How to know if my dog ​​has stomach twisting


Stomach torsion is a dangerous and frequent disease in large dogs that can be avoided with smaller rations of food and helping the animal to eat more slowly

  • Author: By EVA SAN MARTÍN
  • Publication date: January 24, 2017

Stomach torsion in dogs is a very dangerous disease and, unfortunately, more frequent than previously thought. Did you know that eating fast, drinking too much water at once or exercising after the meal puts your four-legged friend in danger? The reason is that these gestures increase the risk that gases accumulate in the stomach of the dog. This article deals with what is stomach twisting in dogs, why is it so dangerous and how to recognize it. In addition, they are given seven tricks to avoid gastric torsion of the can in the healthiest way: from decreasing the height of the bowls, reducing the food rations and distributing them more times during the day, to using puzzles-feeders, preventing the animal from running after the meal or choosing a large food to chew.

Stomach torsion in dogs, what is it?

The torsion of stomachs in dogs in a very dangerous disease that endangers the lives of these animals. What happens to them? This condition causes the stomach to expand, fill with gas and, in some cases, also twists. "Gastric torsion in dogs is a medical condition that implies a serious danger to the life of the dog and, in addition, the risk of death occurs very quickly," explain the doctors of the Association of American Veterinary Surgeons.

This disease is related to copious meals Of the dog. The excess of food ingested in a short time produces an accumulation of food and gases in the stomach of the dog, until it reaches a point where the pressure is so high that the gases can no longer leave. The stomach grows in size, swells and twists literally.

The grown stomach puts too much pressure on the rest of the dog's body organs. And not only that, it also pushes the arteries and veins that allow the circulation of blood through your body, thus blocking the arrival of blood to the heart. "Excess gas exerts enormous pressure that even prevents belching affected dogs. In addition, the animal will breathe with difficulty and can suffer a collapse and even die if we do not act quickly," adds veterinarian Manuel Jiménez.

How to recognize stomach torsion in the dog?

A dog affected by stomach twisting is nervous. You can also be sad and suffer depression. You will have trouble breathing and your heart beat will fire. In addition, mucous membranes of the muzzle and mouth pale. The dog suffers from a stomachache and may try to vomit, even if he doesn't get it. If examined by the veterinarian, he can check that his pulse is weak.

Why does stomach torsion affect some dogs more than others? Large dogs with a broad chest are more at risk of stomach torsion. "There are genetic factors that predispose a dog to stomach torsion, something that happens to large dogs with deep thorax. Also to dogs of the Great Danish breeds, Weimar Braco, St. Bernard and German Shepherd," says Jiménez. In addition, the thin ones have more risk of suffering it.

The risk Death is high for a dog suffering from stomach torsion. "Between 10% and 60% of dogs that suffer an attack die," concludes veterinarian Jennifer J. Beck, who has coordinated a study on the danger of stomach torsion in dogs.

This explains why it is so important to go to the veterinarian urgently before the least symptom and also why it is essential to avoid this disease. These are seven tricks to get it.

1. Avoid raised bowls

Elevated food bowls increase the risk that the dog suffers from stomach torsion, concludes a study on this disease coordinated by veterinarian Lawrence Glickman. This advice is very important for large elderly dogs, since age is another factor that increases the risk of gastric torsion.

2. Stomach torsion in dogs: more meals per day

Concentrating all the food of the dog in a single ration has many disadvantages: it suffers anxiety, goes hungry and, in addition, when it comes time to eat, it is normal to devour. Who wouldn't do it after a whole day without trying food? This explains why dogs that eat only once a day do it faster. The healthy option is to distribute your food in at least three portions during the day.

3. Use interactive dining rooms and games

Dogs eat faster than it suits them. And eating at full speed will make them ingest more gases, so the risk to your stomach grows. Why not use then feeder puzzles for dogs? These puzzles help them relax, force them to eat more slowly and encourage them to stimulate their intelligence. You can also use kong toys filled with part of your food.

6. Drink water, better little by little

Dogs are experts in emptying the bowls of a single sitting, and not only the food bowl but also the water bowl. But drinking too much water at once can also be a risk, as your stomach will fill. The advice? Always have fresh water available for the dog and encourage him to drink more often.

What is gastric torsion?

It is a inflammation of the stomach of the animal, whether by gases, water, food, etc. While it has, like all of us, natural mechanisms to cope with it, such as belching, vomiting and flatulence, sometimes they are not as effective as they should. When that happens, the stomach dilates. The animal will try to vomit to expel the contents but will not be able to, then gastric torsion will occur.

All dogs can have this disease, but those of large race are more likely since they have the rib cage and the largest abdominal cavity. Therefore, the stomach has more space to balance and roll over.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of this serious problem are the following:

  • Dilated abdomen: It is one of the first signs we will observe. Your abdomen will be dilated.
  • Vomiting fail> How is it treated?

If we suspect you have gastric torsion we must take it urgently to the vet. There, they will do an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis and, if confirmed, they will intervene surgically. After removing the contents of the stomach, proceed to do a gastric lavage and fix the stomach to the costal wall to prevent it from twisting again.

In a few days he will be the same cheerful hairy he has always been 🙂.

What is stomach torsion in dogs?

When a dog's stomach is filled with food or gas, it expands by natural physiology just like that of humans. But dogs have their stomachs held by two tendons, which are sometimes not strong enough to hold it properly.

When this occurs, the dog's stomach can acquire unnatural postures, becoming twisted in such a way that its contents cannot pass into the intestine, nor can it be vomited. Similarly, the blood inside the stomach cannot circulate either.

This problem can seriously affect other vital organs of our dog, leading to death in many cases. It is not a disease, it is simply an evil that our dogs can suffer.

How to avoid stomach torsion in dogs?

Gastric torsion occurs mainly in dogs of large breeds, although that does not mean that dogs of small breeds do not suffer them. There are some simple tips that we must follow to prevent our dog from suffering from it.

In fact they are advice that we should all follow, regardless of whether our dog is more or less likely to suffer from it, since they are common sense advice.

  • Wait an hour before feeding our dog, if he has been running or doing intense physical exercise.
  • Wait until our dog is completely relaxed before feeding him, avoid feeding them> After a stomach twist ... Will they have a normal life?

Of course, a stomach torsion can be solved with an operation, which although durable and complex, saves the lives of many dogs every year.

Our veterinarian will tell us everything we need to know to prevent it from happening again, it is even possible that after the operation our dog has more strengthened those tendons. But being realistic, there will always be a risk that it can be repeated, so we must follow these detailed guidelines.

They can lead a normal life, of games and themselves, how they have always led it. We just have to keep in mind some indications, which are the same as we have shown here.

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Causes of gastric torsion in dogs

Although gastric torsion can occur in any breed, it is the largest that have more predisposition, such as the Great Dane, and also those with a deep chest, such as Weimar's shorthaired pointer, medium poodle or boxer.

The causes that cause this problem are the following:

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Symptoms of gastric torsion in dogs

Since this disease can happen to any dog ​​and must be treated immediately, it is good to know the symptoms to react in time. In this way, the most common signs that indicate that a dog may be suffering from stomach dilation or gastric torsion are:

  • Attempts to Vomiting failures and nausea: the animal tries to vomit but does not really get it.
  • Anxiety and restlessness: the dog moves constantly and is restless.
  • Abundant Salivation.
  • Dilated abdomen: dilated abdomen is observed. A tympanic sound is heard when percussing the abdomen.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Weakness, depression and lack of appetite.

If your dog has any of these symptoms you should take it immediately to the vet, since it could be suffering an episode of gastric dilation and torsion.


The veterinarian makes the diagnosis of gastric torsion or dilation depending on the clinical symptoms that the dog presents and some additional characteristics. The breed and the history of the dog can support the diagnosis, since, as we mentioned in previous sections, this disease is more frequent in some breeds of dogs and in dogs that have suffered it before.

They are also usually do x-rays To confirm this diagnosis. The x-ray allows to see clearly if the stomach is distended or not. In addition, if the stomach has been turned, the pylorus (hole that connects the stomach with the intestine) is displaced with respect to its normal position.


There are no home remedies or tricks to apply. Before the gastric torsion of the dog is due go to the vet immediately, since it is an emergency in which the animal's life is at stake.

Try to handle it carefully until you reach your trusted veterinarian as well as try to prevent it from moving a lot. Once there, the veterinarian will sedate the animal and administer fluids and antibiotics intravenously. The contents of the stomach will be extracted by an orogastric tube through the mouth, the stomach will be decompressed and a gastric lavage will be done. If it is not possible to use the probe, the stomach will be trocarized, that is, the abdominal wall will be pierced with a drill or needle. Finally, surgery will be done, in which the stomach will be fixed to the costal wall (gastropexy), to reduce the risk of another gastric torsion in the dog.

The prognosis varies according to the severity of the disease. When dilation and torsion are treated early, the prognosis is usually favorable. However, if necrosis has begun to occur, the mortality rate is high even after surgery. Dogs that exceed 48 hours after the operation are usually very likely to survive. Therefore, it is essential to go to a veterinary medical center as soon as possible, if your pet does not I could die in a few hours.


Especially in summer it is very important to be prevented and informed to avoid possible gastric dilation and torsion in the dog. Here are some tips:

  • Split the food: It's about preventing our pet from eating large amounts of food. The goal is to distribute the food throughout the day, in two or three smaller portions instead of a larger one.
  • Avoid drinking a lot of water at once, especially after the meal.
  • Restrict physical exercise.: the dog should be prevented from doing a lot of physical activity before and after the meal, leaving 2 hours of margin.
  • Do not provide food late at night.
  • Do not stress the animal while eating: The dog should be left to eat calmly and not stress.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Gastric torsion in dogs - Symptoms and treatment, we recommend you go to our Other health problems section.


The article is very good, but as Carolina commented, I in all places that I have looked online, recommend putting the feeder up so they swallow less air when eating, and I was shocked a little that here is the only place where it is said what contrary.

Miguel Guzmán says

Hi David, we know that. Those who are recommending putting the feeder up are probably copying each other, without much judgment, that happens a lot on the internet. You can consult books on the subject, the recommendation is clear, put the feeder on the floor so that the dog swallows less air.

As a personal experience, and without being very clear if it really has anything to do with it, my dog ​​almost always hiccups after eating, when he ate at ground level. As I read, the hiccup when eating supposedly gives them and among other things, for swallowing sharply while eating, despite the fact that the dog ALWAYS eats slowly and chews the feed well.
Well, since I put the feeder on high to eat, that never happens practically anymore.
I'm not saying you're not right huh, I'm just saying it as a personal experience, in case it works.
Thanks for answering.

The article is very good, but as Carolina commented, I in all places that I have looked online, recommend putting the feeder up so they swallow less air when eating, and I was shocked a little that here is the only place where it is said what contrary.

Hans Robalino says

I have basset hound, what can I do or what kind of dog food do I give?

Miguel Guzmán says

Well, it is best to give them a varied diet, not just dog food. Buy the best dog food that your economy allows you (i.e. the one with more protein and meat and less cereals) and also prepare natural food also such as chicken, pork, boiled vegetables, liver, eggs, apple, etc. Look in our recipes section, there are many ideas.

Hans Robalino says

I have basset hound, what can I do or what kind of dog food do I give?

It is most painful ... it is essential not to feed immediately after exercising

It is most painful ... it is essential not to feed immediately after exercising

One of the factors that favor gastric torsion in large breeds is that they eat with the neck down and quickly explained to me the veterinarian that the neck has to be straight with the feeder at an appropriate height for each dog

Miguel Guzmán says

Hi Carolina, that eating fast is an indisputable risk factor, but the height of the feeder is not so sure. Within the veterinarians there are two positions, some recommend high feeders, and others reject them for large breeds. Hopefully in the future we will have more studies in this regard to be able to have a clear position.

One of the factors that favor gastric torsion in large breeds is that they eat with the neck down and quickly explained to me the veterinarian that the neck has to be straight with the feeder at an appropriate height for each dog