Please do not think that I am "picking" on the Pedigree brand, because that is not my intention! I am simply giving you the facts and hoping you take something (knowledge) away from this and pass the info along so more people are aware of the hidden dangers of buying some of the "cheapest" dog food. Well, about 8 months ago, I was sitting downstairs about, maybe 1:30am and I heard my dog (Ebore is his name) throwing up upstairs and all I thought is, "OH MY GOD MY CARPET!" So I run up the stairs and see him trying to throw up but nothing is coming up. I urge him out the front door and into the yard and he continues to try throwing up, but nothing is coming up. I tell him, "it is ok, " reassure him I am there and run to get him some water.

For about 5 more minutes, he tries to throw up but all that is happening is he is draining all of his energy that he is using trying to throw up. And at this point he can hardly stand up. I look at him and I see this…"help me" look in his eyes. The only problem is he is 180 pounds and there is nothing I can do to help him. And then I actually see what is going on, he is having a hard time breathing. I don't know if there is something stuck, he can't throw up or what the deal is. But I saw the look in his eyes and I ran into the house and called my husband at work (he works the night shift) and told him that, "there is something wrong with the dog. I don't think he can breathe very well. I NEED you to come home…" It takes him about 20 minutes to get home.

I'm not going to go into everything else that happened after that phone call but when my husband pulled into the driveway, Ebore was gone, he died about 10 minutes before he got there. And here I was in the house crying, I could not even go out there after he died. I felt so helpless and I did not know what caused it or why it was happening. I called the 24 hour emergency vet to see what our options were for taking Ebore in. My husband put a blanket over him and one under so that we could both lift him into the car and took him in. When we got there the 2 people at the vet went out and got Ebore on a stretcher and brought him in. They gave us a couple minutes to say good bye, which Brad did and I could not bring myself to do. The vet asked me how he was behaving right before he died and I told her what happened. She went in to look at Ebore and came back out with a packet of papers and handed it to me.

Vet said, "I know how and why he died and if it makes you feel any better there was nothing you could have done to help him. Even if you knew what was going on and got him in right away it would have been at least $4000.00 for the surgery, and we can not guarantee that we could have saved him. Apparently, No one knows what causes it and no one is sure how to prevent it. "Bloat", as it is commonly called, is a condition technically known as gastric dilation/volvulus, or GDV, which at first seems and is, similar to stomach gas. The abdomen becomes enlarged and distended, and the dog shows signs of discomfort pacing, salivating, whining and trying to throw up. At this stage, a dose of Mylanta Gas, Gas-X, or any product containing simethicone may help by breaking up any gas bubbles.

Not every case is extreme, and the problem may go away, but if it does not, or gets worse, it becomes a medical emergency. If the abdomen continues to swell, the pressure on the organs, especially the heart and lungs, can reduce the blood flow to the heart and spleen, damaging both organs and leading to cardiac some cases the stomach can burst, causing peritonitis. A vet can insert a tube into the stomach to relieve the pressure, but you have to get the dog there fast. And that assumes the stomach has not the most serious stage, the stomach rotates partially or a full 360 on the ligaments that support it. Now the clock is really ticking. The esophagus is closed off, as is the duodenum, the upper intestine, and there is no way to release the pressure.

A major vein that passes through the stomach is pinched, cutting off blood to the stomach and other organs, leading to tissue damage and destruction. Worse, blood to the heart is reduced drastically, and a heart attack is imminent if surgery to correct the problem and repair the damage is not done soon. At this point, even surgery may not save the dog. Bloat, is the number two killer of dogs, after cancer, yet many, if not most dog owners are not familiar with it or aware how serious a problem it is. There is no direct cause and effect with this problem, such as a bacteria or virus that a vet can treat with antibiotics or vaccinate against. Bloat is usually the result of a combination of factors that might have no effect on most dogs, but can bring about a life-threatening situation in others.

Owner awareness of the problem is the first step in preventing its occurrence. Food and exercise are not always the problem. Some dogs experience bloat with none of the risk factors being present. The most common age at which dogs get bloat is between 4 and 7 years; younger dogs have a lower risk and older dogs a somewhat higher one. The most common time that dogs get bloat is between 2:00 and 6:00 AM, 7 to 10 hours after eating and while the owner is sleeping. What should a dog owner do? First and foremost be aware. Know the risk factors, and if your dog fits the profile for higher risk, make the changes that will reduce the risk. Know the symptoms of bloat so that you will recognize them if they are present. And most important, know what to do if you suspect that your dog may be experiencing bloat.

If you have a large male dog that gulps his food, drinks lots of water after eating, and likes to play actively after eating, you may want to make some changes in his routine. Feed smaller portions two or three times a day, limit water after eating, and prevent vigorous activity for at least two hours after eating, crating the dog if necessary. If you are not already using a premium food, consider switching to one. A few years back, it was suggested that high risk dogs be fed from elevated dishes. After observation of the results, it is now thought that raised dishes increase the risk of bloat and should not be used."

Type "bloat in dogs" on a search engine and you will have enough reading material to last a long time. After this whole ordeal, I am not sure what the exact thing was that triggered it, and at this point it would not matter to me. I know that I lost a very beautiful, full of life, dog that meant the world to me. If you take ANYTHING away from this please take this one simple step you can do to know if your dog's food could be one of the things that could be a trigger for it. I took a handful of my dog's food and put it in a big mixing bowl, and put water in the bowl to fill it 1/2 full and left it sit for 6 hours. When I came back to the bowl of Pedigree dog food, I didn't need to say anything, I took one look at it and realized exactly what happened to my dog. I will NEVER try to save money on dog food again, it REALLY is true that you get what you pay for! Just try doing it with your dog food and see what happens.

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