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Discussion Starter #1
As part of housesitting for my mom's boss last week, I got to hang out with Crusher, their big, blonde Golden Retriever (aka teddy bear come to life :p) Absolute sweetheart...

Anyway, her "mom" had a few ideas about dog food that -frankly- I've never heard of before and wanted to know if anyone else had. Crusher's fed dry food, I'm not sure what brand (they're small triangle-shaped kibbles).

I had to soak the food in water for about 5-10 minutes, until some of the water was absorbed and then drain the rest out. This was supposed to reduce gas :? Then I added a tablespoon of low-fat strawberry yogurt, for better digestion (this kind of made sense, but dairy always made my dog sick).

Thoughts? Crusher appeared to be healthy, just a bit soft and out of shape.
 

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I've heard that if you add water t the food it allows it to expand a little and it prevents excess swelling in their stomach. I suppose that could be connected to avoiding gas, but I don't know how much truth there is to this in the first place. Not sure why she uses strawberry yogurt either, that's a bit strange to me. I'd assume there are more sugars, etc. in strawberry yogurt, I'd much rather stick with plain.
 

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The gravy thing makes sense. I've done that with the puppy. In fact she's starting to get a little bratty when it comes to her food.
 

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I've read a lot about Bloat which usually affect large breed dogs (of course I need to know about these things when I get my Great Danes :) ) and one of the *supposed* reasons dogs get Bloat is because dry food explands in their stomach quickly, releases lots of gases, etc. Oh... Bloat can kill a dog quickly if left untreated... really serious stuff.

Anyway, it makes sense that soaking dry food would help the process along, but I don't know how realistically it really works. I guess if her dog doesn't have gas its the way to go :)

Yogurt is supposed to have all sorts of good digestive bacteria in it, which may help the gas too... but I've also heard dairy can CAUSE gas in some animals. Hm.
 

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Well, since I am besotted with enormous, deep-chested dogs...

I've heard this (food-soaking) many times as a way of helping to prevent bloat...it helps take the "pop" factor out of kibble (it balloons so much in water because of the air trapped in the kibble as it's extruded...that air is why kibble seems to be so light compared to its size...compare to baked Wellness, which feels much heavier because it doesn't have air forced into it in an extruding process).

If the dog has bloated before, I wouldn't be surprised if this was a vet recommendation to prevent a recurrence. Also important is limiting exercise before and after eating, and many people also recommend raising the bowl, as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Interesting....it was a breeder suggestion, not a vet, but that makes sense if she's had a problem with her dogs. And Crusher doesn't exactly excercise, just goes out in the yard.... :roll:
 

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My mum used to put water in with my old dog's dried food - he had a really sensitive stomach so he had dry food and a half tin of meat. It sounds fine food wise to me :)
 

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well, dogs are mammals, same as cats, so they can digest a small amount of dairy, so the yoghurt shouldn't be too much of a problem. i would be more worried about the sugar in it. i'd stick with plain yoghurt, which doesn't have sugar, and still has all the good enzymes.
 

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Actually, I just read a new study from the Whole Dog Journal that showed that in a large group of "large breed dogs" they tested, of all the dogs that suffered from bloat and or stomach flipping - 68% of them were eating from elevated bowls. So, now they are thinking elevated bowls may NOT be such a good thing.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
 

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I decided to investigate a little bit on the web to see if i found anything on bloat and elevated dishes....the first link says this:

Credit to : http://www.globalspan.net/bloat.htm

According to the links below, it is thought that the following may be the primary contributors to bloat. To calculate a dog's lifetime risk of bloat according to Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine, click here.

Stress: Dog shows, mating, whelping, boarding, change in routine, new dog in household, etc.

Although purely anecdotal, we've heard of too many cases where a dog bloated after a 3rd dog was brought into the household (perhaps due to stress regarding pack order).

Activities that result in gulping air

Eating habits, especially...

Elevated food bowls
Rapid eating
Eating dry foods that contain citric acid as a preservative (the risk is even worse if the owner moistens the food)
Eating dry foods that contain fat among the first four ingredients
Insufficient Trypsin (a pancreatic enzyme present in meat)
Dilution of gastric juices necessary for complete digestion by drinking too much water before or after eating
Eating gas-producing foods (especially soybean products, brewer's yeast, and alfalfa)

Exercise before and especially after eating

Heredity (especially having a first-degree relative who has bloated)

Build & Physical Characteristics:
Having a deep and narrow chest compared to other dogs of the same breed
Older dogs
Males
Being underweight

Disposition:
Fearful or anxious temperament
Prone to stress
History of aggression toward other dogs or people
 

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Here is more...there are thousands of websites about this, but I have only had time to look through a few...all the ones I've opened are stating not to elevate food bowls.

http://www.dogstuff.info/beating_bloat_pflaumer.html
Indeed, his “final analysis shows that this is correct - except for raising the food bowl, which does appear to increase the risk of bloat; the higher the bowl, the higher the risk.” Glickman says the elevation may be causing an increased incidence of aerophagia (excessive swallowing of air), which could account for the higher risk.
 

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The bowl-raising didn't initially make sense to me, either, and I'm still not sure about it. A lot of the IW breeders I've talked to have strongly suggested raw or homemade food instead of kibble, and limiting water and exercise before and after meals. I guess the important thing is to feed carefully and take action at the very first sign of bloat.

Fear of bloat and torsion are the main things that initially kept me from getting a wolfhound when we first bought our house (and since then, the house has been taken over by Assumpta, so no dogs any time soon)...I didn't think that I was dog-savvy enough to deal with it. I feel somewhat more confident now, though I have to say that after the vet's closes at night, it's two hours to the nearest emergency vet, so I think I'd want some hands-on experience with tubing and supportive care for a bloating dog before I faced that possibility. I don't even like the thought of trying to transport a deathly ill 100+ pound dog two hours in the middle of the night without being VERY confident of my abilities.

Just one more reason I don't have that dog yet. :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I used a raised feeder for our dog, but not to prevent bloat. He had some reflux problem, and the food wasn't travelling up his throat and then to his stomach very well. Raising the dishes allowed him to swallow better and reduce the incidents of vomitting :oops:
 

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Emily, I think that what you did makes sense for reflux issues.

I personally think that there are many factors in bloat and a lot of them are predisposed. I do also think that how fast the dog eats probably has a lot ot do with it. The dogs that I have been around that have suffered from bloat were all fast eaters and ironically on the thin side. They all were dog aggressive too. Strange.

Again, you do whatever think is right and you try to make the best decisions for your pets at the time. All you can do is try your best, you'll never be able to come up with a perfect solution. Ya know?
 

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Yeah...in a dog with no real risk factors for bloat, I don't see what's wrong with a raised feeder, especially if it's used to help another medical problem that would result in inadequate nutrition if nothing was done. I'm still pretty convinced that the best defense against bloat is recognizing it and getting help ASAP....try to prevent it, but above all, be able to recognize it.

I just kept reading these horror stories about bloat and torsion in wolfhounds, and though I could handle a lot of the other problems (ultra-short lifespan, health issues, exercise restrictions of younger dogs, the possibility of difficult training and a dog that can never, ever be off-leash outside a fence...among other things), I just realized that I still had a LOT to learn before making that commitment. I am getting closer to being able to take on my dream dog someday, though... :wink:

(not that I'm commitment-phobic or anything... :lol: )
 
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