*****All information in this article is intended as a guide only. Please see your vet for any medical concern/s with your hound*****
Like all large deep chested dogs, greyhounds are susceptible to bloat. This condition is fatal if not treated quickly enough. Bloating can occur without warning and many owners may mistake it for indigestion. Gastric torsion will often result in a bloated belly (the ladies may look pregnant!) and you may even see the stomach twisting and turning. However, you can’t be sure that it will be that noticeable. Once the stomach starts to twist and turn it can torsion, which can be fatal. It cuts off the circulation in the stomach and blood gets pushed into the main organs while the stomach dies. Nobody wants that!!
No one really knows what causes bloat but there have been some behaviours that are exhibited by some dogs that experience bloat. Nervous or high-strung dogs can be susceptible to bloat and there is an indication that stress plays a part in the disease. Dogs that are fed dried dog food in large quantities also may experience bloat more than others. Whether this is due to some food allergy or sensitivity is not known.
Dogs that gulp a large amount of water, and gulp their meals may also can experience bloat more than others. Gulping food from the floor rather than an elevated dish can also contribute .It might be due to the additional air that is taken in with the food that causes bloat or some other unknown factor. Popping your houndie’s food and water bowls on top of a crate is an easy option, although if you are DIY minded something more stylish like the below made with an old chair and bowl prevents the bowl moving around.
In general, a natural food diet seems to be beneficial for dogs that experience bloat. Avoid cheap kibble with high cereal content and stick with something that is more nutritious and chewy that takes longer to eat. For example offal, chicken frames, and other and raw meaty bones (also good for teeth!) It is highly recommended greyhounds be fed twice daily instead of one meal to help prevent bloat, as they are less likely to gulp their food if fed more often.
Exercise may also contribute to bloat if done just prior to eating or directly after eating. Try to exercise you dog in between meals and not close to meal times. No vigorous exercise should be undertaken one to two hours before and after meals. Your houndie is best in the horizontal position after a meal as demonstrated here…
Above all, if you have any question whether your houndie has bloat take them immediately to your vet. Do not attempt to relieve your dog’s distress if you are not someone who knows how to do this without hurting the hound. Any big changes in your dog’s diet should also be discussed with your vet, especially if you are converting to home made meals, to ensure proper nutrition.
We hope you have a healthy happy houndie!