Bloating Medication for Dogs

Bloat is a serious condition for dogs but with bloating medication, they can make a fast recovery and continue living a good quality of life. This condition is the second biggest killer of dogs after cancer but if caught quickly it can be treated. Although any dog can develop bloat, German Shepherds, Dobermans and Great Danes are most at risk of developing the condition.

The Causes of Bloating in Dogs

The medical name for bloat is Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (or GDV). The condition occurs when air, food and gas accumulates in the stomach cavity. Sometimes, if the stomach becomes bloated, it can twist between the oesophagus, where the food enters the stomach, and the small intestine, which is where it leaves again. This twisting traps air, food and water in the stomach.

The swelling of the stomach constricts the blood vessels in the abdomen. This can result in low blood pressure and damage to your dog's internal organs. It can also cause your dog to go into shock and death can occur fairly quickly.

Common causes of bloat are:

  • Unhealthy eating habits (usually eating or drinking too quickly)
  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Exercising just before or after eating
  • Breed and stature - older and larger dogs are more likely to develop the condition

The symptoms of bloat are:

  • Restlessness and pacing
  • Change in behaviour or demeanour
  • Attempting to vomit (usually unsuccessfully although sometimes foam or mucous might be produced)
  • Bloated abdomen that feels tight to the touch
  • Lack of normal ‘digestive' sounds in the stomach, e.g. gurgling.
  • Change in the colour of the gums
  • Excessive salivation and drooling
  • Coughing
  • Whining and licking the air
  • Excessive drinking
  • Shallow breathing or panting

If your dog exhibits any of the symptoms of bloat or you think he may be suffering from the condition, it is crucial to seek the advice of a vet immediately as this condition can become life-threatening very quickly.

Medications that Help Bloating

The kind of medication your dog will be given will depend on how serious his condition is and how he has reacted to the bloat. Often, the condition causes dogs to go into shock. In these cases, vets will often administer steroids to treat this. They may also give your dog antibiotics.

Sometimes, dogs who are suffering from bloat can develop a heart irregularity called an arrhythmia. The vet will probably give your dog an ECG to see if this is the case and administer anti-arrhythmia medication if they feel your dog is at risk of a heart condition too.

Once any additional symptoms have been treated, the vet will treat the bloat itself. Usually this is done with a stomach tube, which flushes out any trapped air, food and water.

What To Do After Your Dog Is Treated

As previously stated, bloat is a very serious condition. 25 to 30% of dogs who receive treatment can still die. If your dog has suffered twisting of the stomach because of bloat, the vet will perform surgery to add sutures to the stomach to prevent the twisting from happening again.

Your dog may take a while to recover from an episode of bloat but provided the condition is treated early enough and with the right medication, he can continue to live a long and healthy life afterwards.