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Bloat

Any dog can get bloat, but larger dogs with deep chests are more likely to get it. A dog with bloat has a painful, distended abdomen, acts restless and may try to vimite or defecate. If the stomach twists, he may die from shock, so if your dog shows symptoms of bloat, get him to the vet immediately.

The cause of bloat isnt clear, but it may have to do with dogs gulping air when they eat too fast or get excited. As the stomach swells, it presses against other organs and large blood vessels, which interferes with bloodflow. The trapped gas can also make the stomach twist- a condition called volvulus, or torsion- so that the built up pressure can't escape up the throat or through the bowels. The twist also compresses the vent that returns blood to the heart and cuts off blood supply to the stomach and other organs like the spleen.

The first thing to do is CALL YOUR VET if you suspect your dog has bloat. A dog will go into shock very quickly when his somach twists, and shock can kill in as little as 10 to 20 minutes. Besides the distended abdomen, you'll see that his gums are pale, and he may be weak and woozy. It's important to keep the dog warm to combat the shock. Wrap him in a warm blanket and turn on the heat in the car while you're taking him to the vet. You can also put a drop or two of Kary syrup or honey on his gums to help keep him conscious.

If your dog needs emergency surgery to untwist his stomach and remove damaged tissue, usually the surgeon attaches the stomach to the body wal to help revent a relapse. You'll need to keep the incision line clean. Dampen a guaze pad with warm water and wipe away any drainage from the area surrounding the incision, but don't wipe the incision itself.

If your dog has had surgery, it's a good idea to take his temperature every day for the first week just to make sure there is no infection. Normal dog temperature ranges from about 100-102 degrees F. A fever means that your veterinarian may need to prescribe antibiotics.

About 6 percent of dogs who suffer one episode of bloat will relapse, even after surgery. Reduce the chance of a repeat by feeding your dog very small amounts of food spread over the entire day. This will reduce his tendency to gorge. Do NOT feeed one giant meal at a time.

Change your dogs diet to a low-fiber food. Some kinds of fiber tend to ferment and release gas once in the stomach, and this may increase the risk of a relapse.

Dogs who worry about other animals stealing their food tend to gulp it quickly and swallow air. Feed your dog by himself, away from competition. Try adding water to dry food so that it swells before it's swallowed and won't expand so much once it's in yoru dog's stomach. Some also recommend feeding large breeds out of a elevated food dish.

Restricting water and exercise just before and after meals doesn't decrease the risk of bloat, so it's best to give your dog moderate portions of food and exercise throughout the day.

The breeders that are more prone to getting bloat are the Rottweiler, Weimaraner, Great Dane, Doberman Pinscher, Old English Sheepdog, Great Pyrenees and other deep-chested breeds.