Q: How can I prevent a "twisted stomach" in my dog?
Will feeding my dog on a raised stand reduce his chance of twisted stomach?
Several factors could put dogs at increased risk for gastric dilation-torsion complex (gastric dilation-volvulus (GVD), “bloat,” or “twisted stomach”) but the height of food bowls probably has little effect.
Emergency surgical intervention might be necessary to relieve the pressure of GVD, when gas and liquid are trapped in a kind of “double bubble” of the dog’s stomach. A dog with twisted stomach might have a bloated abdomen, be retching without actually vomiting, and appear depressed or restless and extremely uncomfortable. The dog may be in “shock” with pale mucous membranes.
Dogs with these signs — with or without a history or breed-predisposition to GDV — need emergency veterinary care. You might be told to give Pepcid or Simethicone on the way. After emergency surgery, the veterinarian might perform a procedure called gastropexy — attaching the stomach so it can’t twist again.
Large, deep-chested dogs of certain breeds are the most likely to suffer GDV, and several causes can raise their risk: stress and eating in “competition” with other dogs; eating dry kibble that expands in the stomach, or eating fatty, oily food that stays longer in the stomach; eating one large meal a day; or vigorous exercise right after eating. To reduce GDV risk, don’t let your dog do these things.
Moisten kibble before serving — however high or low the serving bowl is.
Thanks to the vets at BluePearl Veterinary Partners (bluepearlvet.com) for this answer.
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