A study published in Veterinary Surgery in 1996 estimated that 40,000 to 60,000 dogs in the United States are affected with GDV each year with a mortality rate of up to 33 percent. The US dog population is approximately 90 million, so this suggests that a dog has a 1 in 2,250 chance of contracting this condition, or 1 in 200 over a 12 year life.

In most cases of bloat the gas can actually shift after about 30 minutes. Try slowly walking your dog on the lead or gently massaging his belly to relieve some of the pressure. It’s a great sign if you hear him burp or fart because it means that the gas is leaving his stomach.

Dog bloat home treatment is not recommended, as it is a difficult procedure that can go wrong very easily. Put all your efforts into getting you dog to the vets as quickly as you can if you feel he needs immediate attention

Bloat in dogs, also known as gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), is when the stomach twists (anywhere from 180 degrees to a full 360 degrees) and fills with gas closing the entry to and exit from the stomach. There is no way for the air built up in your dog’s belly to get out. Air can’t get out, neither can the fluids, foods or gasses.

These gases build up, causing the belly to extend. This puts pressure on his diaphragm and makes it hard to breathe. The pressure also cuts off return blood flow to the heart. At this point, shock sets in. All of this can happen in as little as 20 minutes.

What Causes Bloat In Dogs?

Common causes of bloat in dogs include:

  • Eating too quickly (inhaling rather than chewing)
  • Eating one large meal a day rather than 2 or three small ones
  • A diet of dry food only
  • Too much exercise after eating
  • Overeating
  • Overdrinking
  • Stress

Dogs who are most at risk to bloat or GDV include:

  • Large or giant breeds (although any dog breed can bloat)
  • Dogs with deep chests
  • Middle aged or older dogs
  • Dogs who eat from a raised food bowl
  • Dogs with first-degree relative who regularly bloat (i.e parents or littermates)
  • Dogs who are underweight
  • Nervous dogs
  • It is more likely to affect older, larger and male dogs

Dog breeds that are most susceptible to bloat include :

Bernese Mountain Dog, Boxer, Doberman , Flat Coated Retriever , German Shepherd Dog, Great Dane, Irish Setter , Labrador Retriever , Newfoundland , Weimaraner,

but all breeds of any size can be affected.

What are the symptoms?

The signs to look out for are

  1. Excessive saliva/ “lip smacking”
  2. Hard distended /bloated abdomen
  3. Harddistended or bloated abdomen:
  4. Unproductive retching: unproductive retching is almost always an urgent sign of GDV/Bloat in dogs.
  5. Pacing and restlessness: In the later stages, your dog's pacing and restlessness will deteriorate to staggering, collapse, and decreased responsiveness.
  6. Fast, heavy, or otherwise difficult breathing:. The pain and distress caused by the condition also contributes to these breathing changes. 
  7. Rapid heart and pulse rate
  8. Collapse: typically a very late sign of GDV. Often, by the time an affected dog collapses, the condition has been going on for quite some time. If your dog collapses, for any reason, bring them to a veterinarian immediately.


What preventative measures can you take?


  1. Making sure that your dog is healthy and the correct weight is the first factor to address. Weigh your dog regularly and change how much you are feeding him accordingly. If you are unsure, your vets will be able to tell you how much your dog should weigh.
  2. If your dog is on a dry food only diet, introduce canned food. Make sure that your dog is not drinking too much water. Better still, consider moving from kibble – there are lots of good reasons to do this, quite apart from bloat!!
  3. Try feeding your dog a few small meals a day rather than the standard of one or two large meals a day. This might help to prevent your dog from overeating or eating too fast, but make sure that you don’t end up feeding your dog more overall in one day than you did before.
  4. Slow down his rate of eating. Look at products that help to prevent your dog from eating too fast. These products make dogs work hard for their food. It prevents them taking massive mouthfuls or swallowing big gulps of air as they eat, and it takes them a lot longer to finish eating which means that the food is digested better.
  5. Make sure that you feed him from a normal sized bowl on the floor.
  6. Avoid taking your dog outside for strenuous exercise 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. You must make sure that your dog has enough energy for a long walk, but you must also allow time for your dog to digest his dinner
Reduce Stress: Decrease stress for your dog, especially around eating time. If your dog is protective of their food and scarfs it rapidly to prevent your other dogs from getting to it, consider separating your dogs during feedings so everyone can eat more calmly.