Canine Bloat, or dog bloat, is the biggest killer of large dog breeds, second only to cancer. The awfulness of the condition is in its rapidity - it can kill a dog in less than an hour, long before medical treatment can be sought.
Prevention is the best thing. Never exercise your dog before or after a meal, even a short walk. Leave at least an hour either side, more if possible.
Newfoundland dogs should be fed is smaller portions of two or even three meals per day to reduce the risk of bloat. Never, ever let them get at the feed sack and eat the lot. Always keep it well locked up somewhere the dog cannot get at.
Symptoms include restlessness, unsuccessful attempts at vomiting, heavy panting, lying or standing with the back legs slightly splayed. There may also be a hardening of the stomach.
Not all symptoms will appear at once, however, so it is vital to pay attention to even one of these. The dog may also be drinking excessively.
Make sure you always have the number of an emergency vet, just in case.
It was always advised to raise the food bowl of a large dog so that he is not reaching down for his food. I was advised when I bought Ferdie to do this, and I have done so ever since, but recent research has suggested that the opposite is true and that a raised food bowl will actually cause bloat.
It is a subject that has cause heated argument and opinions are split. If you are going to get a Newfoundland dog, then you need to investigate and decide for yourself. I shall carry on with my raised bowls, as I have never had an incidence of the condition, but I will not advise anyone to do the same. This is something you need to make up your own mind about.
Just remember that bloat must be treated immediately or death will occur. Never think it is safe to wait till the morning and see how he is; it could be too late by then. Any one of the symptoms should be classed as an emergency, even if it turns out to be something else altogether.