Posts tagged: Bloat

Dog Bloat: A Guide to Signs, Symptoms, and Precautionary Measures

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Dog BloatDog bloat is formally known as Gastric Dilatation Volvulus. It’s the second leading cause of death in dogs, but many owners don’t even know the signs to look for. Bloat is a buildup of gases in the digestive system caused by swallowing air, stress, or an internal twisting. Once symptoms occur, it can quickly lead to death.

Signs

The number one sign of bloating in dogs is unsuccessful attempts to vomit. They can repeat this anywhere from every five to thirty minutes. The dog will have a vomiting reflex but only produce light foam. The dog may appear restless or anxious; whining, pacing, or trying to hide. They may ignore their normal routine. For example, the dog may insist on going out during the night when they normally sleep.

Many dogs with bloat will have strange behaviors such as licking the air. They may hunch up, drink more than normal, or attempt to eat foreign debris like stones and sticks. If you place your ear against their stomach, you won’t hear the typical gurgling digestive noises.

Symptoms

Once a dog is actually experiencing bloat there are definite symptoms you’ll notice. At the beginning stages they will appear fatigued and very reserved. Eventually, they will begin to cough and gag with heavy drooling. A foamy mucous may appear around the mouth, while the gums will appear very pale. They will either stand with their legs spread apart or curl up in a ball due to pain. They will avoid laying on their stomachs due to the pain. Put your ear up to their stomach. If you don’t hear a gurgling noise signifying digestion, it indicates bloat.

As the bloating progresses, they won’t be able to defecate. Breathing will range from heavy panting to shallow breaths, but the membrane of the mouth will feel cold. The dog’s heart rate will increase, and they eventually collapse.

Precautions

There are precautionary measures that can be taken to help your dog avoid bloating. Meal time is crucial. Reduce their stress when eating. Make this a peaceful time of day. Avoid exercise for one hour before, until one hour after feedings. Discourage rapid eating by giving them several smaller meals instead of one large serving. Remove water during feedings as it will dilute the digestive acids needed to break down food. When food isn’t breaking down properly, the gasses that cause bloat are formed.

If switching food, do it gradually. Feed a mix of wet and dry foods. Choose dry foods with bone meal product or rendered meat as one of the first four ingredients. Make sure that fat is not listed within the first four ingredients. It should be high in protein with an adequate fiber content of three percent. The dry food should contain at least 30% protein.

One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or Aloe Vera gel can be given after meals to aid digestion. Prozyme, an enzyme product, can be added to food as well as herbs that reduce gas. Avoid additives such as alfalfa, brewer’s yeast, and soybean products.

Keep a product with Simethicome on hand. This would be Mylanta Gas, Gas X, or a similar product. Give it once bloating occurs to slow down the gasses, giving you more time to get to the vet. Don’t let your dog be a victim. Know the symptoms of bloat. If you even suspect that your dog has bloat it is safer to visit an animal emergency hospital immediately.

Information credit to Central Animal Emergency Clinic, a Vancouver pet hospital.

Misconceptions About Neutering Your Male Dog

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Many pet owners won’t neuter their male dogs. Some transfer their emotions about the procedure onto their dogs, and decide that it’s a cruel and inhumane act.  But most avoid neutering their dogs because they’ve heard one or more of the many misconceptions about neutering. Despite all these rumors and myths, neutering is a responsible procedure that won’t harm the health of your dog.  Here are some of the  misconceptions that keep many from having their dogs neutered.

Neutering is not cruel

Your dog will not become depressed for lack of sex. Dogs aren’t humans, and don’t feel the same way about sex that humans do.  They won’t miss the intimacy or the romance, like some people believe. As much as some people seem to think otherwise, dogs are animals, and their drive for sex is only instinct.  Not having sex will not harm, or depress, your dog.

Your dog will not become weak or effeminate. Neutering does not affect a dog’s physical abilities or strength.  In fact, neutering removes the sexual instinct that has some dogs climbing the walls. Neutering can correct many behavioral problems caused by the sex instinct in some dogs, especially in households with one or more pets and in a household with female dogs.

Your dog won’t get fat or stop being active:  If you don’t overfeed your dog and neglect to take him for walks, your dog can’t suddenly bloat up after being neutered. This is a popular misconception because it does happen sometimes—but it’s not because of the surgery, but rather the habits of the owner. Just be sure to feed your dog the proper amount of food, and make sure he gets plenty of exercise.

Your dog will still bark at strangers, if it does now.  The belief that a neutered dog will no longer make a good guard dog is ridiculous.  It’s a clear case of humans passing off misguided beliefs about masculinity and strength onto dogs. If the dog happened to be born sterile, would that make it less a dog, or less suited to be a watch dog?

Some people think that routine castration of male dogs is unnecessary. Here are some reasons why we think neutering your dog is the best option:

  • Your male dog can smell a female in heat from a very long distance away, and some dogs will do anything to reach her including scaling tall fences or digging underneath. These dogs are liable to become lost, or be involved in road traffic accidents.
  • Often, male dogs become very frustrated. They may try to mount cushions, or even people’s legs. Some become snappy. Others become very dominant, and constantly attack other dogs. Non-neutered male dogs may also scent mark by urinating about the house.
  • The risk of testicular cancer is completely removed by neutering. Many older male dogs develop prostate enlargement, leading to urinary problems, constipation and the possibility of prostate cancer. Because prostate cancer can be hormone dependent, these dogs have to be castrated when they are getting on in years and therefore encounter a greater risk during anesthesia.
  • Neutering is best done when your dog is about six months old, before he has learned any bad habits.

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