Pooch Scoop: This is no April fools, dog with bloat are in serious trouble

P.A. DeFrenza
Major a 180 pound bundle of joy lost his struggle with a sudden onset of bloat in March. Photo of Major sharing a smooch with his mom, Destin City Council member Prebble Ramswell.

Canine Cuisine is anything a dog can swallow. But cloth, rubber, plastic, the remote and other items can cause serious internal obstructions. Call your vet immediately for advice when Fido swallows any object. The Emergency Animal Clinic in Niceville is open 24/7 and can guide you at 850-729-3335. Vomiting may need to be induced fast to prevent surgery. 

Majors Last Mission — This beautiful 4-year-old, 180-pound bundle of joy, lost his life in March. In his memory, Major has one last mission — to save another dog’s life by teaching people how to quickly identify the signs and symptoms of bloat, as it is a true life threatening emergency. The early identification of bloat (which may appear suddenly) and the access to prompt emergency veterinarian care may be your dog’s only chance at survival.   

Hunting Vet sites 4 U — I found that bloat has two components, gastric dilatation with or without volvulus. Volvulus occurs when the stomach twists up to 180 degrees or more. How does it happen? When bloat occurs, the dog may have recently had a large meal, exercised just before or right after eating, or had a large amount of water before or after a meal. The tell tale signs of bloat — The dog will be normal before bloat, and then change behavior. He may begin to look sick or lethargic, drop his head, walk stiff legged, pace, drool and attempts to vomit will be unsuccessful. Or, he may want to go outside and then collapse as Major did. In the early stages of bloat the abdomen may not be distended yet, but as pressure builds, the stomach enlarges. If the dogs belly is touched, he may groan in pain. Diagnosis of bloat involves sharing with the vet detailed events that preceded the onset, an x-ray, and the placement of a tube by the vet from the dog’s mouth to his stomach. When the tube enters the stomach, air and fluid are released and the dog gets relief. The stomach is emptied. Bloat if complicated by the stomach twisting needs prompt surgery.

Are some Breeds prone to bloat? Any breed can develop bloat at any age. Some large breeds with deep chests are more prone than others. Great Danes, German Shepherds, Labradors, Irish Setters, Wolfhounds, Boxers, Collies and Standard Poodles are a few. The Shar-Pei, Basset Hound and Dachshund are smaller but deep-chested breeds as well.    

Prevention — Exercise your dog on an empty stomach or wait a minimum of at least two hours after eating or drinking water before allowing any exercise. This is the main factor to prevent bloat. Other preventive measures are feed 2-3 smaller meals during the day rather than one large meal. Don't allow excessive water drinking immediately before exercise or before and after a meal. A study in 2000 showed that using raised food bowls can actually increase the risk of bloat. Consult your local veterinarian for professional guidance.

Majors Mission is complete. We now have been made aware of this serious condition known as “bloat” and how quickly our dogs need to receive lifesaving emergency care.   R.I.P Major. Your life here was brief but your tragic story may save another furry friend and the love you shared with your family will remain in their hearts forever.

Lacys Licks — Dogs are like toddlers. We can’t tell a chew toy from a pair of socks, so pet-proof your home and your yard to protect us. Many plants and bushes are poisonous to dogs.

Bark for Life — The American cancer society is holding a walking event April 11 at the Destin City Annex, 4100 Indian Bayou Trail. Register your dog for the event now at

Howl all about it and share Major’s story with all your friends on Facebook to save a life.    

Email your furriendly Pooch Scoop reporter to bark all about upcoming pooch events at 

Chow for now! 

P.A. DeFrenza, a.k.a The Destin Dog Whisperer/Pooch Scoop reporter, is a resident of Destin, freelance writer and American Red Cross volunteer. Send your upcoming pawsome news and/or events, to