Issue 31: September 10
Dear Dr. Schelling,

My curious 6 month old Labrador Retriever puppy, Benji, got into a brand new bag of dog food last night and ate a huge amount. I was amazed at how big his stomach got over the next hour. He was tight as a drum! We ended up taking him into the emergency clinic where he needed to stay overnight on fluids and pain medicine. We were able to pick him up this morning and he is back to normal. My vet told me that we were lucky to avoid surgery as sometimes the big stomachs can twist. I had no idea how serious over eating dog food can get. Is this a common problem for dogs and how serious is it?

-Bingeing Benji Owner

Dear Bingeing Benji Owner,

Your veterinarian is right. Distended stomachs can become life threatening quickly. In Benji’s case, it sounds like he had a simple dilation (stomach distention) that never developed into a gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV). In some dogs, especially certain breeds, A GDV develops when the distended stomach actually twists on itself and leads to life-threatening complications that can only be corrected with surgery. Unfortunately, this is a common problem that requires immediate treatment.

To learn more about this condition, read the full article on Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus.

-Dr. Schelling
Sign up for the FREE Dog Health Newsletter