Bloat is a life-threatening condition, more common in large breed dogs, marked by gastric distension that results in the twisting of the stomach. Dog owners need to know the causes of bloat and to prevent it from occurring


Bloat is a condition caused when a dog is unable to relieve gastric distension by vomiting food or belching stomach gas. Stomach torsion causes the oesophagus to restrict, affecting the spleen and other organs of the digestive system. Bloat can result in circulatory failure and cardiac arrest.


Bloat is caused by excess digestive gases. Bloat is marked by abdominal distension and physical distress. A dog with bloat may salivate excessively, retch but fail to vomit and become very weak or restless.


Bloat is a critical veterinary emergency. Treatment is expensive and the outcome not guaranteed. A dog with suspected bloat must receive immediate veterinary care. Emergency abdominal surgery to relieve the build-up of gases that cause bloat is essential.


The cause of bloat–excess gas–can be prevented by offering a dog multiple smaller meals instead of one large daily meal and discouraging fast eating and “gulping” of air. Dogs predisposed to bloat should not exercise for at least an hour after eating.

Expert Insight

Dogs breeds that are large and deep-chested are most commonly affected by bloat. This includes Great Danes, German shepherds, Irish wolfhounds, Dobermans, Akitas and bloodhounds. Tendency to bloat may be inherited.