Bloat in dogs is a scary concept. It’s painful and can cause lasting damage or even death. It’s important to know the signs of bloat and potential risk factors. 

Can dogs with bloat poop?

Like many issues, humans and dogs can both get bloat. If you’ve ever felt like your stomach was too full and swollen after a meal, you’ve experienced bloat. In humans, it quickly goes away, causing no lasting issues. In dogs, it’s much more dangerous. 

What is Bloat? 

The technical name for bloat is gastric dilatation and volvulus. It begins when your dog’s stomach fills with gas. This is known as gastric dilation. As pressure builds inside the stomach, it begins to twist. This is known as volvulus. Once the stomach twists, nothing can pass in or out. It essentially creates an airtight barrier. 

The gas and food trapped in the stomach begin to ferment, causing more gas and pressure to build. Blood flow is disrupted, which can cause shock and collapse. If it’s not treated promptly, death can result. 

Bloat and Poop

A dog will usually not be able to poop when they have bloat. It is possible that they will poop what has already been through the stomach. It is also possible that they will have watery diarrhea early on during bloat. 

Generally, a dog with bloat will not be able to poop. Stomach torsion blocks the entrance and exit to the stomach, so nothing can go out and in. This is part of the danger of bloat, because the dog can’t eliminate their waste. 

Can a dog with bloat fart?

No. The inability of the dog to pass gas is what causes bloat. There are known risk factors, but no one knows for sure why the dog can’t pass gas. 

Typically, a dog will pass gas by farting or belching, just like people do. Some dogs are famous for their ability to clear a room. 

When bloat occurs, gas is trapped in their stomach. It starts to ferment, causing more gas and pressure. If it isn’t treated, the stomach will twist. Once this occurs, the dog can’t poop. 

Risk Factors for Bloat

No one knows exactly what causes bloat, but risk factors have been identified. Large breed dogs are at a much higher risk of bloat, particularly those over 100 lbs. 

Deep or barrel-chested dogs also have a higher risk. Great Danes, St. Bernards, Mastiffs, and Greyhounds are at high risk for this reason. 

Too much or too little water also increase the risk. No water before and after meals, and excessive water after eating are risk factors. Eating only one meal a day is another risk factor. 

The type of food also plays a role. Food with animal fat as the first ingredient is a risk. Adding water to dry food that contains citric acid increases risk as well. Senior dogs are at a higher risk as well. It’s believed this is because they lose muscle tone over time. 

Elevated feeding bowls also increase the risk of bloat. Unfortunately, senior dogs with mobility issues may need a raised food bowl.

Dogs that gulp their food are at a higher risk as well. It’s thought this is because they ingest more air when they eat. 

Lastly, temperament plays a role. Dogs who are anxious or fearful are at a higher risk than those with a  calm temperament. 

Preventing Bloat

There are ways to reduce your dog’s risk of bloat. Don’t allow your dog to exercise for at least 30 minutes after a meal. 

If your dog needs a raised bowl and tends to gulp their food, consider getting a puzzle bowl. These bowls force your dog to eat slower, which can reduce the risk of bloat. 

Feed your dog at least two meals a day instead of one large meal. Feeding smaller size kibble can also help. 

Choose a food high in meat meal and calcium. Adding canned food also reduces the risk of bloat. Table scraps are generally not recommended because of potential weight gain issues. However, including table scraps in your dog’s diet also reduces the risk of bloat. 

 Some foods are not appropriate for dogs, so it’s important to know which table foods you can feed your dog. Chocolate, garlic, and coffee are off-limits to dogs. You’ll also want to avoid seeds and pits from fruits. 

Bloat Preventative Surgery

If your dog is at a high risk of bloat, you can consider preventative surgery. Gastropexy is a minimally invasive surgery that can prevent severe complications and death from bloat. 

It doesn’t prevent bloat itself. Instead, it prevents the stomach from twisting when bloat occurs. The stomach twisting is what causes severe damage and potential death. If your dog has this surgery, they will still require treatment for bloat, but they have a much greater chance of successful treatment without surgery. 

The surgery can be performed at the same time as spay or neuter. It essentially tacks the stomach to the inside of the abdomen so it doesn’t move during bloat. It’s a same-day surgery with an easy recovery. 

What are the signs of bloat in a dog?

Bloat comes on very quickly, often in otherwise healthy dogs. One of the first signs of bloat is a swollen stomach. It will be very tight due to the pressure inside it. 

The dog will also be in a lot of pain. They will often be restless, and may not be able to stay still. They will whine or show other signs of pain. They will attempt to vomit, but little to nothing will come out. Instead, they dry heave frequently. 

They will have rapid and shallow breathing. They may drool excessively due to the pain they are in. 

How is Bloat Treated?

When you have gas, you likely reach for an over-the-counter remedy like Gas-x. There are many conditions dogs have that can be treated at home, but this isn’t one of them. 

If you suspect your dog has bloat, you’ll need to get them to the vet immediately. If they are treated before stomach torsion occurs, they have a much higher chance of survival. 

If the dog’s stomach isn’t twisted, the stomach can be decompressed. This releases the gas and relieves the bloat. However, after the stomach has twisted, surgery is required for the dog to survive. 

Do dogs with bloat throw up?

Dogs with bloat experience intense nausea. This causes retching or dry heaves. Dogs may vomit during the early stages of bloat, but once the stomach twists, it’s impossible for them to throw up productively. They will retch, but not be able to get anything out. 

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.