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
Bloat (Purdue Study) - The Institute of Canine Biology
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....
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.