What is bloat? Bloat is a serious condition where the intestine(s) or stomach twists or is in torsion stopping all digestion and allowing the stomach and or intestinal track to fill up with gas, swelling the area causing severe pain and if not caught quickly, leads to death.
This is fairly common in most large breeds. The Old English Mastiff, Great Danes, Saint Bernards and the Neapolitan Mastiff.
What are the causes of bloat? This has been a heavily discussed topic and there are no science backed proven data on it yet. There have been studies showing that hot temperatures, type of foods, feeding procedures, genetics, exercise, water drinking and stress could be causes.
In almost 18 years in the breed, I have lost my babies to bloat and have personally read, hundreds of articles and studies and have made changes in the way I approach bloat with a focus on prevention.
After many years of experience, discussions with multiple breeders and hundreds of articles I've found several techniques that have proven helpful. 1. Feeding a high quality kibble with very little corn. This helps eliminate the swelling of food consumed once in their bowels. 2. Elevated feeding. Keeping their food and water bowls elevated to a standing position to promote slower eating and better positioning to help eliminate large amounts of air with the food. 3. Surgically tacking down the stomach. This is a physical way of ensuring the stomach doesn't flip. 4. Eliminating food consumption during peak heat times in the day. If a dog consumes food at peak heat times, they will also be prone to consuming large amounts of water with it which can also lead to bloat. 5. Feeding two or more times a day or allow grazing throughout the day has shown to be helpful as your dog wont be prone to eating a huge amount quickly. 6. Eliminate heavy exercise after eating. If a dog has a large meal and is allowed to play rough with another animal or do heavy exercise right after eating studies have shown elevated cases of bloat. 7. Eliminate stress. There isn't alot of data on this topic yet but its a newer idea that may be very valid. Try to eliminate heavy stress on your dog such as heavy traveling without owner interaction, near bitch in heat where the stud can see a bitch in heat but cant get access to her, boarding without interaction or surgery without heavy interaction with the owners. 8. Avoid purchasing dogs where both parents and possible grandparents have died or have multiple cases of death by bloat on both sides of the lineage.
Should you ever assume your dog is going through the bloat process, stop what you're doing immediately and rush them to an animal hospital. Time is of the essence and you can lose them quickly. Some signs of bloat could be swelling of the stomach, unusual drooling with unresponsiveness. Consult licensed veterinarian for more information on this topic.
I hope these helpful remedies are helpful to you and your wonderful pets. I never want to see anyone or any pet go through this and am happy to share these remedies with all of you. I wish you all many years of fun and love with your dogs and hope to see you in the ring one day.
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