What Is Bloat?
Bloat is a life-threatening condition that acts rapidly and can lead to death within hours if not recognized and treated immediately. Unfortunately, the cause of bloat remains unknown at this time.
The scientific term for bloat is gastric dilatation-volvulus or GDV. Bloat is characterized by rapid and abnormal expansion of the stomach with gas (dilatation). This can be followed by rotation of the stomach (volvulus). This rotation closes both the entry to and exit from the stomach. The blood vessels also are closed down, and blood flow is restricted.
What follows is an increase in pressure inside the stomach and compression of the surrounding organs. Eventually, shock will occur as a result of the restricted blood flow. Here are a few key facts about bloat:
- Bloat should always be treated as a medical emergency.
- Bloat can kill a dog within hours after onset.
- The cause of bloat is unknown.
- Bloat affects 36,000 dogs in the United States each year; 30% die as a result of this condition.
- Bloat can occur in dogs of any age.
- Certain breeds are more susceptible to bloat, particularly deep-chested dogs.
- The stomach rapidly expands with gas then rotates on the long axis. Entry to and exit from the stomach is prohibited, causing blood vessels to close and restriction of blood flow.
Signs of Bloat
Bloat is a true medical emergency, and early identification and treatment is critical to survival.
In the early stages of bloat, the dog will be very uncomfortable. You might see him pacing and whining or trying unsuccessfully to get into a comfortable position. He might seem anxious, might lick or keep staring at his stomach, and might attempt to vomit, without success.
Other indications of bloat can include weakness, swelling of the abdomen, and even signs of shock. Signs of shock are increased heart rate and abnormally rapid breathing.
If you notice these signs, call your veterinarian immediately!
- Inability to get comfortable
- Pacing or restlessness
- Pale gums
- Unproductive attempts to vomit
- Abnormally rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Pain, weakness
- Swelling of the abdomen (particularly the left side)
Helping Prevent Bloat
These suggestions could help you prevent bloat in your dog. However, they are based on suspected risk factors and are not guaranteed to prevent the onset of bloat.
- Feed small amounts of food frequently, two to three times daily.
- Avoid exercise for one hour before and two hours after meals.
- Don't let your dog drink large amounts of water just before or after eating or exercise.
- If you have two or more dogs, feed them separately to avoid rapid, stressful eating.
- If possible, feed at times when after-feeding behavior can be observed.
- Avoid abrupt diet changes.
- If you see signs of bloat, call your veterinarian immediately.
Another way you might help prevent bloat is to feed a high-quality, highly digestible food with normal fiber levels.
Feeding management offers the best method available for reducing risk until the exact cause of bloat can be identified. Although not 100% effective, these measures can reduce the number of dogs that face this serious, life-threatening condition.
- German Shepherd
- Bouvier de Flandres
- Great Dane
- St. Bernard
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Irish Setter
- Gordon Setter
- Irish Wolfhound
- Labrador Retriever
- Basset Hound
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German Shepherd Dogs are one of the most loved breeds in the world! They're incredibly smart, versatile and learn new behaviors quickly. If that wasn't enough, they're also faithful companions that are very protective of their families.
But before you take the leap and adopt a German Shepherd, there are a few things you must know about looking after one. As is the case with raising a dog of any breed, caring for a German Shepherd needs commitment, patience and understanding.
Here's what it takes to care for a German Shepherd:
a. Exercising German Shepherds
German Shepherds are fantastic creatures in every sense, and it is easy to see why. GSDs are naturally energetic and need dedicated time daily to burn it off. They need at least 60minutes of daily physical exercise such as running and playing fetch in a park. A fit dog is a happy dog and one that is exercised regularly will not be happy, but healthy too.
b. Grooming German Shepherds
Be prepared to keep your vacuum cleaner handy. GSDs have thick coats, making them prone to shedding. Grooming your GSD takes time as well. You will need to give your pet a comb down at least 3 times a week. But you won’t need to bathe your dog too often (unless advised to do so by your vet).
c. Dog Food for German Shepherds
To stay healthy and active, German Shepherds require complete and balanced meals that are tailor-made to meet their unique needs. You could try a premium recipe like IAMS™ Proactive Health™ for Adult German Shepherds, which is specially formulated food for German Shepherds. This recipe is a blend of beet pulp and prebiotics (FOS) that supports healthy digestion, calcium, magnesium and other minerals and vitamins to support a healthy heart, and Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids to support skin and coat health. We recommend dividing their daily intake into two meals.
SIZE OF GERMAN SHEPHERD
RECOMMENDED DAILY FEEDING (g)
20-30 kg 245-330 30-40 kg 330-410 40-50 kg 410-485 50-60 kg 485-555
d. Diseases German Shepherds are Susceptible to
Like most dog breeds, German Shepherds are prone to diseases as well. But here are a few common diseases they are known to suffer from. Hip and elbow dysplasia, allergies, degenerative myelopathy, inherited eye diseases, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, skin and heart disease, and thyroid disease. If you remain dedicated to providing your dog with the right kind of nutrition along with proper exercise, you should be able to keep illness at bay.
Some Facts About German Shepherd Care
German Shepherds are a special breed. They have high energy, are strong and have oodles of stamina. But they also need a lot of attention and activity. If you are away from home frequently or dont have the time to spend exercising or grooming them, then a German Shepherd isn't the right choice for you. So are you ready to start caring for a German Shepherd? Ask yourself these questions before making a decision:
Do I have the time and energy to train my German Shepherd?
Do I have enough space in my home for such a large dog to flourish?
Am I financially stable to care for my GSD if any health issues arise?
If you answer yes to these questions, then you are ready to enjoy an action-packed life with
your furry new friend!
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