When you feed your beloved fur baby dinner, from time to time you may see them gobble down their food in mere seconds. Although a pup’s gusto at dinnertime can be adorably entertaining, for certain dogs, it can be deadly.

A life-threatening condition called bloat, also known as gastric dilatation and volvulus, can occur when some dogs eat too quickly. Although veterinarians aren’t certain why some pets are more susceptible to bloat, the symptoms of the disease are well-documented and every dog owner should be aware of them. Simply knowing the signs of bloat could save your four-legged best friend’s life.

Source: Alan Levine / Flickr

When a dog experiences bloat, their stomach both twists and fills with gas; then, the stomach then becomes distended with the gas, putting pressure on the diaphragm, causing breathing problems. The pressure can even cut off blood flow to the heart and may cause the stomach to rupture.

The serious condition usually appears and escalates very quickly; thankfully, there are specific signs that you can watch out for (that every dog owner should know):

  • Acting restless
  • Drooling excessively
  • Swelling in the abdomen or stomach
  • Looking anxious and upset
  • Trying to look at or adjust their stomach
  • Pacing and panting
  • Attempting to vomit (but being unproductive with nothing coming up)
  • Stretching out with the front end down and rear end up

If you think that your dog has bloat, the only thing you can do is to take your pup to the emergency vet as soon as possible, as there is nothing you can do for them at home. According to PetMD.com, bloat is a “life threatening emergency and cannot wait until the morning. If an owner is not sure whether or not their dog has a GDV, they can always call an emergency clinic and ask if the signs are consistent with bloat.”

The only way to treat bloat is to surgically go into the dog’s abdomen and untwist the stomach. The procedure is a serious one — and up to a third of dogs experiencing bloat die despite undergoing the gastropexy to cure the condition.

Thankfully, the risky surgical procedure can be avoided by using non-invasive methods to prevent bloat in dogs. They include:

  • Feeding your pup several small meals a day (instead of one large one)
  • Not feeding from an elevated food bowl
  • Offering water at all times
  • Reducing stress around feeding times

However, one of the easiest methods of avoiding bloat would be to use slow feeder bowls that encourage your dog to eat more slowly. Thanks to these simple bowls, your pup will ingest their food at a slower rate, putting them at less of a risk of getting bloat. There are plenty of options for dog owners to choose from, too, just in case finicky pups don’t like the first one they try:

1. Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl (Purple) 

Source: Chewy.com

2. Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl (Teal)

Source: Chewy.com

3. Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl (Orange)

Source: Chewy.com

4. JW Pet Skid Stop Slow Feed Dog Bowl

Source: Chewy.com

5. Ethical Pet Slow Feeder Dog Bowl

Source: Chewy.com

6. Dogit Go Slow Anti-Gulping Dog Bowl

Source: Chewy.com

7. Northmate Green Interactive Dog Feeder

Source: Chewy.com

8. Aikiou Junior Dog Slow Bowl

Source: Chewy.com

9. Loving Pets Gobble Stopper Slow Feeder

Source: Chewy.com

10. Aikiou Interactive Dog Bowl

Source: Chewy.com

11. Aikiou HEXA Dog Slow Feeder, 2.5 cup

Source: Chewy.com

Technically, any dog can have bloat, but there are certain breeds that experience it more often. Deep-chested, large breeds like Akitas, Boxers, Basset Hounds, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Gordon Setters, Irish Setters, Weimaraners, and St. Bernards are all breeds that are high-risk for bloat.

If you think your dog might be at risk for bloat, make sure to try out one of these handy slow feeder bowls — you can view the best options currently in stock here. They’re a cost effective solution that will keep your beloved fur baby safe!