“Don’t feed your dog ice cubes.” “Ice water causes bloat.” We’ve all seen these stories on social media and people share this thinking that they are being helpful. I want you to know that these stories are myths. Ask any vet and they will tell you that they have never seen a case of bloat caused by ice cubes.

So what is bloat? Bloat is a very serious condition where a dog’s stomach fills with air, fluid and or food. The enlarged stomach expands and twists, putting pressure on other organs so that your dog has difficulty breathing and eventually can cut off the blood supply to organs resulting in death.

It can be hard to recognize but here are a few symptoms to watch for. There are three stages of bloat. At first the dog will appear anxious or restless, have a distended stomach and be unable to vomit or burp. Next your dog will have a rapid heartbeat and produce a lot of saliva. Finally, your dog will have difficulty breathing and low blood pressure (think pale gums).

While all dogs can develop bloat, large and giant breeds are more susceptible because of their deep and narrow chests- think German shepherd, Great Dane or boxers.

So now you know what to look for, how can you reduce the chance of your dog developing bloat?

Feed smaller meals spread throughout the day. Don’t exercise at least an hour before or after eating. Don’t allow your dog to eat quickly or drink too much water as this can cause gulping of air. Keep stress levels to a minimum and do not feed dry food exclusively. But the most important thing is to know your dog so that you can recognize when they are not acting normally.

If your dog presents with any of these symptoms, get them to a vet immediately. When they receive treatment within six hours of presenting with symptoms, they have a better chance of survival.


About the Author

Corry Hamilton is the owner of Taking The Lead (www.takingthelead.ca) — a pet care business that focuses on pet nutrition and well-being. Like many entrepreneurs, her journey towards creating a business of her own wasn't a straight path, but she believes that no matter what life throws at you, you can always pick yourself up and move on. You never know where it may take you and make all your dreams come true. You can check out what Corry is up to on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TakingTheLead.CorryHamilton and Twitter: https://twitter.com/TakingTheLead07