Preventing Stomach Bloat in Dogs

Stomach bloat in dogs-when the stomach is bloated with dilated with air, food or water-is not only uncomfortable for a dog, but potentially fatal. Bloating causes intestinal upset, and a dog's discomfort can be seen by vomiting or retching, or anxious pacing.

Causes of Stomach Bloat in Dogs

Stomach bloat in dogs is believed to be caused by:

  • rapid eating
  • elevated food bowls
  • dry foods that contain citric acid as a preservative
  • dry foods that contain fat among the first four ingredients
  • insufficient pancreatic enzymes
  • dilution of gastric juices necessary for complete digestion, due to drinking too much water before or after eating,
  • eating gas-producing foods,
  • drinking too much water too quickly,
  • extreme stress or excitement
  • hereditary factors

Tips to Prevent Stomach Bloat in Dogs

  • If you own a breed which is already susceptible to bloat, be aware of the early signs.
  • Large breeds should be fed two or three times a day rather than just once.
  • Have fresh, clean water available at all times but limit access directly after feeding.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise and extreme stress or excitement one hour before and two hours after eating.
  • Feed dogs individually and in a quiet area.
  • Elevated feeders may or may not add to the risk, however, they are not recommended for breeds already susceptible to bloat.
  • Any change in diet should be made over a period of three to five days.
  • Despite all the precautions, a dog may still develop bloat due to being genetically predisposed.