You can download this bloat chart right HERE.
A week before Christmas I received a devastating call from a friend. Through tears, she told me that she lost her 7-year-old Newfie to bloat. One day he was fine and the next, he was gone.
While my heart ached for her and I wished that there was some way that I could take away an ounce of the pain that she was feeling, I was angry.
I was beyond angry, I was furious that this unforgiving condition ripped yet another Newfie from our world.
My friend knew what bloat was. She knew the signs and she knew what to do when her dog displayed signs of bloat. Unfortunately, at no fault of her own, not everyone who was involved in her dog’s life was as educated about the condition. I guess it’s something we really don’t think about, or at least I never have. We make sure that we know about bloat, but many of us aren’t with our dogs every hour of the day. Many of us go to work or go on vacation and we rely on someone else to care for our dogs when we can’t be there.
We leave a long, detailed list of rules for them to follow but do we leave a bloat chart? Most of us don’t. Bloat is a condition that is always in the back of our mind but it’s not always at the top, especially when we’re leaving someone a carefully crafted list of what medications to give and when. When it’s time to go outside, how many treats to give and which treats to give. How to walk the dog, what his poop is supposed to look like, the exact spot to give the best belly rub and what each look, wag and bark mean.
But do we leave any instructions about the condition that can strike without warning and take our dog’s life from us in the blink of an eye?
I know that I don’t.
Bloat is a fast moving, often fatal condition. Once symptoms are observed there is no time to be wasted. There is no wait and see option. Nobody knows when it’s going to strike so everyone in your dog’s life should know the signs.
Here’s a list of some of the people that you might want to consider giving a bloat chart to:
Family Members-Children, spouses and anyone who lives in the same house as your dog should know the signs of bloat. If you’re not home, they can call you or even say you a video of what is going on. We keep a bloat chart on our fridge and while it can easily be covered up and forgot about, it’s there and I always try to make sure that it’s visible.
Pet Sitter– I don’t have a pet sitter but if I did, along with the long list of directions that I would leave for them, I would also leave a copy of the bloat chart and maybe a note that says, “Hey, my dog is a giant breed that could be at risk for this condition. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms please call me immediately or take him to the vet. ”
Boarding Facility/Doggie daycare-When you visit the place for a walk through ask if everyone on their staff has basic medical knowledge about dogs. Do they know how to check a heart rate, respiratory rate, check mucous membranes? What’s their protocol in case of an emergency? Do they know the signs of bloat. If they don’t know the signs of bloat, don’t worry. Print of the bloat chart and give them a copy. Ask them to hang it where all the staff members can see it.
Groomer– Same as above. A Newfie can be at the groomer a long time and for some Newfies, it’s stressful. Stress could be a trigger of bloat. Make sure the groomer has a copy of the bloat chart.
Dog Walker– A dog walker comes into your home when your away. They walk your dog and any caring dog walker will notice if your dog isn’t feeling well. Make sure you have a bloat chart easily accessible to them so that they can refer to it if need be.
Dog Trainer– Same as the groomer and doggie daycare.
Veterinarian Staff– Sounds odd to put that one here but make sure the front desk staff knows the signs of bloat. These are the people that you will speak to first when you call the veterinarian office. They should know the urgency of bloat and should not push you off to the side.
Nanny– I don’t exactly know what a nanny’s protocol is but if someone is in your house taking care of your children all day, I’m sure some of their responsibilities include taking care of your dog. Make sure they know that a bloat chart is hanging on your fridge.
You can download this bloat chart HERE.
Print off several copies, give them to people who are often in your dog’s life. Hang one on the fridge, heck, hang two on the fridge and put one in your first aid kit while you’re at it.
Simple bloat print off:
- Regular veterinarian's number:
- Emergency vet number:
- Distended stomach
- Not able to get comfortable
- Unproductive vomiting
- Heavy drooling
- Fast breathing
- Increased heart rate and pulse
- Pale gums
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from bloat it is best to seek treatment at the first signs of distress. Do not wait for symptoms to progress as bloat happens fast.
You can use the below area to monitor your dog's vitals.
Capillary refill time: