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    PeterDobias.com / Blog / Supplements & Diet

    Stomach Bloat – Gastric Dilation Volvulus in Dogs – Holistic Approach

    By Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

    Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian. His love of dogs and passion for natural healing and nutrition led him to writing, teaching and helping people create health naturally, without drugs, chemicals and processed food.

    Health and Longevity Course for Dogs             Chapter 14
    The story of Daisy, the dog

    Daisy was one of those dogs that everyone loved, and I was no exception. I met her and her ‘mom’ Paula in the early 2000s and looked forward to their visits to my practice. Sometimes there was nothing wrong with Daisy, but Paula enjoyed coming for a little chat, especially after her husband passed away.

    One wintery weekend I was away visiting my sister when Paula called. 

    She sounded alarmed because Daisy, who was absolutely fine an hour ago, was now in severe distress. Paula told me Daisy ate her full meal and played in the backyard with no signs of a problem and now her breathing was shallow and her abdomen was severely distended. She had all the signs of stomach bloat.

    I immediately recognized Paula was describing the symptoms of Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV), which is also known as stomach bloat. I asked her not to wait a minute and take her to the local emergency hospital. Sadly, Daisy died in surgery and Paula and I were devastated.

    Even many years later, I can’t stop feeling that sinking sensation I had when I learned that Daisy died. I also know there are many dogs each year who die from this mostly preventable condition. 

    My hope is Chapter 14 of the Health and Longevity Course for Dogs will help you protect your dog and you'll share it with others to help them do the same. 

    5 ways to prevent stomach bloat in your dog

    Most veterinary textbooks state that GDV is a serious, life-threatening condition caused by fermentation of food, gas build-up and twist, or torsion, of the stomach, which causes severe distention and blood circulation collapse and shock.

    However, these books never mention two factors that, as I have discovered, play an important role in GDV occurrence.

    1. Why dogs fed kibble are much more likely to bloat

    In nature, dogs have evolved to digest the carcasses of prey. They are equipped with a highly effective set of teeth for ripping, shearing, crushing and crunching meat and bones. Their digestive tract is ideal for digesting raw meat protein and the acidic pH of their stomach protects them from pathogenic bacteria. Stomach acids are also the reason why wild and domestic canines are capable of digesting raw bones

    Unfortunately, most dogs today are fed kibble, highly processed and ground food that turns into a slimy porridge soon after it reaches the stomach.

    Over time the stomach muscles become very weak. The muscles don’t need to work as hard due to the lack of natural roughage in the food, such as raw bones and meat. ‘Kibble stomach’ is the equivalent of a lazy and weak couch potato that is more predisposed to gastric dilation.

    As if this was not enough, kibble and processed food are much more likely to cause fermentation and gas build-up, which increases the chance of bloat even more. Grain and carbohydrate-based kibble are especially prone to producing gas.

    2. What you may not know about fruit

    Did you know that dogs should never be fed fruit and protein together? The main reason is the digestive time for fruit and protein is different. 

    Fruit digestion time in the stomach is much shorter than protein. If they are fed together, the stomach does not empty until the protein portion is digested, which can cause fermentation and gas build-up.

    I have heard some people say the fermentation process causes alcohol production, which can make your dog drunk, but I have never seen this.

    Ideally, one should feed fruit at least one hour or longer before a meal and at least four hours after eating.

    3. How to exercise your dog safely

    The general consensus is you should wait at least four hours after eating to exercise your dog. When your dog’s stomach is full, it is much more likely to twist and turn when they make a sudden movement. 

    There are still many people feeding their dogs and taking them for a walk and a play in a park and you and I need to caution them about the risks.

    This article gives more details on exercising dogs safely.

    4. Nutrient deficiencies play an important role

    In Chapter 5 and 6 of the Health and Longevity Course for Dogs, I mention in detail why natural vitamins, plant-based minerals, amino acids and omega oils are key to optimal organ function. We now know that the body can’t produce many of these nutrients on its own and they need to come from the soil.

    Unfortunately, agricultural soils are severely nutrient depleted and those deficiencies are passed on to our dogs. Such deficiencies can also reduce the vitality, strength and mobility of the stomach wall and logically increases the chances of bloat. 

    5. A healthy back is key to healthy stomach function

    In Chapter 7 of the Health and Longevity Course for Dogs I write about the energy flow of the body and how important it is to organ function.

    After years of observation, I have found a very close connection between the thoracic-lumbar junction of the spine and the stomach. The stomach association points are right behind the last rib on both sides of the spine. 

    Dogs with a tendency for stomach problems often have inflammation and sensitivity in this area and sometimes this inflammation leads to spondylosis, a form of spinal arthritis.  

    The interesting part of this is that my emergency clinic colleagues confirmed that they often see spondylosis at the stomach association point. 

    This means that regular monthly check-ups are an important part of GDV prevention, especially if you see your dog is sensitive along the spine behind the last rib. 

    I find many modalities are helpful and the results depend greatly on the skills of the practitioner. Physiotherapy, chiropractic, osteopathy, massage, intramuscular needle stimulation treatment (IMS) and acupuncture are just a few examples of practitioners you can consult.

    What to do if you suspect bloat? 

    First, panting is not a sign of bloat on its own. However, if it comes with severe distress, pale gums, stomach distention and excessive salivation, you must rush your dog to the nearest vet or emergency clinic immediately. 

    As a first aid measure on the way to the hospital, I recommend giving the homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica or Carbo Vegetabilis in 30C or 200C potency.

    After your arrival, a light sedation may be required and a stomach tube will be inserted to release the gas immediately. This may also be achieved by using a large needle directly through the abdominal wall.

    The most life-threatening part of GDV is a circulatory collapse and shock and these steps can be lifesaving.  

    After this, radiographs will usually follow and in some cases, an emergency surgery is required. 

    Is preventive surgery gastropexy good for preventing GDV?

    Gastropexy is a commonly recommended preventive procedure, where the stomach wall is attached to the inside of the rib cage to prevent the stomach from flipping. 

    Personally, I'm not in favor of gastropexy because it restricts the natural movement and function of the stomach. Also, any surgical intervention affects the body’s energy channels and the natural state of the body is the best.

    The best prevention of bloat 

    I feel very grateful that by following the precautions mentioned in the article, not a single patient of mine suffered from GDV since Daisy passed away. In her case, it was the exercise right after feeding that was the cause.

    The best way to protect your dog from GDV is to feed a natural raw or cooked diet and raw bones, give essential supplements, feed fruit separately from protein, provide safe exercise and ensure good spinal energy flow. 

    Did you know this is only one article from our free Holistic Health & Longevity Course? Check out the entire course...

    To read the entire Holistic Health and Longevity Course for Dogs click the links below. 

    © Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

     

    Course Chapters

    How can you spend more time with your best friend? Learn one principle that can give your dog more healthy years and its right under your nose. 

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    There is a secret in your dog's hair that could make his or her life longer. Improve your dog's health by finding out what is missing and how to get rid of some nasty toxins.

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    There is a way to prevent disease and kick out toxins. I hope learning how will add years to your dog's life!  

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    This time I've taken on the topic of drugs and how to decide which ones are ok to use if needed and which ones are too dangerous to use.

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    A long and healthy life can be so simple. It only takes one step to make a dramatic change.

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    You won't believe what most multivitamins are made from. Learn which vitamins work the best and which ones to avoid.

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    You can avoid many harmful and unnecessary treatments for your dog with one simple principle. Learn how to check your dog’s spinal alignment and find out what ailments muscle injuries, pinched nerves and blocked energy flow can cause by reading this article.

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    Learn how to examine your dog’s spine and what might be hiding in plain view. See the commonly missed causes of disease and how to determine if your dog has back pain and discomfort. 

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    Does your dog have ear problems, nasal or oral tumors, reverse sneezing or an  itchy head or hair loss on their head? Learn how you can address some of these problems and save thousands in vet care costs.

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    There is one part of the body that affects many vital organs. The neck is the gateway for nerve, energy and blood flow to the rest of your dog’s body. I know you want to protect your dog and keeping their neck healthy is a very important principle to achieve that. Read this article to find out how to keep your dog’s neck out of harm’s way.

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    Dogs have our hearts and that is why we need to protect their heart. Dog’s as they age often face muscle problems and spinal misalignment and you might be surprised to know how that can hurt their heart. Learn how to protect your dog’s spine and by extension their heart.

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    What could be causing your dog’s cough? There are many lung diseases out there, but many people are still not aware about this one important cause. Read how this unique approach can improve your dog's lung health.

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    Pancreatitis is a very common, sometimes life threatening disease that can be successfully treated or prevented by drug free natural holistic methods.

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    5 steps to protect your dog from this serious, life-threatening condition and what you need to know about diet, exercise and your dog’s spine to prevent it.

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    I find that diarrhea is one of the most commonly  misdiagnosed problems in veterinary medicine. The paradox is that the answer is sometimes very simple, but not what one expects.

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    A COMPLETE GUIDE  - holistic and natural approach to anal gland problems in dogs - abscess, inflammation, infection and "fishy smell". What is normal, what you need to know to prevent irreversible mistakes.  

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    Product Reference

    Items referenced in this article.

    Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian. He graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1988 in the Czech Republic and obtained the Canadian Certificate of Qualification in 1995. He is currently licensed in the European Union, and his unique approach to healing and nutrition helps holistically minded dog lovers worldwide.

    Dr. Dobias strongly believes that disease prevention, natural nutrition and supplements, the right exercise and a drug free approach to medicine can add years to your dog's life.

    As a formulator of his all-natural vitamin and supplement line and co-inventor of natural, chemical free flea and tick control, FleaHex® and TickHex® his unique healing system and products currently hold the highest independent five star customer rating. For more information click here.

    Any general recommendations that Dr. Dobias makes are not a substitute for the appropriate veterinary care and are for informational and educational purposes only.

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