Why Do Dogs Stomachs Flip?
What Is A Flipped Stomach?
When a person says that their dog’s stomach flipped, it basically means that their dog is bloated. While this may sound like a common and minor problem, it can be deadly if the bloating is severe. This condition may lead to what we call gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV).
GDV is also known as the twisted stomach, gastric dilation, or gastric torsion. No matter what you call it, it can cause great discomfort in your dog. GDV happens when the stomach becomes overstretched and rotated due to excessive gas content.
If ignored or left untreated, GDV could lead to organ damage, low blood pressure, and shock. The cumulative effects of GDV could eventually cause death.
Statistics show that GDV are more common in large dogs with a deep chest and broad shoulders. These include Basset Hounds, Boxers, Akitas, Great Dane, Weimaraner, and German Shepherds.
Even with treatment, GDV has a 10-60 percent mortality rate. Surgery decreases this mortality rate to 15-33 percent.
So, what causes dog stomachs to flip or get bloated? Vets and the experts aren’t sure with 100% certainty, but the risk of bloating could increase due to the following:
- Eating quickly
- Having one large meal
- Increased physical activities after eating
- It runs in the family (genetics)
- Eating too much food
- Drinking too fast
- Eating from a raised food bowl
- Eating certain food that contains citric acid and fat
- Not drinking water before and after a meal
- Certain temperament such as being anxious, fearful and aggressive
- Being a male dog
- Being older than seven years old
Bloating is caused by gas. If your dog is getting too much gas, it could lead to bloating.
Under normal conditions, the stomach of your dog contains a small amount of gas, food, and mucus. The stomach is found on top of the abdomen. To digest food, your stomach and intestines rhythmically contract to bring food from the esophagus to the other end of the digestive system.
However, in a bloated stomach, the excessive gas plus food distends and stretches your dog’s stomach many times its normal size. This can lead to tremendous pain in the abdomen. In some cases, the bloating action of the stomach makes itself rotate and twist. When this happens, the stomach cuts off blood supply and blocks the exit route of gas. Without proper medical intervention, the dog could die in just a few minutes or hours.
To diagnose a dog with fatal bloating or GDV, a radiograph is needed. At home, you need to check the stomach and see if it is distended. If excessive bloating is present, you will even see the stomach distended up to his ribs.
If you see stomach distension and your dog appears to be highly nauseated and is retching or vomiting, then you need to rush your pooch to your vet immediately.
To prevent bloating or GDV, make yourself familiar with the risk factors listed above. By avoiding those risk factors, you should be able to prevent bloating or at least decrease its risk.
For example, make sure you let your dog rest for about an hour after eating. Give him two smaller meals per day instead of giving one big meal. Give him water, too.
These are just some of the reasons why dog stomachs flip. Bloating and GDV could lead to serious problems. Thus, it is important that you know more about this topic. You may speak to your vet for more information.