatal. The team at Advantage Veterinary Center wants to arm you with the knowledge to recognize signs of bloat so you can get the necessary medical attention for your dog:

What Is Bloating in Dogs?

Bloat, or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) complex, occurs when an excessive amount of air fills the stomach and physically prevents blood from moving from the legs and abdomen back to the heart. Without the ability to move through the body, this blood starts to pool and sends the dog’s body into shock.

This emergent condition can force the spleen and the pancreas to move and cuts off oxygen to these vital organs. When the pancreas is in need of blood flow, it releases a hormone that travels right to the heart and can stop it immediately. 

Why Bloat Happens

While veterinarians know there is a cause and effect relationship between the buildup of air in the stomach and the organs flipping, no one is truly sure which happens first and causes the other. It is very possible that the stomach flips first, which causes a buildup of air, or vice versa. What is very clear, however, is that bloating in dogs requires immediate medical attention or it could very quickly turn into a fatal condition. 

How To Spot Bloat

When it comes to bloating in dogs, every second counts. This condition could go from problematic to fatal in just a few hours, which is why it is imperative to get into the veterinarian if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • An enlargement of the abdomen
  • Retching
  • Excessive salivation
  • Restlessness
  • Pain when pressing on the belly (could present as whining)

Breeds More Likely To Deal With Bloat

Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to bloat. Dogs that have long, yet narrow chests tend to deal with bloat more than other breeds. This includes Great Danes, St. Bernards, Irish Setters, Dobermans, and other large breeds. If there is a family history of bloat, there is a higher chance that a dog will experience it at some point. Talk to your veterinarian if you think your dog might have a high risk of dealing with bloat.

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from bloat, please call your veterinary team at Advantage Veterinary Center as soon as possible at (636) 677-9790.