How Old is a Great Dane When I Need to Worry About Bloat?
Great Danes are a fantastic breed, but like any breed, they are susceptible to specific health problems, one of them being bloat.
At what get do Great Danes get bloat?
Although a Great Dane of almost any age can bloat, this condition is more likely to occur after age three. This condition is relatively common, with as many as 37% of dogs of this breed developing bloat during their lifetimes.
The most important thing owners need to know about this condition is that it’s a medical emergency. Up to 13% of dogs who bloat die from the disease, making prompt care all the more critical.
What is Bloat and What Causes It?
Bloat, sometimes known as Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GVD), is different from the flatulence associated with certain foods. When a dog has GVD, the stomach’s air causes it to twist where it connects to the esophagus.
Gas in the dog’s stomach will build up because the twist traps are in the stomach. The stomach’s distention will make it hard for the dog to breathe because of the pressure. Another effect of the force is limiting blood flow to the dog’s heart.
What kills most dogs that bloat is going into shock. In a worst-case scenario, a rupture can occur, causing internal bleeding.
GVD is a serious enough condition that a dog can die in hours if you don’t seek vet care immediately. Treatment st an emergency vet may be necessary if the bloat happens outside your usual vet’s regular office hours.
What Are the Symptoms of Bloating in Great Danes?
One important thing to remember is that some symptoms are common in Great Danes with bloat, but not every dog will have every symptom. Dogs are very good at hiding signs of pain, and the signs might not be obvious.
The most apparent symptom of GVD is a distended stomach that feels hard to the touch. Even if the stomach is not distended, there are other symptoms. One thing helpful to keep in mind is that these dogs have deep chests, which sometimes conceal this sign.
Danes with GVD may retch or try to vomit with little or no discharge. However, the dog may have excessive stringy saliva resulting from the retching.
Dogs with bloat have difficulty lying down comfortably and might pace a lot. Even though restlessness is usually an early sign, you won’t want to delay getting treatment.
Bloating causes metabolic issues and acid indigestion that decrease space in the chest cavity, which may cause breathing difficulties. The increased pain and stress can make it difficult for bloated dogs to breathe.
The restricted blood flow and stress can increase the pulse rate. Your dog’s gums may also appear paler because of the reduced blood flow.
What Should You Do If Your Great Dane is Bloated?
The most important thing to remember is that GVD will not go away. This condition is fatal without veterinary intervention.
Without your regular veterinarian, your dog should see any vet available. If an emergency vet is in your area, one of these professionals will give your dog the best chance of survival.
Folk remedies and natural treatments should be avoided, as well as over-the-counter (OTC) gas pills.
Using these remedies takes time that you could use getting your dog to the vet for treatment. These remedies may also harm more than help.
It this is helpful if you could get in touch with your vet’s office while you are on the way. If your dog should require surgery, this gives the vet time to prepare.
What Factors Increase Your Dog’s Chances of Bloating?
Great Danes are not the only breed vulnerable to bloating. Large breeds with narrow, deep chests like Bloodhounds and Boxers are also susceptible to GVD. The shape of the chest makes it easier for the stomach to move.
Dogs that eat fast are more likely to end up bloating than slower eaters. Faster eaters usually swallow more air while eating, possibly building up gas. Dogs who eat in the same room or enclosure with other dogs may be more likely to gulp their food.
Drinking too much water after meals can also contribute to bloating. Restricting your dog’s access to water after meals may be necessary to help prevent bloat. Including canned food with your dog’s dry food will help their hydration levels.
If a dog has a close relative, such as a sire or dam, that has developed GVD, there is an increased bloating risk. Although many breeders cease breeding dogs that have developed GVD, sometimes they have already produced offspring before discovery.
Age is one of the most critical factors, with the risk increasing 20% yearly once a dog has turned three. The Danes most likely to have bloat overall are older dogs. When this condition occurs in senior dogs, the prognosis is poorer.
Male dogs have a higher risk of bloating than females. One of the possible reasons for this increased risk is the larger overall size, with males having bulkier chest areas.
Also, because males are bigger, they consume more food at a time than females.
An often-overlooked risk factor for GVD in dogs is temperament. Dogs with nervous dispositions are more likely to bloat, as are more aggressive dogs. Friendlier dogs with more docile temperaments have a lesser chance of developing GVD.
Lastly, owners will want to consider the quality of the food their dog consumes. If oil, fat, or soybean oil are among the first four listed ingredients, this food is likely to increase bloating.
High-quality dog food for large breeds will provide the best nutrition for these dogs. The better-quality foods are less likely to contain ingredients causing bloat.
Are There Ways to Prevent Great Danes from Bloating?
Although there is no way fool-proof way to eliminate all chances of bloat, there are some things you can do to reduce a Great Dane’s chances of developing GVD.
One of the worst things that Dane owners can do is to give their dogs one or two large meals daily. A better way to feed these dogs is to divide their food into three or four small meals, which reduces the likelihood of the dog getting bloated.
Exercising your dog too soon before or after a meal can also increase the chances of GVD. For the best results, it is a good idea to wait at least an hour before or after eating before your dog exercises.
Although some have used elevated dishes in the past because they believed they prevented bloat, this is untrue, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
A vital step to consider is slowing down how quickly the dog eats because eating too quickly results in more air being swallowed. One helpful thing for owners is that there are dishes available to help slow down the eating speed.
If you have concerns about your dog’s susceptibility to bloat, it is a good idea to talk to your vet about possible solutions, including surgery. If possible, having insurance or access to emergency funds may provide peace of mind.
Bloat is a serious condition that can have tragic consequences for your Great Dane. However, the good news is that there are several steps you can take to minimize the risk of bloating.
Even if your dog bloats, prompt veterinary care will increase the chances of a successful recovery.