Twisted Stomach: Not Just for Cows

In Health Tips on February 25, 2013 at 8:11 pm

ImageHave you ever come home to your dog looking a bit off? Your dog seems lethargic, anxious, possibly trying to vomit, and looks a little larger around the stomach. If this has happened to you then you probably already know the importance of bloat.

Dog’s have a tendency to become bloated after eating or drinking too much, or if they are active after eating or drinking. A bloated animal is referred to as a GDV—

gastric dilatation volvulus—if the stomach flips. If the stomach becomes distended with air or fluid than flips over, this is a true emergency! When the stomach flips, there’s no way to release the fluid and gas that has accumulated. These animals require surgery, and fast!

If the stomach is only distended with air and fluid, and not flipped, your pet should still be seem by a veterinarian because you can’t tell without an x-ray the severity of the situation. What the vet will look for is what’s referred to as the “double bubble.” This is where two gas-filled sections of the stomach appear. This is how vets know the pet has a GDV versus a gas-distended stomach.

So, if it is a GDV surgery is the only cure. The vet will go in and release the gas and suture the stomach against the animal’s body wall to prevent any further flipping. If the dog doesn’t have the double bubble we still need to get the air out. Generally a tube is placed down the dog’s throat and into the stomach to release the air. This is a very safe and effective procedure.

After surgery or releasing of the air, food and water should be restricted for at least 24-36 hours. Dogs should also be under veterinary care during that time to watch for further problems.

Now, I take care of a variety of dog breeds. Deep-chested dogs like your greyhounds, great danes, labs, goldens, shepherds, collies, etc. are one’s to be careful of. Another breed many don’t think of are dachshunds. To prevent something like this from happening here are a few things you can do:

  • Feed your pet 30 minutes before or after exercise
  • Do not allow water 30 minutes before and after meals
  • Never let your pet drink a full bowl of water at one time
  • Feed multiple meals versus once a day
  • Make sure your pets food is put in a safe location

There are times when your running late, or your dog gets into a large amount of food, this happens. But doing your best to prevent bloat can save you a trip to the emergency room and a couple thousand dollars. Share your pet’s stories with me! Has your pet ever bloated?

Comment, post, question, and learn. Lets connect!


  1. I actually had a saint bernard until this past fall and there were quite a few times she would need to go outside to basically throw up. We would know when she didn’t feel good because she would eat grass, apparently that helped her get stuff out of her stomach. Do you think this had anything to do with bloating? Also I have heard of elevated dog dishes to prevent bloating, does this actually work? And if so, how?

  2. Great questions Lauren! Your dog could have very well been building up food and gas in her stomach causing her discomfort. She probably threw up to try and relieve that discomfort. Luckily, dog’s who are able to throw up have not twisted their stomach, but could still have the distention in their stomach. So, by throwing up your dog probably relieved the bloat herself.

    As for raising food bowls, there has been a study done comparing deep-chested dogs with raised food bowls versus not raising food bowls and they found that by raising the food dish actually increased the likelihood of bloating.

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