Bloat Revisited

Its talked about often, its talked about in depth – theories are thrown around, some valid, some less so.  The fact is that bloat and gastric dilation and volvulous are real, a concern for ALL dog owners and it seems they are here to stay.  There are no concrete reason why dogs bloat.  Its just not that simple.  Genetics, size, shape, temperament, diet – all play a part.  Genetics can’t be changed – all we can do is avoid breeding those dogs that have proven themselves prone

Why on earth would we not do whatever we could to lessen our dog’s chance of bloating? The answer is so simple and right in front of us – FEED RAW!

to it or come from lines prone to it.  Size and shape?  Also not able to be changed – we love the breeds and mixes we love regardless of chest depth, width, size or shape.  Temperament – tied closely to genetics – is one we can hopefully manipulate by careful responsible breeding as well as making sure our dogs are well socialized and as stress-free as we can make them – but traits inherent in some dogs, some breeds, some mixes, can be hard to change.  That leaves diet – something we have COMPLETE control over – finally a way we can lessen the risk to our own dogs unhindered by the actions of anyone or anything else.

German Shepherds and Weimaraners are two very bloat prone breeds – put the odds in their favor by feeding them a natural raw diet

Diet, for most dogs, consists of small hard crunchy balls of “stuff” that are boring to eat and hard to digest.  Kibble is one of the KEY components in causing a dog to bloat.  It may, and usually does, work in concert with other factors but there is no denying that it plays a pivotal role.  Experiment by putting some pieces of kibble in a glass of water – watch the expansion occur as the kibble re-hydrates itself.  That same thing happens in your dog’s stomach.  Dogs who eat large meals of kibble whether once a day or even twice per day (note: feeding one kibble meal per day greatly increases your chances of problems) exponentially increase their risk.  The digestibility of kibble is yet another factor.  Made largely of fillers and non-digestible parts (why did you think that those piles in the back yard so SO big???), kibble isn’t easily, quickly OR efficiently digested.  These characteristics all are bloat contributors.  So what to do?  Its easier than you think to substantially lower your risk – feed a healthy natural RAW diet based on meat, bones, organs and veggies.

Raw food is infinitely more digestible than kibble.  Why?  Its REAL food.  There is no question as to what you are feeding when you feed raw – you don’t have to guess where the meat came from, don’t have to guess whether or not there is even meat present.  You feed less because instead of being 50% usable its 100% usable.  Digestive upsets so often caused by the “extra” ingredients in kibbles aren’t present in a natural diet.  You feed what is good for your dog as an individual without all the extra preservative, useless fillers and indigestible ingredients.  It is due to its high digestibility and unadulterated state that feeding a raw diet will decrease even the most bloat prone breeds chances of bloating – even if they have already bloated before.

Purebred dogs aren’t the only ones at risk – mixed breed dogs rank in the top 25% of dogs likely to bloat. Feeding a raw diet can help to lessen the chance your dog will join those ranks

Anyone who has dealt with bloat in one of their dogs knows that if it happens once it will likely happen again.  Close to 80% of dogs who have bloated and recovered have another episode.  Many dog owners subject their dog to a procedure called gastropexy where they stomach is essentially stapled or “tacked” to the abdominal wall.  While this may indeed prevent the rotation of the stomach so common in bloat cases, it will NOT stop the dog from bloating again, and again and again.  If a bloat episode necessitates surgery in order to correct the problem than it is often commonplace for the surgeon to perform the gastropexy surgery while the dog is already open on the table.  Unfortunately, instead of taking a simple precaution such as diet change, some owners instead opt for elective gastropexy surgery believing that this will prevent the problem from every happening.  It simply isn’t true and an invasive lengthy surgery is never an optimal thing in any case.    Lifestyle change can make all the difference and is a far safer option.

Raw feeding, while new to many people, is not difficult, is not dangerous, is not “crazy”.  Its natural, its right and its one of the most healthful things you can do for your pet.  Doubtful though some may be, to simply stop feeding commercial kibble (regardless of quality) can be a life or death decision for your dog.  If something as simple as what you feed your dog can go so very far towards ensuring that this awful condition won’t take him away at an early age, common sense should take any and all uncertainty out of the decision.  Do what’s right, do what’s safe – give your dog a fighting chance to never succumb to this horrific illness – take the leap, feed raw.