Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday's Helpful Pet Tip!

Ok, I noticed that on many blogs on certain days of the week are dedicated to special topics. My blogger friend Jennifer over at (great blog!) has Tuesday Treasures and it got me to thinking about doing something similar. So, since I am a dog/cat NUT I decided to post "helpful" pet tips and/or  info on Wednesdays.
Some info will be on serious note but a lot of the time, I hope for it to be fun and frivilous! I also hope to get some helpful and create comments! So here it goes! drum roll please!
the  first of Wednesday's Helpful Pet Tips!and I'm starting on a serious note:  
the reason that I decided to start with this is because a Great Dane "Gunnar" that I have taken care of in the past, died suddenly at home on the weekend from "gastric torsion" also known as BLOAT. He was only a few years old and this really hit home for me because my Blue is 4! I have always feed Blue on an elevated little table because I had read that it was easier on them to eat this way. After this horrible incident I started to do some research and I am now no longer feeding him this way.
A good friend of mine, Amber has two rescued Mastiffs.
They are just big sweet puppies but when it comes to their food they just enhale it! She has researched into ways to get them to slow down in their eating and she found special bowls with a molded raised area in the middle that forces them to eat around it and slow down some. But of course being a frugal pet-owner like myself, she found an alternative to the expensive pet bowl! She went to the Goodwill and purchase a couple of bundt cake pans for her big boys and it's been working great for her big boys! So that is the tip of the day! - Bundt Cake Pans!

Disclaimer alert: I am not a professional of any kind, just a dog lover who has done research over the internet on my own. If you have any questions, please consult your veterinarian for accurate and professional advice.
So here is what I gathered take from it what you will:
Bloat is a very serious health risk for many dogs, yet many dog owners know very little about it. It is the second leading killer of dogs, after cancer.
1. Be aware that this condition can be fatal.
2. Know your dog's risk: The condition is most common in large and giant breeds.
3. Help prevent bloating and torsion by feeding your dog twice a day.
4. Avoid vigorous activity 1 hour before and after a meal.
5. Be sure to always have water available for your dog, but prevent your dog from drinking large volumes immediately after exercise.
6. Take your dog to the veterinarian immediately if within hours of a meal she is salivating, wrenching, vomiting and appears to have an enlarged stomach.

Typical symptoms often include some (but not necessarily all) of the following. Unfortunately, from the onset of the first symptoms you have very little time (sometimes minutes, sometimes hours) to get immediate medical attention for your dog. Know your dog and know when it's not acting right.

Attempts to vomit (usually unsuccessful); may occur every 5-30 minutes This seems to be one of the most common symptoms & has been referred to as the "hallmark symptom"
"Unsuccessful vomiting" means either nothing comes up or possibly just foam and/or mucous comes up
Doesn't act like usual self, perhaps the earliest warning sign and may be the only sign that almost always occurs !
 There are reports that dogs who bloated asked to go outside in the middle of the night. If this is combined with frequent attempts to vomit, and if your dog doesn't typically ask to go outside in the middle of the night, bloat is a very real possibility.
Significant anxiety and restlessness
One of the earliest warning signs and seems fairly typical
"Hunched up" or "roached up" appearance
Lack of normal gurgling and digestive sounds in the tummy. Many dog owners report this after putting their ear to their dog's tummy.
Bloated abdomen that may feel tight (like a drum)-but despite the term " bloat",
 many times this symptom never occurs or is not apparent.

More symptoms:
Pale or off-color gums
Dark red in early stages, white or blue in later stages.
Unproductive gagging
Heavy salivating or drooling
Foamy mucous around the lips, or vomiting foamy mucous
Unproductive attempts to defecate
Licking the air
Seeking a hiding place
Looking at their side or other evidence of abdominal pain or discomfort
May refuse to lie down or even sit down
May stand spread-legged
May curl up in a ball or go into a praying or crouched position
May attempt to eat small stones and twigs
Drinking excessively
Heavy or rapid panting
Shallow breathing
Cold mouth membranes
Apparent weakness; unable to stand or has a spread-legged stance
Especially in advanced stage :Accelerated heartbeat
Heart rate increases as bloating progresses
Weak pulse

Reducing the chances of bloat are:
Avoid highly stressful situations. If you can't avoid them, try to minimize the stress as much as possible. Be extra watchful.
Do not use an elevated food bowl
Do not exercise for at least an hour (longer if possible) before and especially after eating
Particularly avoid vigorous exercise and don't permit your dog to roll over, which could cause the stomach to twist
Do not permit rapid eating
Feed 2 or 3 meals daily, instead of just one
Do not give water one hour before or after a meal
It dilutes the gastric juices necessary for proper digestion, which leads to gas production.
Always keep a product with simethicone (e.g., Mylanta Gas (not regular Mylanta), Phazyme, Gas-X, etc.) on hand to treat gas symptoms.
Some recommend giving your dog simethicone immediately if your dog burps more than once or shows other signs of gas.
Some report relief of gas symptoms with 1/2 tsp of nutmeg or the homeopathic remedy Nux moschata 30
Allow access to fresh water at all times, except before and after meals
Make meals a peaceful, stress-free time
When switching dog food, do so gradually (allow several weeks)
Do not feed dry food exclusively

Breeds most at risk according to the links below:
Afghan Hound
Airedale Terrier
Alaskan Malamute
Basset Hound
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bouvier des Flandres
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Doberman Pinscher
English Springer Spaniel
Fila Brasileiro
Golden Retriever
Gordon Setter
Great Dane
German Shepherd
German Shorthaired Pointer
Great Pyrenees
Irish Setter
Irish Wolfhound
King Shepherd
Labrador Retriever
Miniature Poodle
Old English Sheepdog
Shiloh Shepherd
St. Bernard
Standard Poodle


sassypackrat said...

O.k. now I'm completely freaked out!
This was so informative. I had no idea about this! My little dog eats like a vacuum and always drinks water afterwards. Now I'll make sure the water is up for a while after she eats. I'm going to watch her like a hawk after she eats now! She has intestinal problems already so maybe this will help.
Thanks much for posting about this! I'll be looking every Wednesday for the pet tips.

yoborobo said...

Cindi - I have never, ever heard of this! Thank you so much for telling me about it. I will be more careful about water with Sophie. She usually eats slowly (compared to the Golden I used to have who INHALED), but still, it's good to know about this. Thank you!!! (and you do not sound cranky to me, sisterfriend!! xoxo )

oldblackcatboo said...

Hey Sassy! I didn't mean to freak you out, sorry. If it eases your mind a bit, usually it's bigger dogs that get bloat, especially ones with big chests and curved in bellies (I've been told) like Boxers etc. But of course it's something to still watch. I feed my big guy Blue only 2 cups per setting (he gets a daily total of 5-6)Don't worry to much! Take care, Cindi

oldblackcatboo said...

Hey Pam! I know, I wasn't aware of how OFTEN it happens. The groomer at work, also lost her Standard Poodle last year from Bloat! She didn't realize what was going on until it was too late. It's all too sad...
Have a good no-housework day sisterfriend! Xoxo - Grumpy Cindi

julie Haymaker thompson said...

OMG If I could find a way to slow my dogs eating down I would love it!!! they are tiny food obsessed mutts !!!They will gorge them selves to death if I let them . A bundt cake pan is great for big dogs any ideas for under 10 pound food inhalers?? Julie

The Itsy Bitsy Spill said...

Hey Cindy darling!!

I have time to send you message! That's what's great about waking up at 6:30am to visit blog before I start my busy day at the art studio.

Now I just love your dog, he is a charming character. About your post I never heard such a thing my god. My puppy who is now 9 months A German short hair pointer doesn't eat her food fast she takes her time and then drinks water. This is great to know in case she does start to eat like a maniac.

Also I think you staring to post on pet tips on Wednesday is a fabulous idea. All the information that you will be posting here is great to know for those or anyone else who have pets, very important!!!

I want to know. I usually go on line to find out but now I will go to you. And by the way your animal pieces are wonderful. Hey thanks for visiting me you always bring a smile to my face when I see you in my blog. You are so adorable!! I want you to have a beautiful day full of sunshine and creativity. Sending a air hug and love across the sky sweets. Mua mua! Un beso para ti!

oldblackcatboo said...

Hi Julie! I'm so happy you stopped by my blog! Yes, I've been told that you can put a unopened small can (the size that manadarin oranges come in) and put that in the bowl so that they have to eat around it and/or if you are giving them canned food, take a spoon and smashed the wet canned food against the sides of the bowl so that it sticks and so that they have to "work" to get it off. Have a Great Day!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

this is such an excellent post! bloat is something everyone should be aware of and get rid of those elevated bowl stands immediately. bloat kills dogs as fast as heat stroke. we all need to know about this!