Gastric volvulus, gastric dilation, or bloat, as it is commonly referred to, is a condition in dogs where the stomach of a dog becomes distended with large amounts of food and gas and begins to twist on itself, cutting off vital blood supply to the rest of the digestive tract. This condition is excruciatingly painful for the dog and is a life threatening condition that requires surgical intervention within an hour of onset, to prevent damage irreparable to the digestive tract.
Bloat can occur in any breed of dog, regardless of age, sex or other health conditions, though certain breeds seem to be more susceptible to the condition such as most large and giant breed dogs i.e. Great Danes, Alaskan Malamutes, and Irish Wolfhounds.
The original cause of bloat was thought to be linked to overfeeding particularly sensitive breeds, though now it has been determined that the amount of food required to cause this devastating condition is much more than any dog would consume in one sitting. Later, it was determined that specific dog food ingredients may contribute to the disease as well as the amount of air a dog inhales as he eats.
Dog, by nature, are omnivores, but require large amounts of protein in order to maintain proper digestive health. Up until recently, many commercially prepared dog foods contained high amounts of grain and other less expensive fillers. The digestive process of dogs produces a large amount of gas as it breaks down the vegetable matter, creating a distention in the belly that is normally relieved by passing the gas through the digestive system, otherwise known as flatulence. Scientific research has proven that larger amounts of quality protein are required to maintain a dog’s health and prevent bloat.
Choosing a high quality dog food, with the protein source listed as one of the first three ingredients is recommended for all dogs, but is a must for dogs that are particularly sensitive to bloat. If you have a dog breed that is particularly susceptible to bloat, it may be advisable to make your dog’s food at home, using premium protein sources and less fillers.
Creating a balanced homemade dog food can be accomplished by cooking ground chicken or