Each year, approximately 60,000 dogs in the United States develop bloat, and 40 percent of those dogs die as a result, according to the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine in West Lafayette, Ind. Bloat occurs when a dog’s stomach dilates and rotates or twists on itself.
Symptoms of bloat include:
- dramatic swelling of the abdomen
- attempts at vomiting
- difficulty breathing.
Death often occurs one to several hours after onset.
Large dogs, such as German Shepherds, are prone to bloat. Veterinarians are not entirely sure what causes bloat in dogs, but it is linked to a dog’s eating habits. In many cases, bloat can be prevented.
“It’s highly advisable to feed German Shepherds twice a day instead of only once,” says Marie McInerney, D.V.M., of Plantation Animal Hospital in Plantation Fla. “To further minimize the risk of bloat, owners should have their German Shepherds refrain from activity for at least one hour before and after eating.”
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Never allow your German Shepherd to overeat.
- Moisten dry kibble with either canned food or water.
- Do not allow your German Shepherd to drink a lot of water after eating.
If you believe your German Shepherd may have bloat, take her to the veterinarian or animal emergency clinic immediately.
Excerpt from the Popular Puppies Series magabook German Shepherd Puppies with permission from its publisher, BowTie magazines, a division of BowTie Inc.