Do You Recognize The 7 Early Warning Signs Of Great Dane Bloat

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Last Updated on January 1, 2021

”Your Great Dane dog is 8.2 times more likely to die of bloat than any other dog”, according to Universities Federation for Animal Welfare.

The number of Great Dane bloat deaths are huge making bloat, this Giant’s top slayer. Besides Great Dane, bloat is also found in other large and giant sized deep chested canines. But the prevalence of bloat in Great Danes as gauged from the Great Dane bloat statistics, make it the most perilous bug for your Great Dane.


Learn everything on bloat in the article and save your Great Dane dog from the utmost dangerous situation it might develop.

What is bloat or G.D.V.?

Bloat or G.D.V.(gastric dilation volvulus syndrome) in Great Danes or other dogs is an agonizing condition which develops when the Great Dane’ stomach fills with air, similar to a balloon. It twists at 180 degrees clockwise on its side halting any escape for the gas through the oesophagus or duodenum.

The Great Dane can die within two hours of the initial signs of Bloat.

Gastric dilation occurs when the stomach fills with air but without twisting. Though Both situations can be fatal for Great Dane, yet later is less dangerous as it takes longer for a Great Dane to die of it.

Gastric torsion is another name for bloat. The condition occurs when the Great Dane dog eats rapidly or eat a lot. Great Dane bloat is a lethal emergency that entails surgery to repair damage.

Great Dane bloat statistics

Mentioned below are some statistics showing the increased occurrence of bloat in the breed than other dogs.

Statistics 1

The Great Dane dogs hold the highest risk of bloat of any breed with an estimated 37% experiencing bloat or G.D.V. during their lifetime as suggested by a study published in 2017. American Journal of Veterinary Research.

Statistics 2

Great Dane bloat is a common condition for the large breed.and it has been estimated that 42% develop the condition out of which 13% to 18% die of Great Dane bloat. As delineated by Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (ufaw).

Statistics 3

A study published in Veterinary Surgery in 1996 estimated that 40,000 to 60,000 dogs in the United States are affected with bloat or G.D.V. each year with a mortality rate of up to 33 percent with Great Dane being the most affected breed by bloat.

Statistics 4

Great Dane is a breed which is at the highest risk of G.D.V. (Glickman et al 1994, 2000a).

Bloat survival rate

The death rate for less complicated G.D.V. bloat cases is a shocking 15%-20%. Duration of bloat can also sway the survival rate for bloat . The degree of organ damage due to bloat also influences Great Dane survival rate of bloat.

Why bloat is dangerous for your Great Dane?

In fact, bloat is a perilous bug for Great Dane, affecting a huge number of Great Dane dogs. As mentioned above in bloat statistics, bloat is hazardous for your Great Dane as a shock can occur any time. As the main vein carrying de oxygenated blood back into the heart, is choked due to the Great Dane’ stomach twisting.

In simple words, as a result of bloat a Great Dane dog’ blood circulation gets influenced. Important tissues are deprived of blood and the dissolved oxygen, which initiates death of cells. Digestive system of the dog also stops. Additionally, the risks of breakage of stomach wall are present due to bloat. Affected dogs die within hours unless successfully treated. (brooks 2009)

Causes for Great Dane Bloat

There could be anything trivial to cause the dangerous condition of bloat in your Great Dane. Amid many propositions on the causes behind bloat, here is an interesting and probably the most frequent one. The owners reasoning that their dogs gulp air present in the surroundings while eating develops Bloat.


Various studies have described the causes leading to Great Dane bloat as enumerated below;

G.D.V. tends to occur after a large meal or exercise. (Glickman, Tivers, and Brockman)

Older Great Dane dogs are more prone to suffer from bloat. The risk of bloat occurrence increases with age (Elwood, Schellenberg, and Glickman)

Great Dane bloat occurrence is higher in dogs with a close relative (parent or sibling) which has had G,D.V.  Prevalence is also frequent in thin dogs (Glickman).

A Great Dane’ temperament also appear to cause bloat. The risk increases in those which have a fearful/ anxious temperament (Glickman) or which are stressed (Glickman, and Fossum).

When dogs eat rapidly (Glickman, Tivers, and Brockman)

Risks increments “when the Great Dane dogs are fed from raised feeding bowls” (Glickman).

According to a study published in American Journal of Veterinary Research published in 2017, the bloat occurrence is also connected to genetic makeup of a dog.

The study infers that “the lifetime risk of bloat in Great Danes is 62% for dogs that carry one or more of three identified risk alleles as compared to 20% for dogs that do not carry a risk allele”. It is believed that these risk alleles make such Great Dane dogs more vulnerable to bloat “by causing an imbalance in bacterial population of their gut”.

Signs and Symptoms

As a result of gas accumulation in the stomach, a bloat makes the dog extremely painful and uneasy. It is often not simple to know whether your Great Dane is fine or not. Unfortunately, bloat is one of the  conditions which are mysterious enough to catch beforehand.

Given the perilous nature of bloat here are some typical signs and symptoms of the condition in Great Dane dogs;

  • Depression and inconsistency both in temperament and physically
  • Troubled and uneasy appearance
  • The stomach is hard at touch
  • Absence of digestive sounds
  • Staring at its stomach
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Whining
  • Convulsing
  • Standing with a curved back and outspread legs
  • Collapse

Riggsbee, who has bred Great Dane dogs under the McEmn since 1980 opines that for Great Dane bloat the “signs are very consistent. They have dry heaves and bring up white foam and yellow stringy mucous. Their abdomen feels tight and hard”.

Clinical signs include an enlarged abdomen, pale gums, and feeble or irregular pulse.

How to prevent bloat in Great Danes

There are a myriad of ways usually forwarded to prevent bloat in Great Danes just like many theories on what the causes leading to bloat. Some of the most agreed upon bloat prevention ways for large breed dogs like Great Danes are;

  • Giving Great Dane meals comprising of normal sizes. Two to three or even four meals a day are advised for your Great Dane than a single meal break.
  • Avoiding any sort of physical activity right before and after a meal can reduce the risk of bloat.
  • Adding moisture to your Great Dane’ food might be of some help.
  • Inclusion of canned food to your Great Dane feed is also seen as a preventive way of bloat.
  • Water must be at your Great Danes reach always, so that it may not indulge in excessive drinking. 
  • Having a relaxed, contented and placid disposition can also lessen the peril of bloat for your Great Dane.


Bloat is a fatal crisis that calls for immediate action to ensure survival.

Veterinarians conduct clinical examination of the dog to diagnose bloat. There are also various tests including blood test and physical examination of the dog. The most swift and plain method to diagnose bloat is through radiography (x-ray).


Gastropexy is the most effective method of averting bloat in Great Dane dogs. Great Danes and other deep chested canines are often suggested to go through Prophylactic Gastropexy. It is a preventive surgical procedure which involves the attachment of stomach to the body wall. This Great Dane bloat surgery would prevent the dog’ stomach to twist and curl in future.

The Great Dane bloat surgery’ procedure was advanced by a surgeon, Dr. Clarence Rawlings. He was a professor at University of Georgia. The surgery, being an easy procedure is sometimes performed at the time of spaying or neutering.

“This is a very quick procedure. An experienced surgeon can do it in 15 minutes.” suggested by McCarthy.


Surgery cost for bloat

The surgery, Gastropexy though is a swift procedure. But Great Dane bloat surgery cost is not less. A Dane bloat surgery costs around $1700 that may vary depending upon your location and veterinarian.

Although, bloat surgery is not a lengthy procedure yet an expensive surgery.


The Great Dane bloat surgery would not stop the occurrence of bloat but the twisting of stomach can efficaciously be forestalled. The recurrence rate of bloat has been reported to be as high as 75% without Gastropexy.


If you observe any of the aforementioned bloat signs in your Great Dane, hurry to a vet. An skilled vet is crucial for the treatment of bloat. It is a prerequisite to discover a skilled vet prior to its actual need.

Once reached clinic, the vet would treat your bloated Great Dane by first stabilizing the dog by giving treatment for shock. Intravenous fluids are also given to the affected Great Dane. Then there comes pressure reduction. It is crucial to lessen the pressure on the stomach walls ASAP. For the purpose a tube is inserted into the dog’ stomach through its mouth.

At last the Great Dane would be taken for surgery. Which includes untwisting the Great Dane’ stomach and detection of dead tissues, and possible blood clots. Both could be due to the lack of much needed blood supply.

You can take your Great Dane home according to the vet’ recommendations. Fortunately, if your Great Dane has not suffered from any organ damage, it can be taken back home after several hours of treatment. The veterinarian might also recommend some anti-gas medicine to your Great Dane.

Bloat and breeding

Breeding might also play its part in preventing bloat in Great Dane dogs. Smart breeding can directly influence the recurrence of the lethal situation in Great Dane breed. Some suggested bloat preventive measures from breeding stand point are;

Not to breed from Great Dane dogs that have been affected or which have close relatives that have been affected.

While producing Great Dane breed mixes breeders can cross with dogs of breeds in which the prevalence of G.D.V. is low. This might help reduce risk of the problem in Great Danes.

Few takeaways for you

Bloat is a fatal crisis that calls for immediate action to ensure endurance.

‘You need to find a veterinarian long before you need one.’ as forwarded by Riggsbee. Who is a renowned Great Dane dog breeder.

Recognition, quick action, and access to an experienced vet can ensure survival.

Irrespective of the damage and its respective treatment your Great Dane received for bloat, post treatment care and physical examination is imperative.

When buying a Great Dane from a breeder, choose a Great Dane dog whose family history has zero case of bloat.

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