BLOAT in Dogs
QUESTION: I have a four month old, female, German Short Haired Pointer. I am very confused as to the How, Why, When and Amount I should Feed my puppy. I am nervous of Bloat also. Can you help me?
ANSWER: Since she is just a puppy and will remain one until over a year old, feed a top quality brand of dry PUPPY food. Depending on which brand you chose, simply weight the puppy and follow recommended feeding amounts. Do weigh the dog as it grows to increase the feed as needed.
I find with extremely active breeds, that you have to increase the amount fed to keep up with their metabolism. You do not want a fat puppy (or dog for that matter) but you do not want a thin, malnourished one either.
Feed preferably in three feedings a day. You can get away with two feedings a day but the dog then often gulps the food down because it is so hungry. A dog that is that hungry does not need more food if in excellent body condition, instead it needs its meals switched to 4 or 5 feedings a day, so that food is present in the stomach at all times and the dog doesn't feel as if it is starving as bad. Water must be available 24 hours a day for all dogs under all circumstances.
Bloat is a life threatening disease that usually affects dogs in the prime of their lives. Mortality rates approach 50%.
The term BLOAT refers to any of three conditions: Acute Gastric Dilation, Torsion and Volvulus. Acute Gastric Dilation can often be treated at home but both Torsion and Volvulus call for IMMEDIATE Veterinary attention to save the dogs life.
Bloat, also known as the Over Feeding (or Over Eating) Syndrome, involves a swelling up of the stomach from gas, fluid or both (Acute Gastric Dilation). Once distended the stomach may twist abruptly on it's long axis. if it does twist, but the twist is 180 degrees or less, it is called (Torsion). A twist greater than 180 degrees is called a Volvulus. Important facts about bloat are as follows.
(1) Dogs with bloat nearly always are between 4 and 7 years of age. Two thirds of them are males.
(2) It usually affects the larger, deeper chested breeds. Such as Great Danes, German Shepherds, Saint Bernards, Labrador Retrievers, Irish Wolf-hounds, Great Pyrenees, Boxers, Weimaraners, Old English Sheep-dogs, Irish Setters, Bloodhounds, Standard Poodles and others of large size. It rarely occurs in small breeds. And those under 58 pounds.
(3) Dogs who bloat tend to eat unrestricted amounts of dry dog food (Kibble).
(4) They exercise vigorously after eating, and tend to drink water in large amounts after eating.
(5) They may have a history of digestive upsets (Gastritis).
(6) It may be a hereditary trait if other dogs in their pedigree also have suffered from bloat.
These are guidelines only for the purpose of educational material on Bloat.