Deep chested dogs who look narrow from above but have a lot of space between their backbone and sternum are more prone to bloat, says Dr. Kizzy English, medical director at VCA Urgent Care in Colorado.
Top dog breeds prone to bloat include:
- Great Danes
- Setter breeds, such as the Irish Setter, English Setter and Gordon Setter
What is dog bloat and why does it happen?
Bloat happens when a dog’s stomach fills with gas or food and stretches to the point of causing severe pain. When this happens, the stomach bloats but also twists, which can cut off blood supply and prevent any gas or food from exiting, Dr. English explains. A twisted stomach is an emergency situation requiring surgical intervention.
“We know some things increase the risk, but there’s no definite answer for why some dogs bloat, and others do not,” says Dr. English. “Some factors that may increase the chances of bloating are: getting older, eating too quickly, exercising immediately after eating or having a family history of bloat.”
Signs and symptoms of dog bloating
Know what warning signs to look for because bloat requires immediate medical care.
Signs of bloat in dogs include:
- your dog’s belly suddenly appears large or hard
- your dog is trying to vomit but nothing is coming out
- your dog shows signs of pain, indicating to seek medical care as soon as possible.
A veterinarian will order an X-ray or ultrasound to figure out how severe the condition is and the next steps. Treatment typically includes medications or fluids to reduce the pressure. For a twisted stomach, surgery is necessary.
Preventing dog bloat
If you have a large or deep-chested breed prone to bloat, a surgical procedure called a gastropexy, which tacks the stomach to the body wall to prevent twisting, is often recommended at the same time as a spay, neuter or other surgical procedure.
To learn more about bloat in dogs, read our article What is Bloat and is it a True Emergency?