GDV or Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, occurs as a result of a dog's stomach bloating and eventually twisting around itself. Once the stomach is twisted it can quickly fill with gas and stop blood flow from returning to the heart.
GDV is often fatal with an estimated 30% of affected dogs losing their life. Dogs with deep narrow chests (like Greyhounds) are more susceptible to this condition, as well as dogs who have a family history of bloat.
While there are many myths about how to prevent bloat, only a few have been scientifically proven to be effective.
Firstly, let's break down the stats:
· Dogs that are fed once daily are twice as likely to bloat than those who are fed 2 meals a day.
· Dogs who eat quickly are 5 times more likely to get bloat than their slow-eating counterparts
· Stressed and anxious dogs are more likely to bloat
· Unhappy or fearful dogs are 2 times more likely to suffer from bloat.
Here's are some things you can do to prevent GDV:
· Feed them smaller portions: Give them smaller portions, multiple times a day as opposed to one large meal. This means their stomach will work throughout the day to digest the food rather than one large meal which can cause excessive gas build-up.
· Slow down their eating: Use food puzzles and feeders to slow down the rate at which they consume their food. This is also an excellent enrichment tool.
· Reduce stress: Remove stress triggers around meal times, including feeding other pets in separate areas of the house if they are particularly protective of their food.
· Avoid physical activity before and after meals: Wait 30-60 minutes before and after exercise to feed your dog.
Whilst we cannot eliminate the threat of bloat altogether, the above techniques can help to reduce your dog's risk of suffering from GDV.
If your dog shows any signs of bloat, please contact your Vet immediately.