Bowl height and bloat - Page 3 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #21 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Misha111 View Post
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.
Ironic, my first shepherd who had bloat & torsion ate out of the same raised bowl Gandalf does (although was raised much higher than I have it for him), ate high quality kibble never wet food, wasn't very lean, scarfed his food down every meal in about a second, and had no family history either he was a BYB dog. I worry about G since he eats so fast and is always burping, he eats raw so I don't want to use one of our circle bowls to slow him down because I wouldn't be able to disinfect it properly after each use.

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post #22 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by GandalfTheShepherd View Post
Ironic, my first shepherd who had bloat & torsion ate out of the same raised bowl Gandalf does (although was raised much higher than I have it for him), ate high quality kibble never wet food, wasn't very lean, scarfed his food down every meal in about a second, and had no family history either he was a BYB dog. I worry about G since he eats so fast and is always burping, he eats raw so I don't want to use one of our circle bowls to slow him down because I wouldn't be able to disinfect it properly after each use.
So the only thing our dogs had in common was the fact we didn't know their family history.

When we got our current girl at 5 months, she didn't eat her food, she inhaled it. She's nearly two now and has slowed down but it worried me at the time. I think if you have dealt with bloat you become hyper vigilant which isn't a bad thing.
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post #23 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 06:00 PM
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Okay girl is 11 and a half now. And wasn't age one of the factors?

Anyway. I just bought this off Chewy

It looks a lot lower than the one she has now, almost regular sitting on the floor height, but hopefully will keep her bowl in place for her. And, it was WAY cheaper than that other one.

Cheap enough to buy and try.

One time I thought she was bloating, she had gotten carried away in her first snowstorm back in new england and gorged on snow. She hunched up and began to tremble and whine. I panicked and threw her in the truck and halfway to the vet she let me know on no uncertain terms she had to get out so I pulled over and she peed totally clear for like a ridiculous amount of time.

I think, and the vet agreed, that she ate so much snow she probably gave herself a bad stomach ache and possibly also dropped her body temperature too much too fast. By the time we got to the clinic, she already had to pee again for another absurd amount of time. And by the time she got into the exam room she was basically fine.

I stupidly just didn't really comprehend how much snow she was swallowing.
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post #24 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-05-2018, 11:44 AM
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I have had a dog that bloated, it is truly a horrible thing to go through. For the dog and owner.

For those that do not know the signs or symptoms of bloat:
The dog will be in discomfort. This is noticeable and needs to be observed. You may see some unusual body posture and sensitivity to the stomach. The dog may be restless, anxious, panting, uncomfortable, drool, have a roached back. Go off by itself, into a corner of the room. Dry heaving and then distention or enlargement of the abdomen.

Dry heaving or retching, is a huge sign. When I was a kid if a dog started to throw up we put the dog outside. So, it wouldn't throw up on the carpet. If you see your dog dry heaving, and nothing is coming out, keep an eye on the dog. Observation is critical at this point. The discomfort signs, combined with dry heaving is a huge red flag and time to start preparing to get to a vet or an emergency vet. Once you see the distention or enlargement of the abdomen you have a medical emergency and the clock is ticking. You need to go to the nearest vet. Not your favorite vet that is 20 minutes away, the closest vet.

I carry GasEx or Simethicone with me in my car and my dog's gear bag. If I start to see the discomfort, I will give 2 gas ex tablets immediately. If I see the dry heaving, I am giving Gas Ex and observing. There are no contraindications in dogs with GasEx or Simethicone. Completely safe to give to your dogs and it may just relieve the gas before the bloat occurs. I have done this on a few occasions with my GSD's and they never bloated. I wish I knew this with my first GSD that died from GDV.

If feeding kibble, I would feed twice a day. I feed raw. I would be very careful with any dogs that gulp or voraciously eat their kibble. I would add toys to the bowl to slow them down, and definitely feed them 2 - 3 times per day. Any one that does any sport or work with their dog, feeding twice a day is shown to be better. I would with hold water before and after a meal. I only give small amounts of water after exertion in the heat. I wait 10 minutes before giving more water.

As mentioned by another poster, if you have a dog that bloats you will never forget it. I am very aware of the condition and signs or symptoms and vigilant with my dogs.

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance”. George Bernard Shaw

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post #25 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-05-2018, 12:59 PM
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Good information, Slamdunc! Thank you

Where do you fall on the height of feeding/drinking?

Somebody said belching was good, but why do dogs want to come up and belch right in your face or wait to be near you to have any gas release?

Maverick 04/09/03 to 09/30/14

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post #26 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-05-2018, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Arathorn II View Post
Good information, Slamdunc! Thank you

Where do you fall on the height of feeding/drinking?

Somebody said belching was good, but why do dogs want to come up and belch right in your face or wait to be near you to have any gas release?

I feed my dogs in bowls that I place on the ground. I do not elevate feeding bowls. I may hang a water bucket off the ground in the kennel when I attached it to the fence. I switched to raw feeding about 12 years ago and while I still take care and precautions, I really do not worry about my dogs bloating. I do not think that raw fed dogs have the same incidence of bloating as kibble fed dogs. I do wait to feed them after strenuous activity or stress. I do not work them after eating and I restrict water during feedings.

Bloat is a medical emergency and I am cognizant of it. I worry more about heat stroke or exercise induced exhaustion than bloat for my dogs.

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance”. George Bernard Shaw

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post #27 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-05-2018, 05:13 PM
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I've been following this thread because we've been through it twice--both with the stomach twisting--one ended ok-the other did not....I'll also say this for those of you who read this thread and think nope won't happen to me and my dog.... the internet didn't exist back then.....I questioned my Vet as much as I could--read what i could find in books-even a couple newspaper articles-anything I could find about bloat---based on this old info.. here's what i did---bought those bowls designed to slow down eating (theory being slower eating--less air/gas is gulped into the stomach)--I built wooden stands to get the bowls up off the floor--used them for a few years--went through a phase where the kibble sat in warm water 5-10 mins so it could expand before eating expansion in the stomach may create gas-possibly cause bloat ??....depending on the brand some expands a lot-- some very little

I'm going to list what the dogs had in common-both were males-both neutered---both... 9-10 years old...both ate the same brand food (their food expanded very little when wet) usually mixed with cooked ground chicken and/or turkey and some type of wet canned food--neither was/is a belcher or break wind while laying at your feet--both food bowls directly on the floor--both were a matched pair of the pickiest-slowest eaters we've ever had--neither ever used a bowl to slow down eating I was just happy when they finished eating what they had (many of you know what I mean)--both very very slow eaters--both events happened after the evening meal--both were restless---one tried to get off by himself--one didn't I'll explain why later--both extended their neck/heads--little froth/drool from the mouth--licking their lips/muzzle--both stomachs had twisted--neither dog was actually "bloated" in any way--I've found lumps,bumps,tumors and broken teeth before but both these guys felt fine to me.
Things not in common:--individual stories

SHANE-my namesake here..BYB puppy- we felt like we rescued him....did not make it through surgery....he had DM and had been in a cart (wheel chair) over a year...he loved chasing balls/sticks and empty food bowls-that kept him "driven" and going on through the DM....on this day.45 mins to an hour after eating his supper--we had him in his cart chasing his ball in the back yard--same daily routine we always did...brought him in the house...I'm sitting next to him in the floor we're watching TV...he started the above symptoms (licking lips etc.)...he wanted to get away from me--I ended up helping him to the dining room where I could still see him from where I was...I thought for those of you who know DM and how it progresses moving forward in the body and that disease was causing him to seem to have trouble breathing---I thought we'd be at the Vet tomorrow saying goodby to Shane....but....I couldn't sleep so we ended up at the only emergency hospital that was open--although they initially thought it was related to the DM---Actually-his stomach had twisted--when they told us he needed surgery--I said go-go-go--we were told this would be a lengthy surgery so we headed home---hours later around 3am-- while I'd been beating the crap out of myself for waiting to long---I got a call-his heart had stopped-they were trying to get it to restart--"do you want us to continue"--I said no... he's fought enough. Was his heart stopping or the "bloat" in any way related to the DM-the cart-the exercise--How would he have healed after surgery with DM...I'll never know.....I've written here before about Shane's comical thieving personality...He was that one "Special" dog...the one you want to see first when you cross that bridge...some of you know what I'm talking about...some don' least not yet

BEAU...Schutzhund pedigree...well bred and looks it....he'll be 13 this June...he made it through the surgery....back in March 2015 I'd been home from the hospital myself.. approx. 10 days after major surgery--about 3 hours after his supper--maybe an hour after back yard play time...I'm on the couch watching TV ( kinda sorta)--I'm on so many high test drugs at that point I could barely spell"dog"....Beau's acting a little odd/different at that point I really didn't notice--but I thank God my wife did...she says....." Vaughn--Beau's acting just like Shane did when he had bloat"...The rest is a bit of a blur for me... adrenaline is really something even when you've got a lot of drugs in you...I got him in the Jeep and we took a low flying jet plane ride to the Emergency Hosp.----his stomach had not been without blood to long (Because My wife noticed symptoms quickly)....his spleen was removed and his stomach was sutured in place so it can't twist other way to say it except...Shane's passing is the reason Beau's still alive....both of us learned from Shane's death and Beau's laying next to me as I type.

I took the time for all the detail on this.subject....because info on "causes of bloat" changes constantly--someone always has a new idea....This is something unlike cancer, HD--DM and many other diseases that little or nothing can be done about... this is fixable if you know what to look for..... don't dwell to much on what MAY be causing/contibuting to bloat.....AS AN OWNER SPEND AS MUCH TIME AS YOU NEED TO READ-RESEARCH-LEARN AND EDUCATE YOURSELF ON THE SYMPTOMS .....When it happens you won't have long--don't guess or wait and see....get the dog to your Vet or Emergency Hosp. it's better to be wrong then sit and wait.....There are a bunch of great posts on this thread by some super members them all.
ONCE AGAIN EDUCATE YOURSELF AND FAMILY/FRIENDS ABOUT SIGNS SYMPTOMS OF BLOAT....If you do that one day your dog may have a chance to thank you !
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post #28 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 12:11 PM
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Quoted to bump. Excellent summary of the articles.
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:
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 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.
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post #29 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 04:20 PM
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Can somebody elaborate on the citric acid in dog food. How do I find out about this? Will it say in the ingredients "Citric Acid" or will it be disguised as something else like one of these "Vitamin _ Supplement" that I see in the dog food ingredients?

I wet my pups kibble and apparently this is a major increase factor if the food contains citric acid.

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post #30 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 04:46 PM
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It makes sense to me to put a dog's bowl at the height that's normal for a species that eats off the ground. So, about ground level, or no higher than say 10" If the bowl is too high up, I think it's possible to swallow air along with the food.

Anything that overloads the stomach and stretches the ligaments that support it puts the dog at risk. This is why the risk increased with age - ligaments stretch over time. (Tufts study)

Also, feeding only one meal a day correlates with bloat. (Tufts study)

I have know several dogs that bloated after either playing water games with their owner and the hose in the summer, or gulping large amounts of water while swimming. Same deal as too much food in the stomach all at once. It stretches the ligaments and allows the stomach to twist.

I know of several dogs that have died of bloat after being given ice cubes on a hot day when they were really hot and thirsty, or catching snowballs. The cold causes spasms that prevent the stomach from getting rid of gas. I guess the esophagus must spasm, trapping gas in the stomach.
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