I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whoooooole Thing

Meet my buddy George. George ate the whole damn thing. This time, for real. His vet bill proves it.

No one believed he could do it.

The humans were having a party and the guests had not yet arrived. Everything was ready except the humans, so they went upstairs. Just for a flash. Maybe to put on some under-eye concealer, or maybe to change a belt. They were gone a little longer than they thought.

When they returned, the ham was gone. The whole damn ham.

George ate it. Like, INHALED it. No one believed he could do it that fast, but he did.

His humans banished him to the back. That’s when he started racing the horses in the pasture.

Gastric Dilation and Vovulus Syndrome (GDV). Gastric torsion. Stomach dilatation. Twisted stomach. Stomach flip. The names go on… That’s what the pedigreed people with initials after their names call it.

Bloat. That’s what I call it. Plain and simple.

Bloat.

Not like your period. Not like you ate gluten. Not like you drank too much wine. Not like you pigged out on French fries. Not like any kind of human bloat. Dog bloat is different.

Dog bloat is a killer.

I almost lost my buddy George.

The thing you need know is that bloat is a real danger. It can sneak up on your wagger without notice and sometimes you’ll never know exactly what caused it. While it impacts a lot of the larger breeds, it can impact smaller ones, too. A common risk factor seems to be deep-chested breeds, such as German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers. The stomach turns inside your dog and gas can’t get out. Although not fool proof, there are a few things you can do that may help prevent it.

Here are some likely causes and some prevention tips for your human:

  • Chugging down your chow and water too fast.
    • Waggers should eat normal portions on a regular schedule
    • If your wagger is a water dog and likes to swim, be careful if he takes in too much of the lake! Have your dog take breaks.
  • Exercising around meals.
    • Give dogs time to digest their food before you take them for exercise. (Don’t take your dog out on a run after a meal. Wait a couple hours after eating or maybe a little more before you throw a stick out in the lake for your wagger to fetch. After-meal siestas are a thing now anyway, or they should be.)
    • Let your dog rest after they exercise and before they eat.
  • Deep-chested waggers and bloat-prone breeds.
    • If bloat is a particular risk factor for your dog’s breed, you can discuss the pros and cons of a procedure called Gastropexy with your vet. Gastropexy surgically adheres the stomach to the the diaphragm wall in order to prevent bloat and according to my vet, decreases the chances of GDV by 5%-10%.

Here are the symptoms:

  • Swollen Abdomen
  • Labored breathing and panting
  • Drooling
  • Pacing
  • Dry heaves without any actual vomit
  • Sounds that indicate your dog is in pain

This is what you do:

Get your dog to an emergency clinic right away. Bloat is deadly.

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Photo by Dominik QN on Unsplash