For owners who know what it is, dog bloat is one of those things constantly on their mind. It’s a medical emergency that needs to be addressed by a vet immediately. It will require surgery to fix or it will cause death within hours.
We don’t mean to scare you, but it is a very serious medical emergency.
The medical term for bloat is Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GVD). It’s caused when the stomach fills with air, food or fluid and then twists over or flips on itself. This causes loss of circulation to the digestive system and also doesn’t allow for food to pass or digest properly.
Thankfully, the survival rate is quite high when bloat is caught quickly and there are some things you can do at home to help prevent it.
How Toys can Help Prevent Dog Bloat
One of the biggest culprits of bloat is your dog gulping air while eating. They get a big mouthful of food and in doing so can also ingest a lot of air. The stomach will become overly full with air and then twist.
To prevent this, you can use a toy like our Fenrir Hammer as a slow feeder. There are other things like puzzle bowls and snuffle mats as well. The important thing is that it works for your dog and it gets them to slow down while eating.
Instead of being able to take a huge mouthful of food all at once, they’ll only be able to pick up a few at a time. Toys that can be stuffed like our hammer are especially good for this, because your dog will have to knock the kibble out of it. It will force them to slow down and only grab a kibble or two at a time.
This is especially helpful if you’ve got a dog who is smart enough to spill a puzzle bowl or pick up and shake out a snuffle mat to get the food more quickly.
Slowing how quickly they eat does two things: It gives their stomach time to settle between bites, because taking in too much food at once can cause bloat, and it limits the amount of air swallowed as that is also a source of bloat.
How to Identify Dog Bloat
Now that you know how to prevent bloat, let’s look at some of the symptoms to be on the lookout for. If your dog is retching, but unable to vomit this could be a sign of bloat. As the stomach is twisted, food is unable to enter or exit the stomach.
They also may be drooling. This is often a symptom of nausea. Be on the lookout for drooling paired with panting and restlessness. Your dog may be in discomfort and unable to sit still. They’ll shift around a lot or pace, but won’t want to lie down properly as their stomach hurts.
The most prominent sign is a swollen belly that is painful and hard to the touch. This happens because gas is trapped in the stomach and cannot escape. If any of these signs are present, it’s better to be safe than sorry and take your dog to the vet as soon as pozzible.