Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

Your Belching Dog

by Steve Fabian | Oct 05, 2011

Someone had a question for me today about her “belching” dog.  He's a bit of a nervous dog who eats quickly and is often found belching after meals.  Is this normal?

I thought it was a great opportunity to educate about bloat, so this episode will feature our belching dog.

I know many of you are all too familiar with bloat, or stomach torsion, or for you science geeks, GDV (gastric dilation with volvulus).  This usually caused by taking in too much air while drinking or eating.  It occurs when air within the stomach following a meal is trapped. If humans have air in their stomach, they'll burp. Some dogs do not perform this act and the air becomes trapped. Air pressure in the bloated stomach pushes against other organs and veins creating a problem with blood and oxygen reaching other organs.  So good for our belching dog for burping to release the pressure.

Here are some high risk factors:

  • Older dogs more likely than younger dogs
  • Males more than females
  • Pure breeds more likely than mixed breeds
  • Familial link
  • Deep-chested dogs
  • Nervous, fearful dogs
  • Eats one meal per day
  • Not caused by dietary factors

There's a lot of information out there about nutrition and bloat, but honestly much of it is confusing, contradictory and overwhelming.  The most important thing, if you have a dog who is a fast eater, you know, forgets to chew their food, it is best to slow them down.  Here are a couple of options. 

 1.  Tennis balls or any other kind of ball really.  For my little female who thinks that even though everyone else has their own food, they may want to eat hers, I just throw about three tennis balls or rubber balls in her bowl on top of her food.  She has to move the balls around to get to the food, hence slowing her down and not allowing her access to large amounts of food at a time.  This helps her feel special since she thinks she gets a Happy Meal every night.  I have also learned that there are stainless steel balls, conveniently dishwasher safe.

 2.  There are many food bowls on the market for fast eaters.  In fact if you do an internet search "slow down my dog's eating", there will be plenty to choose from.  Most pet stores also carry these bowls.

 3.  Contrary to popular belief, raising the dogs food bowl does not make them less likely to get bloat.

 4.  Feeding your dog smaller more frequent meals is a great idea instead of trying to feed one big meal once a day.

 5.  Restrict exercise.  No strenuous exercise an hour before or after meals.

Thank you to our belching dog for his case study today.  Be sure to know the signs of bloat because it is indeed an emergency.  You absolutely must get your dog to a vet immediately as this is a life threatening condition.  The air-filled stomach is also likely to twist. This interrupts blood flow into the stomach and the tissue of the stomach begins to die. Once this happens, a dog may have only a few hours to live.

Signs of bloat are usually vomiting but nothing comes up, lethargy, may look drunk or off balance when trying to walk, distended or firm abdomen, may shift, pace or seem very uncomfortable.  Also in later stages as the symptoms advance, the tongue and gums become pale (white) or blue.

Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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P.O. Box 37156 Raleigh • NC 27627 • Phone: 919-676-7144