Signs of Puppy Bloat & How to Prevent It
Puppy bloat is a serious health condition that can be life-threatening if not treated in time. It occurs when a puppy’s stomach becomes distended with gas, fluid and food, which causes the stomach to twist, cutting off the blood supply to the organs. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to recognize and prevent puppy bloat.
What is Puppy Bloat?
Puppy bloat is a medical condition known as Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV). It occurs when a puppy’s stomach becomes swollen with gas, fluid, and food. This places additional pressure on the stomach muscles, causing them to contract and twist, cutting off the blood supply to the organs. Puppy bloat can progress quickly and is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention.
Signs of Puppy Bloat
The signs of puppy bloat can be subtle and hard to spot. Here are some signs to look out for:
• An enlarged stomach or distended abdomen
If your puppy’s stomach is swollen or distended, this could be a sign of puppy bloat.
• Unproductive retching or dry heaving
Your puppy may be attempting to vomit but nothing is coming out. This can be a sign of puppy bloat.
• Uncomfortable posture
If your puppy is displaying any signs of discomfort or distress such as sitting in a hunched position, this could easily be a sign of puppy bloat.
• Heavy breathing or panting
Heavy or labored breathing or excessive panting could also be a sign of puppy bloat.
How to Prevent Puppy Bloat
Luckily, there are steps you can take to help prevent puppy bloat. Here are some tips.
• Feed smaller, more frequent meals
Large meals can increase the need for air swallowing, which can contribute to puppy bloat. Consider dividing your puppy’s food into smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. Additionally, it is best to feed your puppy from down on the ground instead of from an elevated position.
• Keep your puppy calm before, during, and after meals
Strenuous exercise, including running and jumping, should be avoided prior to and following meals to reduce the risk of puppy bloat.
• Prevent stress
Stress can contribute to gas and fluid accumulation in the stomach, and can make puppy bloat worse. Make sure to reduce or eliminate any sources of stress in the home, such as loud noises, unfamiliar people or objects, or other animals.
• Consult with your vet
If your puppy is prone to puppy bloat or has a family history of the condition, speak to your vet as they can offer advice on an individualized plan to help reduce the risk. They may suggest a different diet, or food product to help reduce the risk of gas accumulation and puppy bloat.
Puppy bloat is a serious medical condition and is considered a medical emergency. However, there are steps you can take to help prevent it. Feed smaller, more frequent meals, keep your puppy calm before, during, and after meals and reduce sources of stress in the home. If your puppy is prone to puppy bloat or has a family history of the condition, speak to your vet as they can offer an individualized plan. The best way to protect your puppy is to know the signs of puppy bloat and be prepared to take action if you spot any of them.