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“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” — Roger Caras

How to Help a Bloated Dog – Emergency Dog Care

Coping With an Emergency

Bloat is one of the most dangerous conditions that your dog may experience. At one moment, your buddy is enjoying a delightful treat then at a quick turn of events, he’s already fighting for dear life. We cannot afford to be in that situation.

What's bloat in dogs

Even if you think there is a possibility your dog may now be afflicted by bloat, you must still err on the side of caution, because being cautious in addressing bloat could save your pal’s life. As the old cliche goes, “It is better to be safe than sorry.”

Understanding Bloat in Dogs

You may think that bloat may be a common condition, but it can be fatal to our pals if not quickly addressed. Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), as what the medical professionals call it, could bring serious complications in just a couple of minutes. Dogs who experience bloat must receive prompt medical attention to avoid complications.

Bloat happens when the dog’s stomach expands when filled with food, fluid, or gas. The problem worsens when your dog’s stomach begins putting pressure on near organs; this may cause your pal to experience difficulty in breathing, the inability of blood to flow towards the heart, and a pain in the stomach due to tear in its wall.

Signs and Symptoms

Your dog may show signs that its stomach hurts. It is important to realize, however, that not all dogs who experience bloat will display all signs and symptoms. Be vigilant! Bloat might not be obviously observed in your dog, and the lack of apparent signs and symptoms should not automatically rule out any suspected condition.


A bloated dog would try hard to vomit. In most cases, dogs experiencing this will throw up thick saliva and a small amount of fluid. Sometimes, they will throw up nothing at all. Take note that vomiting is an indication of a serious condition whether it is bloat or not. Call your vet!


Dogs experiencing bloat will have a hard time getting comfortable. Their body movements are frequently among the most evident and ancient indications, so observe their behavior and attend to them if they become restless.

Change in the dog’s breathing

Change in your dog’s manner of breathing may be due to the diminished area in the chest that is and to metabolic problems that are happening in his body. Also, the longer your pal gets stressed the more difficulty in breathing he experiences.

Irregular heartbeat

When you have observed the first three in the list, the next thing to do is check your dog’s heartbeat. Irregular is an early indicator of problematic conditions inside the dog’s body in connection to bloat.


Like vomiting, this is a clear indicator that something is wrong with your dog. Unfortunately, a dog’s collapse is a late indication of bloat. When this happens, the problem may already be complicated.

Helping a Bloated Dog

Now, for the main reason for writing this! This will be shorter than you will ever imagine. The advice is simple.

Do not do things by yourself! Let your vet attend to your dog as quickly as possible.

Bloat may kill a dog in under one hour when no medical attention is given. That is the reason why vets remind us that when we observe that our pal is bloated, he should be brought to the nearest veterinary clinic as fast as we can.

Delaying on your decision about what to do will not help in this situation. Bloat is not a joke and it should not be taken lightly!

If your dog is experiencing digestive issues, it could also be something else like acid reflux or constipation, so always make sure you’re getting the advice of a professional.

This video shows you what to look out for and how to prevent bloat happening in future:


Whether your pet has never experienced bloat or has endured from it before, there are steps you can take to help prevent this untoward incident. The gastropexy operation your dog will experience ought to stop the stomach from twisting again. Though it can nevertheless distend.

Communicate with your vet

A constant communication with your vet is one of the most helpful ways of preventing your dog from succumbing to any health problem. Listening to your pet’s doctor will save you and your pal from any harm that illnesses may cause.

Train your dog

Train your dog to eat several, small meals throughout the day, instead of one big meal every day, or perhaps multiple big meals. Teach him to eat his meals slowly by trying out some exercises like the use of maze and puzzle feeders.

It’s really hard to accept how a seemingly healthy dog can, in one hour, be battling for life. Bloat is a very serious, possibly deadly disease. Professional treatment is urgent and shouldn’t be delayed.

How Long Do You Need to Take Care of Dog Bloat

Bloat/GDV may kill a dog in an hour when untreated. That is the reason why we vets can not stress it enough: Should you observe your pet is bloated,  get them into the closest open veterinary clinic ASAP.

If your regular vet’s office is closed, bring your puppy immediately to the nearest Animal ER. Please, do not trifle with or delay in the face of the condition. GDV isn’t a joke!

Still unsure whether your puppy has GDV? If you think there is a possibility your dog may now be afflicted by GDV, please err on the side of caution and choose them to get an instant veterinary examination. The expense of an emergency vet trip will probably pale compared to the peace-of-mind you will receive by doing this.

Could Dogs Survive Bloat / GDV?

Dogs afflicted by GDV could be saved!

Bloat is 95 percent deadly, according to most experts. It is extremely important to be aware that this quoted mortality rate (i.e., the proportion of dogs that die or are euthanized) is for cases that go unnoticed and/or where proper therapy is diminished or delayed.

The prognosis for survival is better for instances that are captured sooner and treated appropriately and immediately. Mortality rates for puppies handled appropriately and immediately have been reported as low as 15 percent.

Things To Do Before, During, and Following an Event of Bloat / GDV

If you think your dog is experiencing bloat/GDV, after the steps below increases the probability of a favorable result.

Things to Do Before You Arrive in the Animal Hospital

  • Call ahead of time and clarify the situation so that the hospital personnel can prepare for your dog’s coming.
  • Start thinking about financing. Stabilization, diagnostics, operation, and post-op maintenance for GDV can easily cost in the $2,500-$5,000+ array. If you do not have pet insurance or that type of cash in your bank accounts or credit cards, bear in mind that you might have the ability to make an application for a medical field of credit via a third party supplier, for example, Care Credit, Wells Fargo, or Scratchpay.

Things to Do After You Arrive in the Animal Hospital

  • Get prepared to move fast. Hospital staff will immediately take your puppy for first diagnostics (X-rays, blood pressure, EKG traces, and much more ). You probably will not have the ability to go or remain with your puppy, but a person will update you whenever you can, typically after about 15-30 minutes. (Though this will look like an eternity to you, please be patient as the staff will be working hard to stabilize your puppy and get you the info that you want.)
  • Know if you would like to resuscitate. In case your dog with GDV suffers a cardiac arrest – which, sadly, isn’t rare – that the hospital staff can start CPR, but they will need your consent to do this and they will need it immediately.
  • Fill in the paperwork. Upon check-in, there’ll be paperwork and forms that you finish. Use the time your dog is being stabilized and assessed to finish those measures, for your pet can be entered into the system as economically as you can.
  • Know that GDV will need surgery to fix, especially a process known as a”gastropexy.” As with any surgery, complications may arise.

Things to Do After Your Dog Comes Home From the Hospital

  • Prepare a small, restricted space. It is crucial for your pet’s recovery process their movements and actions become restricted after GDV operation. Prepare a crate or small pencil for them in your home. You can find some thoughts within our How to Establish a Safe Space for Your pet post.
  • Watch for post-surgery complications like infection, inflammation, and lack of appetite, nausea, and pain. Complications can arise or even weeks following the operation. If your pet is behaving abnormally, or if you’re otherwise worried after GDV operation, then do not be afraid to contact your vet or the hospital in which the operation was done.

What You Can Do to Help Prevent Future Bloat

Preventing Future Bloat / GDV Episodes

We do understand that strain, family background, anxiety (such as a fast/nervous eating mood ), and the frequency and quantity you feed all play a part in GDV/Bloat.

Regrettably, we do not know all the elements which could result in the evolution of the state in most dogs with complete certainty. There’s continuing research into this topic and, paradoxically, one variable that was formerly believed to reduce risk of GDV/Bloat – ingesting out of an elevated bowl – seems to improve it!

If your pet has survived Bloat, there are steps you can take to help prevent another incident. The gastropexy operation your dog will experience ought to stop the stomach from twisting again. Though it can nevertheless distend:

Speak with your Vet:

Work with your vet to decide whether there’s an identifiable (and treatable) illness that led to a pet’s GDV/Bloat episode. Factors such as inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, and other ailments that slow down bowel movement may promote the evolution of GDV/Bloat.

Little Portions:

Eat several, small meals throughout the day, instead of one big meal every day, or perhaps multiple big meals.

Reduce Anxiety:

Reduce anxiety to your dog, particularly around ingestion time. If your pet is protective of the meal and scarfs it quickly to stop your pet from getting to it, then think about separating your dogs through feedings so everybody can consume more peacefully.

Slow Down Eating:

In case your dog gorges down on his meals quickly, even in the absence of some other dogs or other perceived dangers around him, then slow down their speed of eating by feeding them out of an interactive/puzzle feeder. The puzzle bowl below is our favorite.

They’re easy to clean, long-lasting, and ought to slow down your pet’s consumption considerably. Additionally, they pose an assortment of difficulty levels so that you can discover a feeder to the dog which will not be overly frustrating.

The Outward Hound Slow Feeder Bowl motivates your puppy to consume up to ten times slower using its mystery layout. It has a two-cup capacity, as well as a non-slip foundation that make it an enjoyable and interactive way for your dog to munch on their meal. It comes in 3 different sizes and 5 styles, which can help you find the perfect bowl that matches your dog’s personality and way of eating. Having your dog slow down with their food intake with this bowl can prevent choking and help with digestion, thus minimizing the chances of bloating and aid in their weight loss diet.

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Can a dog with bloat still poop?

Bloat, or gastric torsion, can be fatal unless treated as an emergency. Your dog will try to vomit, and will often try to pass feces. Often straining will only produce diarrhea, but he will keep trying due to his stomach being so uncomfortable.

Does drinking water help with bloating?

The only thing that can help bloating is your veterinarian, but drinking water may help flush out the toxins that are building up

How can I tell if my dog is suffering?

If you know your dog, it doesn't take much to spot if he is suffering. Does he look anxious and unsettled, wanting a lot of reassurance, or whining and whimpering? If you're concerned, always contact your veterinarian.