The Italian Spinone and dog bloat problems

Bloating in dogs can be a fatal illness.

Here we look at bloat in the Italian Spinone dog : symptoms, treatment and how to ensure bloating relief for your dog.

Beware dog bloat

Important :

The information on this page is not meant as a substitute for proper veterinary advice.

It is designed to raise awareness of the symptoms, effect and serious emergency nature of dog bloat.

If you suspect your dog may be suffering from bloat it is absolutely vital that you get to a veterinary practitioner immediately.

What is dog bloat?

The Italian Spinone is generally speaking a very healthy dog breed. The only excepton to this is a condition called cerebellar ataxia, or cerebellar degeneration, which can affect a very small number of Spinone puppies.

Bloat is a potentially life-threatening condition which can effect any dog breed.  Large, deep-chested dog breeds - such as the Italian Spinone - are particularly susceptible.  ome people think that only older male dogs get dog bloat but in fact any age of dog and either gender can suffer.

It happens when a dog’s stomach suddenly fills with gas. The stomach twists, its entry and exit is cut off and blood flow becomes restricted.

Pressure increases rapidly and the dog goes into shock. Death can occur very quickly indeed.

What causes dog bloat?

There are different theories about the underlying reasons for bloating but no real consensus. Some experts believe it to be a hereditary condition, others think it is only a question of feeding behaviour.

What is agreed is that the following may increase the likelihood of bloat and should be avoided :

Avoid strenuous exercise!
  • Strenuous exercise before or after eating;
  • Eating very quickly, perhaps because of concern at other pets ‘stealing’ food;
  • Drinking a lot of water very quickly at mealtimes - this leads to gulping in air;
  • Any anxiety at mealtimes - this causes the stomach muscles to become constricted.

Symptoms of dog bloat

Many of these symptoms can indicate something much less serious than bloat. However the commonest signs of dog bloat are :

  • Panting, restlessness and an inability to settle;
  • Tenderness, tightness and swelling in the stomach area;
  • Excessive drooling - not just the usual drinking water dripping from the beard, which all Spinone Italiano owners know and love! - but producing large amounts of saliva which can appear as a foamy mucous around the mouth;
  • Retching without producing any food - this is because the stomach exit is blocked at both ends;
  • Lack of gurgling in the stomach after a meal - put your ear to your dog’s tummy and listen. There should be some healthy gurgling going on - silence can mean a twisted stomach;
  • Raised heart rate.

How to ensure bloating relief in your Italian Spinone

  • Know what your dog’s stomach feels like normally so that you will know what a swollen, tight belly feels like;
  • Avoid exercise for at least one hour before and one hour after meals - some vets would say two hours;
A kibble ball makes sure our dog Ellie eats slowly!
  • Feed your dog two or even three smaller meals rather than one large meal each day;
  • Avoid changing types of food quickly - introduce new food slowly over a period of at least a week to allow the dog’s digestion to become used to it;
  • Never, never allow your Spinone to eat anything containing uncooked yeast, and avoid foods which produce high levels of gas such as beans, peas and onions;
  • Take water bowls up during mealtimes - replace them once your dog has finished eating;
  • Use raised feeding bowls for your Spinone which mean he or she does not have to stretch whilst eating;
  • Make mealtimes as stress-free as possible. If you have more than one dog, feed them separately so there is no worry for the dog that his or her food is going to be stolen by someone else!

What to do if your Italian Spinone gets bloat

Bloating relief can be practised only as a preventative measure. If your pooch gets dog bloat you need to get him or her to a veterinary practitioner immediately.

Telephone the vet on your way to the surgery to make sure they are as prepared as possible. It is highly likely the dog will need emergency surgery.

Medical treatment of bloat depends on getting the dog to the vet quickly and, even so, it can be a long and expensive process. Prevention is much, much better.

Want more information about the Spinone?  Click the link below!

The Spinone Italiano - all you need to know