The Dog Liberator™

The Dog Liberator rescues abandoned dogs throughout the Southeast. Based in Central Florida, this non-profit organization fosters all of their dogs in a home environment. Founded in 2009, all dogs are fully vetted, spayed or neutered prior to adoption. The Dog Liberator focuses in rescuing the herding breed, which consists of Border Collies, Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Aussies, Collies, and Deaf/Blind Dogs.

Bloat – When every second counts

Bloat – When every second counts

Recently yet another dear friend announced the sudden loss of their 4 legged best friend to bloat. Some people know what it is, and know the risk factors, yet others still join the discussion and are forced to ask “What on earth is bloat?”

Bloat is a condition where the stomach fills with gas, causing it to become overly enlarged and can lead to difficulty breathing. The stomach twists (180 to over 360 degrees) which leads to shock, and rapid death.  We are all for home remedies, but not for this one. This is one where you MUST go to the vet as soon as humanly possible. Bloat is incredibly painful. Knowing the signs could buy you the extra second you need to make it to the vet in time. Taking preventative measures could help ensure you never have to make that trip.

Bloated Stomach
Diagram of what happens in Bloat


Who is at Risk?
The real answer to this question is that (for a variety of reasons) any dog can be at risk, however some breeds have features which put them at risk. These breeds include (but are not limited to):

Afghan, Akita, Airedale Terrier, Alaskan Malamute, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Basset Hound, Boxer, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Collie, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spangle, German Shepherd, German Shorthaired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Gordon Setter, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, King Shepherd, Kuvasz, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Poodle, Newfoundland, Old English Sheepdog, Rottweiler, Samoyed, Shiloh Shepherd, St. Bernard, Standard Poodle, Weimaraner


Diagram of a dog with bloat


  • Restlessness ( and/or inability to get comfortable, pacing, whining)
  • Lethargic
  • Stiff legged walk
  • Difficulty walking and/or standing
  • Tight and/or Enlarged abdomen (dog may whine or groan if gentle pressure is applied to abdomen. Tapping on the abdomen results in a hollow sound)
  • Trouble/labored breathing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Retching and/or Vomiting
  • Belching
  • Symptoms of constipation (trying to poop and not succeeding)
  • Paleness of nose and mouth
  • Rapid heart rate and/or Weak pulse
  • Collapse
  • Pain symptoms – each dog expresses this differently, some in the symptoms mentioned above, and others have unique behaviors. Know your dog, and know their signs of pain.

If you think you see the signs, do not delay. With bloat, lives are saved or lost in minutes and seconds, and the quicker reaction time, the better the chances of survival.

Dog with bloat is prepped for surgery.

Risk Factors:

  • Large breed dogs are generally more at risk
  • Dogs with a deep chest
  • Exercise immediately after eating
  • “Family history” – many of us have no clue about our dog’s history, but if you do know that a parent or sibling to your dog has had bloat, your pup may be at greater risk.
  • Dogs who are 7+ years old
  • Male
  • Stressed/anxious/fearful/aggressive dogs
  • Lean/underweight dogs are at higher risk.
  • Dogs who eat quickly and/or inhale their food.
  • Dogs who are only fed one big meal per day
  • Poor diet (high grain/carb diets are dangerous. Those grains can ferment in the stomach and lead to bloat) Avoid sharing high grain/carb human foods and never let your pup eat raw bread dough.
  • Drinking a lot of water before/after eating.

There are two main treatments for bloat, and both require immediate action by a veterinarian.  We can not stress enough that every single second counts.

  1. If the stomach is not twisted yet, and it is possible to pass a tube down the throat to the stomach, this procedure is done to let the air out. Once the tube reaches the stomach there is a rush of air through the tube as the stomach is allowed to decompress.
  2. If the stomach is twisted, emergency surgery is necessary to untwist the stomach (and the spleen if necessary), and relieve the bloating. A gastropexy is performed which staples the stomach in place to prevent future twisting.

Dogs will also often receive treatment for shock, such as IV fluids, as well as pain medications, and even antibiotics if necessary.


  • Feed 2 smaller meals instead of one large one.
  • Take up your dog’s water close to meal time, and don’t return it until they have had a break after eating.
  • Do not exercise your dog right before or after feeding. (some recommend 2 hours before and after of no exercise)
  • Do Not Feed from Elevated Bowls – I know, I know, they are cute, and your pup doesn’t have to lean down to eat BUT eating from an elevated bowl is believed to increase your dog’s risk of bloat.
  • Get/create special bowls to help slow down your pup’s eating – put a ball in their bowl that they have to eat around, or buy specially design bowls which make it difficult to eat quickly.
  • Feed good quality dog food (low grain or grain free, low carb)
  • Avoid dog foods that contain citric acid.
  • Avoid dog foods that has fat in the first 4 ingredients
  • If you have more than one dog, feed them separately to avoid food guarding “guzzling” behavior (aka the “if I stuff it all in my stomach in 12 seconds you can’t steal it.” technique)
  • Probiotics can be good for dogs too! Talk to your vet about the benefits of probiotics to your pets health.
  • Some vets will recommend gastropexy, a surgical procedure in which the stomach is attached to the body wall to prevent it from shifting or twisting if there is a family history of bloat or significant risk factors.

In Honor and Memory of Bodhi Ayers-Norton 1/29/15


Constant companion, teddy-bear, and therapist.




Disclaimer – This article is a compilation of research and experience. We strongly encourage you to continue your own research speak with your vet about your pets possible risk factors. This article is NOT a substitute for proper veterinary care. If you believe your dog may have symptoms of bloat, get medical attention immediately.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: