How To Detect and Prevent Bloating and Torsion in Dogs

Gastric torsion is also commonly known as bloat.  In dogs, bloat is the result from too much fluid or gas in their stomachs.  If the dog's stomach rotates partially, this is considered a more severe form of gastric torsion; it can cause the dog to be in severe distress and present shock-like symptoms such as rapid breathing, pale gums and unconsciousness.

If your dog has bloat, his belly will be visibly swollen, he will drool heavily, and he may try to vomit but nothing will come up.  In dogs, bloat and gastric torsion are serious conditions and can be life-threatening.  If you think your dog is suffering from bloat or gastric torsion, take him to the vet as quickly as possible.

To prevent bloat or gastric torsion in your dog try the following solutions:

  • Feed your dog yogurt. Yogurt maintains a healthy colony of good bacteria in your dog's digestive tract; this will prevent bloat-causing gas from accumulating in the dog's stomach.  The good bacteria in yogurt helps food digest properly.  For dogs weighing over 15 pounds, give a half teaspoon of live-culture plain yogurt once a day.  For dogs weighing less than 15 pounds, give between 1/4 teaspoon and 1/2 teaspoon per day.
  • At the beginning of bloat symptoms, if your dog can still burp or vomit, give him Mylanta.  Small dogs will take 6 ounces, medium-sized dogs should be given 8 ounces and large dogs will take 12 ounces.  Take your dog on a slow and easy walk after administering the Mylanta until the bloat is relieved.  Contact your vet.
  • If your dog has a tendency to wolf down his meals, this will increase his chances of developing gastric distress.  To prevent bloat and gastric torsion for a dog that eats his food very quickly, divide his meals.  It is better to feed your dog two smaller meals twice a day instead of one big meal.  Also, keep your dog from exercising and playing for two hours after eating.  It is also a good idea to wait an hour before feeding your dog if he has been playing or exercising hard.
  • Consider switching your dog's food to moist or semi-moist instead of dry dog food.  Dry kibble absorbs much more water when it is in the dog's stomach, causing it to swell.  To prevent bloat and gastric torsion, wet down the dry kibble with water and let it stand a few minutes before allowing your dog to eat.
  • Purchase digestive enzymes from your local pet shop to help improve your dog's digestion.  Follow the directions on the label.
  • Sometimes dogs wolf their food down because they are afraid other pets will steal their food.  Make sure you feed your dog where he can eat in a peaceful and nonthreatening environment.
  • Brew a cup of chamomile tea for your dog.  This herb helps prevent bloat and torsion.  After brewing the tea, let it cool to room temperature.  Dogs weighing less than 15 pounds should receive 1/2 teaspoon of tea per day, and dogs over 15 pounds will take one tablespoon of tea per day.  Mix the tea in your dog's food or administer it by mouth with a syringe.


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