This disease, in my opinion, has to be the worst thing that can happen to a Great Dane as far as sickness or disease goes. One minute your dog is fine, and the next thing you know, your dog is dying.

The specific causes of "bloat" are still unknown. However, there are a few things that have been suggested as triggering "bloat", for example: Allowing a dog to gulp food too fast, giving free access to water, allowing the dog to exercise one hour before or after eating and feeding only once a day. As of now none of these things have been proven as causes of bloat, though.

Some of the latest findings suggest that dogs under stress or nervous dogs are more susceptible to bloat. Despite what I stated earlier about giving free access to water can lead to bloat, I myself give my dogs free access to water. I am not afraid of doing this because my dogs are on the B.A.R.F diet (Biological Associated Raw Food). This diet is a completely raw chicken diet that is very nourishing for a dog. It also hydrates a dog very well, so my dogs do not drink from their water bins a lot. It has been suggested that a dogs chance of getting bloat is a lot slimmer when eating under the B.A.R.F diet. One of the reasons why is because when a dog is eating raw chicken they are involved in a lot more chewing in order to ingest the food, whereas when eating dog food, the dog can virtually inhale the food.

Abnormal stomach distention is one of the major signs of bloat. This is when the dog will attempt to vomit, but can only bring up foam which is very sticky. Simultaneously the dog will be very restless, pacing back and forth or even digging. Also, the dog's gums may be very pale. If you ever suspect signs of bloat, get to the veterinarian as soon as possible, because there is no time to waste. I also suggest if you have a Great Dane, to have a bloat kit. None-the-less it is highly important to seek medical attention for your dog.

When a dog has "bloat" the stomach enlarges due to gas that cannot be passed by the dog. It begins to torte (turn) on its axis until it has made a complete 180-degree turn. I personally have never experienced this horrible disease with my dogs and I hope I never do, but I have two friends who have witnessed "bloat". One friend unfortunately found her dog passed away, and the other was able to rush her dog to the veterinarian where it could be saved.

Reference:

Swedlow, Jill. The Great Dane: Model of Nobility. New York: Wiley Publishing, 1999.