What is Bloat in Dogs?
Bloat. One word that strikes terror into the heart of many a pet owner.
Bloat is a common and serious condition, where an animal’s stomach becomes distended or rotated due to excess gas buildup. When an owner spots the symptoms of bloat, it is time to rush to see your vet! The scariest part for many owners is not knowing exactly what to look for to know if their dog is experiencing general discomfort or signs of bloat.
Many people are aware of what bloat is, but what causes it? For a long time there were tips passed from person to person on how to prevent bloat, including not letting them run for 30 minutes after eating to raising their food bowls so there is less torsion in the neck while they eat.
Finally, in a study by Dr. Larry Glickman from Purdue University, they collected data on almost 2,000 dogs to study risk factors associated with bloat. A few of these are common knowledge and others are surprising! We’ve summarized it below:
- Specific Breeds (Great Dane, GSD, Poodle, Boxer, and other narrow deep chested breeds) are at higher risk for bloat. There is a specific ratio of chest width to chest depth that determines how increased the risk is.
- Lean dogs are more at risk than overweight dogs.
- Older dogs are more at risk.
- Raising the height of the food and water bowls increases the risk
- Nervous, fearful or aggressive dogs are at an increased risk (including increased risk after kenneling, long car rides or other stressful events). Dogs labeled “Happy” by owners were less at risk.
- Feeding Dry Food Only or a single large daily meal increases the risk of bloat.
- Dogs fed dry foods containing fat among the first 4 ingredients had a higher risk.
- Dogs fed dry foods containing citric acid and were moistened prior to feeding had a much higher risk of bloat.
- Feeding a dry food containing a rendered meat-and-bone meal DECREASED the risk.