Big No-No #1 – Walking Dogs Right After They Eat

My main form of exercise at the moment is walking my dog BeBe… She is an 80 (or so) pound Shar-Pei and Black Lab mix. Taking her for a walk is quite the workout since she is so excited to go out that she drags ME around the neighborhood, and in essence, takes ME for a walk…

Here’s BeBe dragging me for one of our walks…

Needless to say, I was quite surprised to find out that it can be very dangerous to walk your pooches right after they have been fed. Why you may ask? It is because of a little something that’s a lot of serious called Dog Bloat. For the fancy people out there it is called Gastric Volvulus. According to WedMD Pets, Dog Bloat is nearing a 50% mortality rate.  What exactly happens on the inside when a dog has bloat (info obtained at WebMD Pets):

1) The stomach becomes extended due food, water and/or air.

2) Due to the extended size of the stomach it can rotate (or flip) inside of the body. The rotation affects the other surrounding organs and the spleen which is attached to the stomach. The flip pinches shut the stomach possibly preventing the escape of fluid, air, and any other stomach contents (either from the front end or the back end of your pup).

The ASPCA has provided the following list of symptoms on their website:

  • Distended abdomen
  • Unsuccessful attempts to belch or vomit
  • Retching without producing anything
  • Weakness
  • Excessive salivation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold body temperature
  • Pale gums
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Collapse

If you suspect your dog may be suffering from Bloat contact your dog’s vet IMMEDIATELY or visit your nearest animal hospital. It’s a good idea to have your vet’s phone number saved on your cell phone. Receptionists or answering services can advise you where best to take your pup.

But remember everyone, PREVENTION IS IMPORTANT. It helps save your dog from discomfort and pain… And helps save your wallet from Vet bills.  Here are some tips the ASPCA recommends:

  • Feed your dog several small meals, rather than one or two larger ones, throughout the day to avoid eating too much or too fast.
  • If appropriate (check with your vet), include canned food in your dog’s diet.
  • Maintain your dog’s appropriate weight.
  • Avoid feeding your dog from a raised bowl unless advised to do so by your vet.
  • Encourage normal water consumption.
  • Limit rigorous exercise before and after meals.
  • Consider a prophylactic gastropexy surgery (which fixes the stomach in place, as described above) if you have a high-risk breed.

I now tailor when I go for a walk around what time I feed BeBe. She currently eats two meals a day. Once at 6am and again at 7pm after our walk. You should look at your dog’s feeding schedule and possibly break up one large meal into two smaller meals.  I know BeBe has been loving our new walk schedule!

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