Bloat in Dogs versus Bloating


I am a new dog owner, and I don’t know a lot about dogs, but I saw a video recently which is concerning me, on GDV and dog bloating and how they said it could be life-threatening and you would have to get to a vet immediately for surgery. They say it twists their stomachs and cuts of supplies and thats why you would need a surgery?

Is bloating not normal for dogs?

If it’s normal, when does it switch from something normal to something detrimental?

What would you do if you think your dog is bloated? Is there any prevention or something other than surgery that you can do to help your dog?


There are two separate things, bloating, and bloat. Bloat is a dangerous condition that certain breeds are prone to due to the degeneration caused by selective breeding and poor diet across many generations. Bloating is a normal condition that occurs when gas builds up in the digestive tract from poor digestion or poor food combining. Bloating can be uncomfortable but is not life-threatening, but bloat is a medical emergency that always requires surgery.

Bloat occurs most frequently with kibble because the dog will eat the dry kibble and then go and drink a lot of water and the kibble will expand in the stomach, stretching the stomach. The dog will then run around and if they move the wrong way the overfilled stomach can flip over and twist cutting off entry and exit.

While this is most common in kibble-fed dogs, it can occur even when eating natural foods, especially for seniors and those breeds that are bloat-prone. To prevent this from occurring on the natural diet we should always rest our dogs post-meal and not allow any vigorous exercise or play for at least 1 hour after their meal.

I like to give my dogs a long walk before the meal and this way they want to rest after eating.

Another thing we should be cautious about with bloat-prone dogs is avoiding all starchy foods like broccoli, sweet potatoes, or corn which can ferment significantly causing a swelling of the stomach. These foods are not generally fed on the natural diet, but some people will incorporate them. Since dogs cannot digest starch I do not recommend starch foods as a regular part of the diet but I would be especially cautious with these foods for seniors and bloat-prone breeds.

Lastly, for bloat-prone dogs, it would be a good idea to start with 2 smaller meals rather than one large meal and work slowly up to combining the food into one large meal. Some people choose to stick with 2 meals on fruit days for bloat-prone dogs so their stomachs do not need to handle as much.

But the most important thing is to limit their exercise post-meal. A really good practice would be to feed them in a crate and then let them rest in the crate for 1-hour post-meal.

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