A bloated puppy could have anything from worms to a congenital defect.
Read on why it happens and what you can do about it!
A bloated puppy is a common thing.
Many, many puppies rolled through our vet office every year with big, drum bellies.
You can’t tell why you have a bloated puppy just by looking at him.
He needs to see a vet for that.
That being said, let’s look at some of the reasons that your puppy might have barrel belly.
RELATED: What are the signs of Fading Puppy Syndrome?
How a Puppy Becomes a Bloated Puppy
I want to start off by saying that if you get a puppy, you should always take him to the vet right away for an exam.
This holds true even if you bought your puppy from a breeder.
It’s especially true if he’s bloated or has any other symptom or if something seems off.
It’s important to know exactly what’s going on inside your new little buddy.
A bloated puppy can have that big, round belly for any number of reasons, some of which may be harmful, so as always, see a vet.
In some cases, a bloated belly looks just like a normal puppy belly, so even if you suspect that something is off, give your vet a call.
Now let’s take a look at what can cause a bloated belly in a puppy.
1. Your Puppy is Too Young
Sometimes breeders will send home puppies with new owners too early. Disreputable breeders will do this if they can tell that you’re a first-time owner with little dog experience.
For example, we had a client come in with a bloated puppy who was only 7 weeks old. That’s too young. 8 weeks is the minimum.
It turned out that the puppy was bloated because he was too young to digest the puppy kibble he’d been given. Our client softened his food, and everything was fine.
2. Your Puppy is Bloated with Belly Worms
The majority of puppies end up with round worms. That’s why all vets include a pro-active deworming whenever anyone brings a new puppy in to see them.
Roundworms are tough critters.
Even when a mother has been properly dewormed, roundworm eggs can burrow themselves into her body tissue (painlessly) to avoid the medication.
They can remain dormant in muscle tissue for long periods of time.
When the mom’s system is under strain from being pregnant, the eggs pop open and the little buggers make their way to the intestines to live.
They give off eggs that are transmitted via the uterus during pregnancy or nursing while the baby is young.
If you have a bloated newborn puppy, this could very likely be the culprit, but again, only your vet can tell you for sure.
Related: Dog Breeds at risk for bloat
3. Your puppy is overeating, or eating too fast
Is your puppy’s stomach is bloated after eating? It could be a sign that he’s either eating too much or too fast.
Overeating may cause temporary bloating in the sense that we usually think of. Basically, if your puppy is bloated but acting normal, it could just be a too-full tummy.
However, bloat itself (which, remember, can be fatal) is caused by too much air entering their tummies, which can happen when they’re chowing down at a lightning pace.
Again, err on the side of caution. Even if your puppy is acting totally fine, call your vet. Bloat can kill very fast.
However, steer clear of elevated food bowls. While there’s much debate over whether or not they actually contribute to bloat, I prefer to take a “better safe than sorry” stance on them.
4. Your Puppy Has Something Else
And that something else could be pretty much anything. But none of it will be good.
A bloated puppy who is old enough to be away from his mom and has no worms could have some really bad things going on.
Puppies are not immune to severe illness, especially congenital defects.
A bloated puppy could have fluid in his belly from a heart condition, an enlarge organ in distress, or any number of other nasty problems.
Is there a bloated puppy home remedy?
Let me make this super clear, because it’s incredibly important: there are NO home remedies for bloat.
Even sites that exist solely to promote home remedies for people and pets will tell you that it is a dire emergency and shouldn’t be messed with.
Your vet will need to release the pressure in the belly, either through a tube down your dog’s throat, or though a needle in the belly.
Obviously, these are NOT things that you can do at home.
The best “home remedy” for bloat is prevention, plain and simple.
How to prevent bloat in puppies
We’ve touched on prevention methods a bit throughout this article, but lets recap and add a few extra ideas.
- Skip the raised bowls unless otherwise directed to use one by your vet.
- Keep your pup calm after eating. Too much running and playing can contribute to bloat.
- Feed your puppy several small meals instead of one big meal.
- Talk to your vet about whether a slow feeder would be beneficial for your pup.
- Make sure your dog stays hydrated
For some giant breed dogs and other dogs prone to bloat, like the Irish Wolfhound, vets may even recommend tacking your dog’s stomach up, in a procedure called a gastropexy.
Bloated Puppy? See Your Vet ASAP
It is always of utmost importance that you see your vet if anything ever seems off. That is especially true with a bloated puppy.
It might be as simple as softening his food or investing in a slow feeder, or it might be something dire.
The only way to know is by taking him in to see your vet.
Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Have you ever dealt with a bloated puppy? Share your experiences below.