Bloat is a very serious

Bloat is a very serious health risk for many dogs, yet many dog owners know very little about it.  Bloat is the second leading killer of dogs, after cancer. 
It is frequently reported that deep-chested dogs, such as German Shepherds, Great Danes, and Dobermans are particularly at risk.

Causes

It is thought that the following may be the primary contributors to bloat. 
bullet Stress
bullet Dog shows, mating, whelping, boarding, change in routine, new dog in household, etc.
Although purely anecdotal, we’ve heard of too many cases where a dog bloated after a 3rd dog was brought into the household (perhaps due to stress regarding pack order). ( I acquired a new adult dog 4 months ago)
Activities that result in gulping air
Eating habits, especially…
Elevated food bowls
Rapid eating
Eating dry foods that contain citric acid as a preservative (the risk is even worse if the owner moistens the food)  New
Eating dry foods that contain fat among the first four ingredients  
Insufficient Trypsin (a pancreatic enzyme present in meat)
Dilution of gastric juices necessary for complete digestion by drinking too much water before or after eating  New
Eating gas-producing foods (especially soybean products, brewer’s yeast, and alfalfa)  New
Exercise before and especially after eating
Heredity (especially having a first-degree relative who has bloated)
Build & Physical Characteristics
Having a deep and narrow chest compared to other dogs of the same breed
Older dogs
Males
Being underweight
Disposition
Fearful or anxious temperament
Prone to stress
History of aggression toward other dogs or people

Prevention

Some of the advice i below for reducing the chances of bloat are:
bullet Avoid highly stressful situations.  If you can’t avoid them, try to minimize the stress as much as possible.  Be extra watchful.
Can be brought on by dog shows, mating, whelping, boarding, new dog in household, change in routine, etc.
Do not use an elevated food bowl
Do not exercise for several hours (e.g., 2 or 3) before and especially after eating
Particularly don’t permit your dog to roll over, which could cause the stomach to twist
Do not permit rapid eating
Feed 2 or 3 meals daily, instead of just one
Do not give water one hour before or after a meal
It dilutes the gastric juices necessary for proper digestion, which leads to gas production.
Always keep a product with simethicone (e.g., Mylanta Gas (not regular Mylanta), Phazyme, Gas-X, etc.) on hand to treat gas symptoms.
Some recommend giving your dog simethicone immediately if your dog burps more than once or shows other signs of gas.  New
Some report relief of gas symptoms with 1/2 tsp of nutmeg or the homeopathic remedy Nux moschata 30
Allow access to fresh water at all times, except before and after meals
Make meals a peaceful, stress-free time
When switching dog food, do so gradually (allow several weeks)
Do not feed dry food exclusively
Feed a high-protein (>30%) diet, particularly of raw meat
bullet If feeding dry food, avoid foods that contain fat as one of the first four ingredients   New
bullet If feeding dry foods, avoid foods that contain citric acid   New
If you must use a dry food containing citric acid, do not pre-moisten the food
If feeding dry food, select one that includes rendered meat meal with bone product among the first four ingredients   New
Reduce carbohydrates as much as possible (e.g., typical in many commercial dog biscuits)
Feed a high-quality diet
Whole, unprocessed foods are especially beneficial
Feed adequate amount of fiber (for commercial dog food, at least 3.00% crude fiber)
Add an enzyme product to food (e.g., Prozyme)
Include herbs specially mixed for pets that reduce gas (e.g., N.R. Special Blend)
Avoid brewer’s yeast, alfalfa, and soybean products
Promote an acidic environment in the intestine
Some recommend 1-2 Tbs of Aloe Vera Gel or 1 Tbs of apple cider vinegar given right after each meal
Promote “friendly” bacteria in the intestine, e.g. from yogurt or supplemental acidophilus
Avoids fermentation of carbohydrates, which can cause gas quickly.  This is especially a concern when antibiotics are given since they tend to reduce levels of “friendly” bacteria.

Breeds At Greatest Risk

Breeds most at risk according to the links below:
Afghan Hound
Airedale Terrier
Akita
Alaskan Malamute
Basset Hound
Bernese Mountain Dog
Borzoi
Bouvier des Flandres
Boxer
Bullmastiff
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Collie
Dachshund
Doberman Pinscher
English Springer Spaniel
Fila Brasileiro
Golden Retriever
Gordon Setter
Great Dane
German Shepherd
German Shorthaired Pointer
Great Pyrenees
Irish Setter
Irish Wolfhound
King Shepherd
Labrador Retriever
Miniature Poodle
Newfoundland
Old English Sheepdog
Pekinese
Rottweiler
Samoyed
Shiloh Shepherd
St. Bernard
Standard Poodle
Weimaraner
Wolfhound
Sighthouds
Bloodhounds

And perhaps most importantly, know your dog well so you’ll know when your dog just isn’t acting normally.

Information compiled from GlobalSpan.net using the references above.  Although  I have summarized information I found from the links,
I cannot attest to the accuracy.  Please consult with your veterinarian for medical information.   

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