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.
That is the main thing that told me something was wrong when Keefer bloated. He had just eaten dinner and a few minutes later he wandered into the room and started retching. I had a couple friends from my flyball club over for dinner and we were just hanging out chatting before dessert. I yelled to my husband that Keef was going to puke so he took him out to the dog run. When they didn't return after a couple of minutes I went out to see what was going on. I asked Tom if he'd puked and he said no. Keef was clearly in distress, pacing a few steps, stopping and trying to throw up, but nothing came out. I knew right then it might be bloat. I walked down to the far end of the run where Keef was and felt his belly, which was tight, and told Tom we needed to take him in.
This was nearly 8:00 on a Sunday night, but fortunately we are less than 5 miles from an emergency vet. I went back inside and told my friends we had to go. If I hadn't been there, Keefer would be dead. While Tom could see he wasn't feeling well he did not recognize it as a life or death emergency and may have taken a wait and see approach until it was too late. And of course, being close enough to an emergency vet clinic that could get their on call surgeon and her team there in time for surgery also saved his life.
If you even have the slightest doubt, take your dog to the vet immediately. Better safe than sorry. Even if it's too late, the outlook for surgery is not good and you decide to euthanize, you'll save your dog much suffering vs waiting.
Cava 1/6/18 *** Keefer 8/25/05
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short