Bloat Awareness Campaign

Last week Gill Arney from Safedog Crash Tested Car Crates asked me to share some information on this blog about the Bloat Awareness Campaign which she set up after nearly losing her dog Beau. I also have a close family member whose beautiful Red Setter had suffered with this terrible infliction, so it’s a campaign that’s close to my heart.

Bloat (gastric dilatation and volvulus, or GDV) is a condition that involves the stomach twisting, rotating or flipping and trapping the contents – air / fluid / food. With no means of escape the pressure that builds can cut off the blood circulation to the stomach as well as causing complications with other organs, the heart and major blood vessels. The list of symptoms below are intended to raise awareness of this condition in the hope that it could save a dogs life…

If your dog experiences a combination of the following:

  • your dog wretches from the throat but nothing is produced, other than a small amount of frothy mucus;
  • your dog tries to defaecate unsuccessfully;
  • your dog adopts the ‘sphinx’ position;
  • your dog’s tummy swells up like a balloon and is taut as drumskin;
  • your dog is trying to bite or worry the abdomen; or
  • your dog is very unsettled.


Bloat is a true emergency and you should be prepared to go to your vets straightaway. The chance of survival decreases alarmingly if you delay getting your dog to the surgery more than 60-90 minutes after the first signs.

Gill’s key message is to drop whatever you are doing (not matter how important it seems) and get to the vet.


Large deep chested dogs are thought to be most at risk of developing bloat such as Great Danes, Setters, Weimeramers etc. but smaller dogs can also be affected. There are various other factors suggested by specialists that are thought may increase the likelihood of bloat; the type of food eaten; how fast the dog eats; having an immediate relative that has had bloat; eating large amounts of food or water quickly followed by exercise; being underweight and/or having a fearful temperament.

There is various advice available on how to prevent it, suggestions include:

  • waiting for at least an hour after eating before exercise is given;
  • avoiding rolling your dog over;
  • smaller portions more frequently though out the day rather than one large meal;
  • avoiding excessive amounts of drinking straight after a meal;
  • using a bowl that slows down eating;
  • avoiding raising the food bowl; and
  • being extra vigilant with a dog that has had an episode of bloat as the likelihood of reoccurrence is high.


I have attached Gill’s poster. Please share if you can: Beau Bloat

Don’t cook your dog!

The Dog’s Today campaign ‘Don’t Cook Your Dog’ was launched in 2011 and in an attempt to prevent dog suffering and unnecessary deaths, aims to increase the awareness of the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars.

It’s worth taking a look at the campaign website, it includes an experiment in a car (with its windows left open) which managed to get up to 50’C, when it was 29’C outside.

The Dog’s Today website contains downloadable posters and stickers  for anyone wanting to support the campaign and provides further information about the dangers of leaving dogs in, aswell as the sad stories that have led to the campaign creation.


The campaign website states that:

The RSPCA advise that if you see a dog in a car on a warm day, call the police on 999. If the police are unable to attend, call the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999

The website highlights that some of the early warning signs of heat stroke include:

  • Heavy panting;
  • Profuse salivation;
  • A rapid pulse;
  • Very red gums/tongue;
  • Lethargy;
  • Lack of coordination;
  • Reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing;
  • Vomiting;
  • Diarrhoea; and
  • Loss of consciousness.

The advice goes on to state that if a dog shows any signs of heat stroke that it should be treated as an emergency and that veterinary advice should be sought immediately.

Dogs suffering from heat stroke urgently need to have their body temperature gradually lowered. The campaign website suggests in these circumstances:

1. Immediately douse the dog with cool (not cold) water if possible;

2. Let the dog drink small amounts of cool water;

3. Never cool the dog so much that he/she begins to shiver; and

4. Then go straight to the veterinary surgery.

For further information about the campaign and how you can help spread the word go to: