Bloat in dogs

A Simple Guide to Bloat

Gastric dilation-Volvulus (GDV) commonly known as bloat, stomach torsion or twisted stomach, is an extremely serious and life threatening condition. If an owner suspects their dog has bloat they must get to a vet as quickly as they can, there is no home remedy for bloat and as many as 30% of dogs will die from it.

What is bloat?

One part of the condition is the gastric dilation or the “bloating” of the stomach and the other part is the Volvulus or torsion of the stomach. There are many different reasons that bloat can occur, sometimes the reasons are unknown; the stomach fills with air and puts pressure on the other organs and diaphragm. This pressure will make it difficult for your dog to breathe, as well as compressing large veins in the abdomen preventing blood from returning to the heart. When the stomach is filled with air; it can easily rotate on itself and cut of its own bloody supply, once this happens the dogs condition will rapidly deteriorate.


What breeds are susceptible?

As much as is unknown about bloat there is a clear correlation between bloat and build of the dog. It is much more likely to occur in larger breeds with deep and narrow chests. It can occur in small dogs but very rarely.

Great Dane
Saint Bernard
Irish Setter
Gordon Setter
Standard Poodle
Basset Hound
German Shepherd

Are just a few of the breeds that are susceptible, please do more research into your own breed to ensure you can prevent bloat!

What makes bloat more likely?

Genetic predisposition – if the parents have deep and narrow chests then its more likely for the offspring to also have these features. These as mentioned above makes bloat more likely.
Age – dogs over 7 years of age are twice as likely to develop bloat.
Gender – male dogs are more likely to develop bloat, neutering does not appear to have any affect on the risk.
Temperament – dogs that tend to be nervous, anxious or fearful appear to be at an increased risk of developing bloat.
Eating habits – Dogs that are fed twice per day are less likely to develop bloat then those who are fed once per day. Those who eat rapidly are more at risk
Exercise – Dogs who eat too soon after a meal are more likely to develop bloat


Abdominal Distension – swollen belly
Non-productive vomiting – retching but not bringing any material up
Abdominal pain
Rapid shallow breathing
Profuse salivation

Symptoms that show Volvulus could have occurred

Dog has gone into shock and gone pale
Weak pulse
Rapid heart rate

This video not produced by myself; brilliantly shows a dog in the middle of bloat. He survived but was in foster care with people who did not know about bloat. Share this post so more people know about Bloat


Report all early signs to a veterinarian as soon as possible
Develop a good working relationship with your local vet incase emergency care is needed
Feed large dogs two or three times per day
Water should be available at all times, but limited immediately after feeding
Vigorous exercise, excitement and or stress should be avoided for one hour before and after meals
Diet changes should be made gradually over a period of up to 5 days
It is recommended that dogs with increased risk should be fed at floor level and not with a raised feeder
Some studies have associated food particle size, fat content, moistening of foods containing citric acid with bloat. At this time no concrete evidence has been found or verified
Dogs who have survived bloat are at in increased risk of developing bloat again
Bloat is a life threatening condition that most commonly affects large; deep and narrow chested dogs. If you suspect any of these signs and symptoms in your dog, seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.


I apologise for this being a wordy post, but as you’ve read above Bloat is very serious and for us is very real. 72% Akitas die from Bloat, we are always trying to prevent it!

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  • karly

    Great info! One of the more common reasons for a twisted stomach is if they carry out strenuous exercise immediately after eating. Dogs should go for a walk half an hour if not an hour after they eat to give the stomach time to digest.

    • Walking with the Pack

      Thank you! I always leave it an hour before or after exercise; before eating just to be on the safe side. Especially as our breeds are susceptible to bloat.

  • irenemchugh

    Crucial information for anyone who’s in contact with dogs. I feel like I should read about bloat at least once a month as reinforcement. The length of your post seemed just right to me to cover this important topic plus your sub-headlines make it easy to hone in on the information anyone might want to review quickly, like the symptoms.

    • Walking with the Pack

      Thank you! I like to make my posts as simple to read for the reader, I find it makes reading them more enjoyable 🙂

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