Bloat and Torsion

If your Dane is “acting funny”, “not himself”, looks bloated or puffy, is drooling, rocking, and/or uncomfortable contact a vet right away. Bloat occurs in Great Danes when the Pyloric Valve at the end of the stomach closes and traps food, water, and air in the stomach. Gas forms and, as it expands the stomach, begins to press against organs and the heart, causing severe discomfort.


At this point the dog will start to pace, get up and down, or move typically around in circles, or may stand like a hobby horse with legs spread out. As the pain increases, the back (over the loin) arches and the head goes down. The dog will start to salivate. Soon dry retching occurs or small amounts of fluid, food or foam are vomited. The dog’s eyes look distraught and fearful.

Put your hands at the back of the rib cage and press into the soft part of the stomach. It will feel as if there is a hard basketball inside and early on it will feel much harder than normal. Get your dog to a veterinarian right away — because at this point you have a window of 20 to 30 minutes before serious shock sets in. If this occurs at night or on a week-end, call your nearest Emergency Clinic !

Feeding smaller meals 2-3 times a day may help prevent this.  Having the Dane rest after meals may help prevent this. Prophylactic gastropexy surgery can also help prevent torsion. Nothing can prevent it 100%, so know what to look for and watch your Dane for signs.