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Bloat in Dogs: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

If your dog’s stomach is bloated, or if they’re anxious, pacing, or repeatedly trying to vomit with no luck — or with just a bunch of saliva coming back up — they are likely suffering from Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV), also known as "Stomach Torsion," or “Dog Bloat.” 

Any dog can suffer from GDV, so it’s important that you recognize this condition and act quickly. GDV is painful and distressing and will be fatal if not treated by your veterinarian promptly.

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Topics: Stomach Bloat, Torsion, Dog Emergency, GDV, Bloat, Dog, Dog Health & Safety

How to Exercise Your Dog Indoors

Cabin Fever: Is Your Dog Going Stir-Crazy?

It’s pouring down rain outside and you’ve got an antsy dog on your hands. What are you to do? You could dress to the nines in your rain gear, take a miserably wet walk outside, and then have to deal with dripping clothes, toweling off your dog, and that lingering ‘wet dog’ odor. Alternately, you could stay warm and dry by entertaining your dog with some indoor exercise and stimulation games.

Ready, set, go!

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Topics: Dog Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, Crate Training, GDV, Bloat, Puppies, Dog toys, Potty Training

Your Dog A Food Gobbler? How to Safely Slow Down Your Dog's Eating.

Interactive Feeders May Just Be The Trick

Just like for us, eating food slowly and chewing it before swallowing it is better for our dog's health. Feeding your dog from an interactive feeder or toy, rather than a standard bowl, may be perfect for them.

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Topics: Dog Training, Signs of Bloat, GDV, Dog, Dog Food, Food Bloat, Feeding Bowls, Dog toys

Storing Your Dog Kibble – Safely

How do you store your dog’s kibble? Do you keep it in its original bag? Or empty it into another container?

You’ve probably only thought about this question before in terms of the freshness of the dog food, if at all. Right? Well, while that’s indeed an important consideration, did you know there are legitimate safety aspects that should also influence your decision?

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Topics: pet safety tips, pet safety, GDV, Dog Behavior, Gastric Dilatation, Blog, Pet Suffocation, Dog Tips, Dog Food, Food Bloat, Storing Kibble

Does Giving Ice Water to a Dog Cause Bloat?

Quite a few people have emailed me in the last couple of days regarding a certain blog post that seems to be making the rounds again - it’s an article from 2007 warning about the supposed danger of giving ice water to dogs.

The author claims - quite emphatically - that drinking ice water caused her dog, “Baran”, to bloat.

While the author’s heart is likely in the right place, her facts and the conclusion she arrives at (and sadly propagated since 2007) are way off base.

First of all, if Baran even bloated, which, based upon the reported findings at surgery (“Baran’s stomach was in its normal anatomic position”), is seriously in doubt - it’s far more likely that it was caused by drinking a large volume of water in a short space of time following exercise than it was to the cold temperature of said water. But sadly, many of the important details are left out of the story.

The greater likelihood is that Baran was suffering from heat-related illness, probably heat exhaustion. It was this that caused him to drink so much water in such a short space of time, which can easily lead to nausea, which itself can show the reported signs of “dry heaving and drooling” and “was in some distress”. Yes, these are common signs of bloat in dogs - but it’s not the only condition they are associated with.

From here, the validity of the story unravels even further. While it is definitely correct to bring a dog exhibiting these signs directly to the vet, it is unlikely that the attending veterinary teams would have handled the situation the way the author describes.

One of the key statements that undermines the series of events as the author describes them is, again, the surgical findings… the “stomach was in its normal anatomic position”. Unless the stomach spontaneously derotated, which is possible, though highly unlikely, there was never any torsion (stomach twist) in the first place, and X-rays taken at the time of presentation at the first vet hospital and/or at the emergency clinic would have shown this. And if these X-rays showed gas accumulation, the “bloat” (dilatation) that the owner claims in the story, the attending veterinarian would have decompressed the stomach via stomach tube - not surgery.

Sadly, there are many holes in this story, this is just one (albeit a big one). And I’m not the only vet to debunk this story, you can read Dr. Patty Khuly’s response or Dr. Audry Harvey’s. These are just two other examples, there are many more. In fact, even Snopes.com, the wonderful “urban myth hole poker”, has a nice long article on this story.

But again, the goal is to educate, and the author’s heart is in the right place - spreading awareness of canine bloat (better called GDV, or Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus) is crucially important. So let’s capitalize on the popularity of this story and spread some real knowledge about GDV/Bloat, and let’s go a step further and spread some real knowledge about heat-related illness in dogs, too. After all, the erroneous advice and conclusion of the story doesn’t diminish the real dangers of GDV/Bloat and heat-related illness in pets. So please, read and share the information I’m presenting below - and especially do so if you made the mistake of previously sharing the erroneous story that prompted this post. If this factual information gets as many shares as the original story we’ll all have saved an awful lot of lives, and an awful lot of pet owner stress.

Learn more about GDV/Bloat.

Learn more about Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke.

Ironically, there is a very real danger related to givin

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Topics: Dog Safety, Dog Health, Torsion, GDV, Risks for GDV, Bloat, Treatment for GDV, Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stress, Heat Stroke, Dog, Dog's stomach, volvulus, Gastric Dilatation, Is ice water bad for dogs, Blog

Help! What Should I Do if My Dog Bloats? Treatment for Bloat, Torsion, and GDV in Dogs

If you’ve read my other articles on GDV/Bloat in dogs – Understanding Bloat, Is My Dog at Risk of Bloat?, and Signs of GDV/Bloat in Dogs – you might be wondering if there is anything you can do at home? Sadly, the answer truly is… not really and, certainly, not reliably.

If you suspect GDV/Bloat, your dog needs to be brought for IMMEDIATE veterinary evaluation. Some people talk about giving certain over-the-counter medications to your dog in the earlier stages of GDV/Bloat, but honestly, doing so can make matters worse and the time it takes to do so may just be the difference between your dog living and dying. So, unless you are very familiar with this condition, and your veterinarian has instructed you otherwise, don't bother with any over-the-counter medications at home… just proceed directly to professional veterinary evaluation and treatment.

Even if you're concerned about the costs of appropriately treating a case of GDV/Bloat (more info on that in a minute), your dog should still be brought to the vet if you suspect this condition. If confirmed, and appropriate treatment cannot be authorized - for financial or other reasons - your suffering dog can be humanely euthanized at the vet's office, rather than left to languish and suffer the miserable death of GDV/Bloat. Please, don't trifle with this condition. Your dog deserves better.

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Topics: Torsion, Treatment for Bloat, Dog Emergency, GDV, Bloat, Treatment for GDV, Gastropexy

Help! My Dog's Stomach is Bloated! Signs of Bloat, Torsion, and GDV in Dogs

Bloat, torsion, and GDV can affect any dog and these conditions can be fatal, so it is important to be aware of these conditions as well as prepared for what to do in case of a GDV/Bloat emergency.

This current article will help you recognize and understand the signs of GDV/Bloat in dogs. This will be a very frank, honest, and, at times, seemingly "cold" conversation about this condition. Presenting it in this way though is truly the best way to help you and your dog, and it's far better for you to know and face this information now, rather than once GDV has already happened and you and your dog are at the Animal ER. So, without further ado, let's jump right in…

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Topics: Signs of Bloat, Stomach Bloat, Torsion, Dog Emergency, GDV, Bloat

Is My Dog at Risk for Canine Bloat, Torsion, and GDV?

The short answer to the question in the title is "yes"

But it is relative, and the "short answers" are often not the best.

While every dog owner should be aware of GDV, it is true that there are certain dogs - either because of their breed, lineage, general disposition, or possession of one or more of the other "predisposing factors"—who are at higher risk of suffering from it. If your dog fits any of these descriptions, be sure to read all of my GDV/Bloat articles and be extra alert. Again, what's most important here is to appreciate that any breed and any size of dog can suffer from GDV—so every dog owner should educate him or herself!

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Topics: Stomach Bloat, Torsion, Dog Emergency, GDV, Risks for GDV, Bloat, Gordon Setter, Standard Poodle, Basset Hound, Irish Setter, St. Bernard, Weimaraner, Great Dane, Boxers, Bernese Mountain Dog, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Blog

Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

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