Bowl height and bloat - Page 2 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Magwart View Post
Anyone who purports to know the "cause" of bloat has knowledge that the people who actually do bloat research say doesn't exist.

All we know right now is correlation -- lots and lots of correlations. Researchers are hypothesizing by extrapolating cause from correlation, but the mechanisms of how any of this might contribute to cause is presently unknown. So let's be very, very careful about claiming anything "causes" bloat. We focus instead on "risk factors," without fully knowing why or how they operate.

Further reading -- Tufts Study -- this is a great read: https://www.vin.com/apputil/content/...165&id=3848657
and
Bloat (Purdue Study) - The Institute of Canine Biology
and
https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2013/t...iller-of-dogs/

Here's what we know:
(1) the incidence is increasing dramatically -- vets are seeing more bloated dogs than in decades past (a 500% increase from 1975 to 1995...but 1500% in the past 15 years)

(2) Genetics appears to be a factor -- increasing rates within breeds has helped them hone in on that -- and they've confirmed some "familial tendency" to bloat (so when puppy buyers track longevity of lines...pay attention to this!) -- first degree relatives of dogs that have bloated are 63% more likely to bloat themselves, per Tufts (linked above)

(3) According to Tufts researchers, lean dogs are more at risk than fat ones (yes, really!)

(4) Old dogs are more at risk than young ones (risk goes up 20% per year after age 5), again per Tufts

(5) Fast eaters are 15% more likely to bloat (again, per the Tufts study)

(6) Raised bowls increased bloat risk by 110% in the Tufts study

(7) Temperament appears to a risk factor too -- nervous/anxious/aggressive personalities are more at risk, and periods of stress are also risk factors

(8) Food appears to matter too
(a) kibble-fed dogs getting a food with fat among the first four ingredients had a 170% higher risk for developing bloat; kibble fed dogs eating foods containing citric acid and that were moistened prior to feeding had a 320% higher risk for developing bloat. (So wetting your kibble may hurt, not help...despite widespread blogger advice to the contrary.)
(b) food containing a rendered meat-and-bone meal decreased risk by 53% in comparison with the overall risk for the dogs in the study (maybe suggesting cheaper food with rendered meal might be safer...say what?!)
(c) mixing table food or canned food into dry food also decreased the risk of bloat (hmmm....that's interesting)

NOTE: Tufts didn't mention raw-fed dogs.

And Tufts blew ups some popular myths about prevention too...

There was no correlation of bloat risk to exercise before or after eating, or to vaccinations, brand of dog food consumed, or to the timing or volume of water intake before or after eating.

Thanks for all the info Magwart! What do you think about our bowl height then? Do they say in the study what the exact heights were ?

SQUIRREL!
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 11:10 AM
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Nope.

Here's the thing about correlations -- there was once a very famous correlation between eating ice cream and kids getting polio (because cases exploded during the summer, most kids diagnosed with polio had recently eaten ice cream). Of course, we now know that polio transmission has nothing to do with ice cream, but there was a panic about not letting kids eat ice cream because it correlated to polio diagnosis.

So correlations can eventually blow up and become meaningless as more research is done. Sometimes they connect to causation, but not always!

(I highly recommend reading the book Freakonomics (or getting the audiobook) for a great summer read, for anyone interested in the relationship between correlations and causation -- it's a very fun, interesting read!)

You also have to put all this into perspective: I am not going to have fat dogs with spinal and hip problems, and increased risk of cancer, just to lower the incidence of bloat. A dog with a spinal problem or neck injury may experience less pain in a raised feeder. Feeding wet food (whether moistened kibble or alternative diets) can help keep dogs hydrated. Feeding kibble with rendered meat-meals arguably increases your risk of toxic contamination (it's been a source of recall after recall), so you have to pick what risk you want to embrace, I guess.

Last edited by Magwart; 05-04-2018 at 11:18 AM.
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 11:25 AM
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Since 2014, research has been underway on genetics to try to develop a test for bloat risk - the hope is to identify dogs that need preventative gastroplexy:
The Genetics of Bloat | Tufts Now
AKC Canine Health Foundation

This is some of the most interesting research underway in GSDs:
AKC Canine Health Foundation
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 11:52 AM
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I don't know if I should toss my bowl holder. I love it. my girl has some dysfunction when eating, her bowl just runs away from her, even with a rubber bottom. I used to sit with it between my feet so she could just eat without chasing it. Then I bought her a bowl holder and it solved all our problems but I never knew it could cause bloat.

The boy eats from a bowl on the floor.

She probably eats from a similar height as Gandalf in that pic, maybe slightly higher. Maybe I could find a lower one
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 11:57 AM
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https://www.houzz.com/product/102955...ls-and-feeding

This one looks low.

I like the wrought iron, same as I have now, easy to clean and doesn't get nasty form their food as much
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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GandalfTheShepherd View Post
Yes
Do you know of any raw fed dogs that have bloated?

I'm sure it can happen, as bloat can happen in any animal from a Mouse to a giraffe. I personally, do not know of any raw fed dogs that have bloated. In my experience it is far less likely to happen to a raw fed dog compared to a dog fed a kibble diet.

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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magwart View Post
Anyone who purports to know the "cause" of bloat has knowledge that the people who actually do bloat research say doesn't exist.

All we know right now is correlation -- lots and lots of correlations. Researchers are hypothesizing by extrapolating cause from correlation, but the mechanisms of how any of this might contribute to cause is presently unknown. So let's be very, very careful about claiming anything "causes" bloat. We focus instead on "risk factors," without fully knowing why or how they operate.

Further reading -- Tufts Study -- this is a great read: https://www.vin.com/apputil/content/...165&id=3848657
and
Bloat (Purdue Study) - The Institute of Canine Biology
and
https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2013/t...iller-of-dogs/

Here's what we know:
(1) the incidence is increasing dramatically -- vets are seeing more bloated dogs than in decades past (a 500% increase from 1975 to 1995...but 1500% in the past 15 years)

(2) Genetics appears to be a factor -- increasing rates within breeds has helped them hone in on that -- and they've confirmed some "familial tendency" to bloat (so when puppy buyers track longevity of lines...pay attention to this!) -- first degree relatives of dogs that have bloated are 63% more likely to bloat themselves, per Tufts (linked above)

(3) According to Tufts researchers, lean dogs are more at risk than fat ones (yes, really!)

(4) Old dogs are more at risk than young ones (risk goes up 20% per year after age 5), again per Tufts

(5) Fast eaters are 15% more likely to bloat (again, per the Tufts study)

(6) Raised bowls increased bloat risk by 110% in the Tufts study

(7) Temperament appears to a risk factor too -- nervous/anxious/aggressive personalities are more at risk, and periods of stress are also risk factors

(8) Food appears to matter too
(a) kibble-fed dogs getting a food with fat among the first four ingredients had a 170% higher risk for developing bloat; kibble fed dogs eating foods containing citric acid and that were moistened prior to feeding had a 320% higher risk for developing bloat. (So wetting your kibble may hurt, not help...despite widespread blogger advice to the contrary.)
(b) food containing a rendered meat-and-bone meal decreased risk by 53% in comparison with the overall risk for the dogs in the study (maybe suggesting cheaper food with rendered meal might be safer...say what?!)
(c) mixing table food or canned food into dry food also decreased the risk of bloat (hmmm....that's interesting)

NOTE: Tufts didn't mention raw-fed dogs.

And Tufts blew ups some popular myths about prevention too...

There was no correlation of bloat risk to exercise before or after eating, or to vaccinations, brand of dog food consumed, or to the timing or volume of water intake before or after eating.
This is interesting and excellent information.

I never feed 2 hours before or after working my dogs strenuously. I also will not feed if my dog is stressed, until it relaxes. Stress can come in many forms to a dog, like a simple vet visit or a strenuous exercise or training set.

If feeding kibble, I would feed twice a day. There are many reasons for that, preventing bloat is just one. Dogs work and perform better on two meals a day. Even tracking and detection work is enhanced by feeding dogs twice a day.

I would also limit water before an after feeding. Especially, if feeding once a day. The kibble will absorb water and expand in the stomach. Just drop a piece of kibble in a water bowl and see how much it expands. I do believe there is a correlation between fast eaters, water consumption and bloat. This is purely anecdotal, based on my experience with working dogs over the years.

I absolutely believe there is a genetic component to bloat and minimizing risks are very important.

"Tanking" is a similar condition to condition from gulping up large volumes of water. The stomach can distend from that as well.

It is critically important to recognize the early signs of bloat and seek medical treatment immediately. Bloat is a medical emergency and the only thing that will kill a dog faster than bloat is something traumatic like being hit by a car or being shot.

I teach a class during every patrol and narcotics school that I run on bloat prevention and recognizing the signs. I got a call two weeks ago from a very grateful handler that recognized that his GSD was starting to bloat and immediately rushed him to the vet. The dog is fine and the vet credited his fast response to saving the dog's life. The handler called to thank me specifically for the class and information and said that his dog would be dead if he hadn't been taught what to look for. I'm happy his dog is doing well and I was able to help.
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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magwart View Post
Nope.

Here's the thing about correlations -- there was once a very famous correlation between eating ice cream and kids getting polio (because cases exploded during the summer, most kids diagnosed with polio had recently eaten ice cream). Of course, we now know that polio transmission has nothing to do with ice cream, but there was a panic about not letting kids eat ice cream because it correlated to polio diagnosis.

So correlations can eventually blow up and become meaningless as more research is done. Sometimes they connect to causation, but not always!

(I highly recommend reading the book Freakonomics (or getting the audiobook) for a great summer read, for anyone interested in the relationship between correlations and causation -- it's a very fun, interesting read!)

You also have to put all this into perspective: I am not going to have fat dogs with spinal and hip problems, and increased risk of cancer, just to lower the incidence of bloat. A dog with a spinal problem or neck injury may experience less pain in a raised feeder. Feeding wet food (whether moistened kibble or alternative diets) can help keep dogs hydrated. Feeding kibble with rendered meat-meals arguably increases your risk of toxic contamination (it's been a source of recall after recall), so you have to pick what risk you want to embrace, I guess.
First lesson in statistics: Correlation does not imply causation! Confounding variables can be tricky little buggers.

That is REALLY interesting to know that the Tufts study came back with no correlation between exercise on either side of a meal and bloat. I had been told that one newer study suggested that it was actually beneficial to take a moderately paced walk after the dog eats, to keep everything moving. I didn't go look that up for myself (we're currently still doing an hour rest on either side of a meal if for no reason other than that our routines are built that way now).
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 03:22 PM
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Just FYI, The bricks around a fireplace is called the hearth.


Gandolph, that setup looks right in between not too low or high. My boy's bowl is on the floor and I stick to the 1hr rest before and after meals.
Thanks! LOL here's a pic
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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magwart View Post
Anyone who purports to know the "cause" of bloat has knowledge that the people who actually do bloat research say doesn't exist.

All we know right now is correlation -- lots and lots of correlations. Researchers are hypothesizing by extrapolating cause from correlation, but the mechanisms of how any of this might contribute to cause is presently unknown. So let's be very, very careful about claiming anything "causes" bloat. We focus instead on "risk factors," without fully knowing why or how they operate.

Further reading -- Tufts Study -- this is a great read: https://www.vin.com/apputil/content/...165&id=3848657
and
Bloat (Purdue Study) - The Institute of Canine Biology
and
https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2013/t...iller-of-dogs/

Here's what we know:
(1) the incidence is increasing dramatically -- vets are seeing more bloated dogs than in decades past (a 500% increase from 1975 to 1995...but 1500% in the past 15 years)

(2) Genetics appears to be a factor -- increasing rates within breeds has helped them hone in on that -- and they've confirmed some "familial tendency" to bloat (so when puppy buyers track longevity of lines...pay attention to this!) -- first degree relatives of dogs that have bloated are 63% more likely to bloat themselves, per Tufts (linked above)

(3) According to Tufts researchers, lean dogs are more at risk than fat ones (yes, really!)

(4) Old dogs are more at risk than young ones (risk goes up 20% per year after age 5), again per Tufts

(5) Fast eaters are 15% more likely to bloat (again, per the Tufts study)

(6) Raised bowls increased bloat risk by 110% in the Tufts study

(7) Temperament appears to a risk factor too -- nervous/anxious/aggressive personalities are more at risk, and periods of stress are also risk factors

(8) Food appears to matter too
(a) kibble-fed dogs getting a food with fat among the first four ingredients had a 170% higher risk for developing bloat; kibble fed dogs eating foods containing citric acid and that were moistened prior to feeding had a 320% higher risk for developing bloat. (So wetting your kibble may hurt, not help...despite widespread blogger advice to the contrary.)
(b) food containing a rendered meat-and-bone meal decreased risk by 53% in comparison with the overall risk for the dogs in the study (maybe suggesting cheaper food with rendered meal might be safer...say what?!)
(c) mixing table food or canned food into dry food also decreased the risk of bloat (hmmm....that's interesting)

NOTE: Tufts didn't mention raw-fed dogs.

And Tufts blew ups some popular myths about prevention too...

There was no correlation of bloat risk to exercise before or after eating, or to vaccinations, brand of dog food consumed, or to the timing or volume of water intake before or after eating.
Having had a dog prone to bloat, the first time having a gastric torsion and her spleen removed,

2) Genetics - we got her at a year old, she didn't come with a family history.

3) She was a lean dog especially in the summer. It was hard to keep her weight up.

4) She had her first incidence of bloat when she was 8

5) she wasn't a fast eater, she was incredibly picky

6) Her bowls weren't raised

7) I would describe her as a fairly anxious dog, not fearful. But when we first got her we had huge separation anxiety problems and when my first child was born she briefly took up 'flank sucking'

8) She was fed wet food.

She was never exercised for two hours before and after feeding. She was fed once a day.

Since then my dogs have had raised water bowls and i keep an eye on water intake but don't limit it. My dogs since then have been fed twice a day, some kibble, some a mixture of wet and kibble, and not from raised bowls. I still don't exercise for two hours after eating. Nor do i feed my dogs until they are totally relaxed.

I am not entirely convinced that anyone has a definitive answer to what causes bloat. As an owner you should be aware of all the signs and it's not just bloating up, it can be trying to be sick, frothing at the mouth, trying to hide etc.

Personally I think genetics is a factor, the rest is just a way of mitigating it happening. Right from the beginning my girl had a sensitive stomach.

I had a vet who told me that if your dog could belch they were less likely to get bloat. Totally random but my first girl never did.
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