Does Resting After Meals Prevent Bloat in Dogs?

Does Resting After Meals Prevent Bloat in Dogs?

Bloat in Great Danes is a terrifying and deadly medical emergency. 

If you have a large or giant-breed dog, it is extremely important that you understand what bloat is and how to spot it before it becomes worse. 

Signs of bloat include: unsuccessful attempts to vomit, gagging, excess drooling, distress, distended abdomen and collapse. 

It is often said that to prevent bloat, you must require your dog to rest before and especially after meals. However, there is more to this story. 

Read on for more information on if resting after meals can prevent bloat.  

DOES RESTING AFTER MEALS PREVENT BLOAT?

Here is where things get tricky.

There is actually NO scientific proof that resting does anything to prevent bloat. 

As a matter of fact, that entire concept relies on assumptions…not science. 

One study by Tufts University actually found that there was no correlation at all between exercise and bloat. 

(Read that study here: https://www.vin.com/apputil/content/defaultadv1.aspx?pId=11165&meta=Generic&id=3848657)

Dogs may be just as likely to bloat when they are resting as when they are running!

It is often reported that many dogs bloat in the middle of the night and on an empty stomach. As a matter of fact, this was true for most of the dogs that participated in the Tufts University study. They weren’t exercising when bloat happened; they were resting.  

That fact should put a lot of doubt into the validity of ‘resting’ as a legitimate ‘preventative’. Just because as a theory it ‘makes sense’, doesn’t mean it’s going to prevent bloat. At all.  

Think about this.

If resting after meals actually worked as a reliable preventative, the rate of bloat incidence would be going DOWN in Great Danes, not up.

In the last 30 years, bloat incidence has increased by 1500%.

YIKES..and no, I did not accidentally add a zero. You read 1500% correctly.

HOW TO PREVENT BLOAT

Great Dane owners really hate this discussion. Making dogs rest after meals feels like the right thing to do, and perhaps it is a totally fine thing to do (why take the risk, after all?). 

Where it becomes problematic is in the anxiety that it causes Great Dane owners. 

Because this is so widely promoted as a ‘preventative’, people get nervous when their dog has a meal. To temper this anxiety, they may strictly limit food intake to once per day.

Tufts University Study: single large meals each day increase the risk of bloat.

Science shows as that smaller, more frequent meals are better for Great Danes.

However, if an owner offers 2-3 meals per day and requires rest for an hour before and after each, the dog may be given fewer opportunities for meaningful enrichment and exercise.

Oh, and they may still bloat anyways. 

THE AWFUL TRUTH ABOUT BLOAT IN GREAT DANES

Time and time again we see Great Dane owners lose their dogs to bloat. They say “I did everything right, how did this happen?”, or “my dog was resting, I don’t understand”. 

Honestly, that’s the worst part.

This is not to make Great Dane owners feel helpless! It’s meant to shed some light on a real problem that we have in this community where assumptions are being heavily promoted as preventatives.

FACT: They still don’t actually know what  triggers bloat. Science so far can only show us what leads to higher and lower risk factors. 

The side effect of this is 1000’s of heartbroken Great Dane owners who feel that they did something wrong, when they likely didn’t do anything wrong at all. 

SHOULD YOU REST A GREAT DANE TO PREVENT BLOAT?

It’s honestly up to you. As above, there is nothing inherently wrong with it so long as you don’t take it too far.

Great Danes benefit from daily enrichment, exercise and training. Too much ‘rest’ or crate time isn’t necessarily the answer; we believe that there are other more impactful ways to minimize bloat risk. You can click on the links below to learn more about bloat. 

Want to read about some common bloat myths? Click here!

Need more information on bloat? Click here!

Want to read the Tufts study that we reference often? Go HERE. 

SCIENCE-BACKED WAYS TO MINIMIZE BLOAT RISK

 

  • Avoid foods with fat in the first four ingredients.
  • Use puzzle feeders to encourage slow eating.
  • If choosing elevated feeders, keep them on the lower side of things.
  • Add fresh food toppers and fiber to the diet. We like balanced raw food, Dr. Harvey’s and Olewo Carrots. Make sure the diet is balanced as a whole!
  • Do not encourage resource guarding by hovering, messing with food or taking food away. Prevent resource guarding by not making it a problem in the first place.
  • Feed multiple smaller meals, not one large meal.
  • Use modern positive reinforcement and humane, thoughtful balanced training methods, not aversive training (alpha rolls, hitting, intimidation, etc.) or alpha/dominance (debunked) that have been proven to lead to increased stress, aggression, fear and frustration.
  • Address anxiety, stress and aggression with a highly qualified humane trainer.
  • Address gut health issues by seeking veterinary care, adding probiotics and finding a diet that is appropriate for your dog.
  • Choose ethical breeders that are 1000% dedicated to the pedigree, health, structure & temperament, and prove it with papers, titles, activities and practices. Be part of the movement that no longer supports puppy mills, backyard breeders or ‘friendly backyard breeder’ unethical breeding practices. 

The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. We do our best to present the most up-to-date research, however it is up to the reader to make decisions regarding the health and well-being of their dog. We make no claims here to prevent or treat bloat or any other condition related to Great Danes. Find a veterinarian with GIANT breed experience, and chat with them. 

Some of the products we list on our website contain affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase, we may receive a small commission for referring you. This commission does not affect the price of the product and is used to fund this website and our content. 

How Long Do Great Danes Live?

How Long Do Great Danes Live?

It is often said that Great Danes have ‘short lifespans’, but we believe that’s not entirely true! 

Many people have experienced the devastating loss of a Great Dane at a young age, often to bloat, heart conditions or orthopedic problems. 

On the flip side, many people have had Great Danes live for 10 years or even longer!

There is a misperception about the lifespan of Great Danes, and we are here to fix that. Great Danes make amazing family pets in the right homes, and can absolutely live long and healthy lives. 

Read on for more information about how long Great Danes live!

HOW LONG DO GREAT DANES LIVE?

Great Danes live, on average, 8-10 years. 

Many smaller dogs live 10-15 years, for comparison. 
The average is low, but it doesn’t have to be!

Great Danes suffer from a list of health conditions that are often FATAL and nearly always GENETIC. These health conditions significantly lower the average expected lifespan.

Unethical breeding practices are to blame. 

These health conditions include: 

  • Wobblers Disease (Genetic link)
  • Arthritis (Genetic link, especially when looking at structural problems that contribute)
  • Cancer (Genetic link)
  • Bloat (Genetic link)
  • Blood Clotting Disorders
  • Degenerative Disorders
  • Heart Disease, including DCM (Genetic link)

HOW TO MAKE A GREAT DANE LIVE LONGER

 The reality here is that most of us want our Great Danes to live forever. 

There are things you can do to help them live long, healthy lives and increase the average lifespan. The most important one starts with the breeder you choose. 

Wobblers, bloat, heart issues, blood clotting disorders, anxiety, painful structural problems (including flat feet and roached back) and even cancer have genetic links that can be traced back to the lineage and careless breeding. 

Many of the breeders perpetuating these common problems are friendly, say they ‘health test’, breed often and have clean cute puppies and nice websites! 

They may even be popular, especially on social media. It’s easy to fall into this trap, and it’s unfortunate because bad genetics are like a game of telephone. It’s very hard to get rid of the bad genetics so long as they continue to be reproduced.

Breeders that show and title their dogs are among a VERY small percentage of Dane breeders that are being extremely diligent about their pedigree, genetic disorders, temperament and health conditions.

‘Health tested’ isn’t enough. Both parents should have exemplary genetics (lineage free of bloat, heart problems, wobblers, degenerative disorders and otherwise) and be tested and OFA certified for hips, heart, eyes and thyroid (verify all four test results at www.OFA.org).

Many ‘breeders’ will health test just the hips and call it a day. Meanwhile, their dam and sire have poor structure, bloat in the lineage and a tendency towards aggression. See the problem yet? 

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOUR GREAT DANE LIVE LONGER

All Great Danes deserve loving homes, even the ones that are already here from careless breeders. Love the Dane in front of you! Coming from a ‘bad’ breeder doesn’t automatically mean a shorter lifespan, either. Just be aware of the additional risks as a whole. 

Here are some things you can do to help your Great Dane live a long, healthy life, no matter where they came from (information based on current studies): 

Should I Use a Bark Collar on my Great Dane?

Should I Use a Bark Collar on my Great Dane?

If you are asking whether or not to use a bark collar on your Great Dane, we’re taking a wild guess that you are pretty fed up with the racket. 

Right? 

Great Danes have HUGE barks and it can be annoying, intimidating and frustrating (especially to your neighbors!). 

Should you use a bark collar for your Great Dane, or are there better ways? Read on, friends…

HOW DOES A BARK COLLAR WORK? 

Bark collars work by adding something aversive (bad or uncomfortable) when your dog barks.

For example, a shock correction, an ultrasonic noise, a beep or a spritz of citronella.

In theory, your dog learns that barking = punishment.

Unlike E-Collars and Shock Collars, bark collars are automated. They don’t require you to do anything; if the dog barks, the collar will correct your dog.

THERE ARE FOUR PRIMARY REASONS THAT DOGS BARK:

Habit
Boredom
Anxiety
Breed Trait

WHY DO DOGS BARK

Before you work on training your dog not to bark, you MUST figure out why the barking is happening in the first place. Keep in mind that barking is a natural, normal thing, not unlike how humans talk to express frustration, relieve boredom and communicate.

Look at the following situations and see if any apply to your dog: 

Habit – Your dog knows the mailman comes everyday at 3pm and waits to bark. The behavior has been unchecked and practiced daily. 

Boredom – Your dog barks at the window all day long, barks to hear himself talk and/or may bark to demand things. This goes hand-in-hand with habit. 

Anxiety – Your dog is stressed out by other dogs in the neighbor yard, stressed out when you leave the house, stressed out by people visiting your home, stressed on a leash and/or stressed out by noises in the environment. 

Breed Trait – Remember, by nature Great Danes do seek to ‘protect’ and alert. Many times, barking is just that. It’s important for that trait not to become obsession, or for it to be based primarily in fear and anxiety (which is VERY different than true alert barking). 

 

Many dogs bark for ALL of these reasons!

SHOULD I USE A BARK COLLAR?

Ok so you’ve evaluated that your dog is bored, anxious and/or has developed bad habits. 

Before you even think about a bark collar, you MUST address the root causes. 

HABIT

Find ways to change the routine. Don’t allow the behavior to be practiced in the first place. Change your daily habits so that your dog can, too.

 

BOREDOM

Add mental and physical enrichment, LOTS of it! Take a training class. Go for a hike. Off-leash train. Work on Canine Good Citizen skills. Play search and scent games. Clicker train. (Toys, a yard and another dog to play with are rarely enough!)

ANXIETY

A dog that is stressed out by the environment and by separation is a dog that needs your help. Work with a trainer to lower anxiety (and ultimately, lower the risk of bloat!), address separation anxiety and teach your dog that the world is an ok place.

It’s important to understand that if you add a bark collar to a dog without addressing the root cause of the barking, there is a huge chance that you will confuse your dog or worse, increase their level of anxiety and stress. 

Instead of relying on a hands-off tool, we much prefer to FIRST utilize training, mental enrichment, boundaries, routine and structure.

THEN, if you have put the time into properly conditioning your dog to a legitimate E-Collar, you can use it to deter a barking habit in a hands-on, positive way.  

Basically put…do not put an automated bark collar on your unsuspecting, bored, stressed out, untrained dog and expect miracles. Address the root cause first, then look again at your options.

A quality bark collar may be an appropriate choice is when all underlying issues have been addressed and the dog is in a home where being surrendered, euthanised or picked up by animal control may be a reality otherwise. 

We support the humane, ethical use of high-quality stimulation collars for communication and training. 

A E-Collar from E-Collar Technologies may help resolve barking in dogs where root cause has been fully addressed AND the dog has been conditioned to the collar. A collar like this can also be used for recall and more. This is a hands-on approach. The truth is that you may find a massive reduction in barking, without corrections, just by jumping solidly into a new training and enrichment routine. 

You can learn more about E-Collar training HERE: https://www.hellodanes.com/product/great-dane-e-collar-training-guide/

Shop E-Collar Technologies HERE:

https://www.hellodanes.com/product-category/training/e-collars/

For a hands-off approach, the ONLY bark collars that we recommend for the LAST DITCH EFFORT type situation is the E-Collar Technologies Barkless Pro E-Collar or the Garmin Pro BarkLimiter. These use a more humane E-Collar tech stimulation (not shock) and advanced technology when correcting the dog, which is the most appropriate choice IF you are going to use a bark collar.

Unlike the versatile E-collars above, automated bark control is the only thing these tools do.

The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. We do our best to present the most up-to-date research, however it is up to the reader to make decisions regarding the health and well-being of their dog. We make no claims here to prevent or treat bloat or any other condition related to Great Danes. Find a veterinarian with GIANT breed experience, and chat with them. 

Some of the products we list on our website contain affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase, we may receive a small commission for referring you. We only recommend products that we truly believe in. This commission does not affect the price of the product and is used to fund our content and expenses related to operating this website. 

Ruffwear Chain Reaction Martingale Collar Review for Great Danes

Ruffwear Chain Reaction Martingale Collar Review for Great Danes

Today I’m going to review the Ruffwear Chain Reaction Martingale Collar for Great Danes.

I chose the ‘Seafoam’ pattern for our large male Great Dane.

The Ruffwear company builds rugged products for adventurous dogs. We are always interested in trying Ruffwear out on our Great Danes, because we know just how hard they can be on their gear! 

Read our Ruffwear Chain Reaction Collar review below! 

This collar is a hybrid between three types of collar: nylon/webbing, martingale and choke chain.

Martingale collars are sometimes called ‘limited slip’. When you use the correct size for your dog, they are escape proof. 

Full chain collars are meant to grab the attention of your dog through the ‘zipping’ sound of the chain when you do a quick leash correction.

The Ruffwear Chain Reaction collar combines the ‘zip’ of the chain collar with the comfort and safety of a martingale. 

Here is my first-impression video review of the Chain Reaction collar. 

PROS AND CONS

PROS of the Chain Reaction Collar

  • Well made. Much nicer than collars at the chain pet stores.
  • Quick easy corrections are possible for dogs that just need a little reminder at times.
  • Includes a tag silencer.
  • Pretty colors! 

CONS of the Chain Reaction Collar

  • Requires training.
  • Not safe as a tag collar to leave on all day or while unsupervised.
  • Needs to be wider. We like to see 1.5″ – 2″ collars on Great Danes.

A quick note about loose-leash training

The chain reaction collar should not be used on dogs that pull wildly as they may choke themselves and damage their trachea.

It is very important to put the time into teaching the dog the correct behavior (walk near me, look at me) using positive reinforcement.

The chain can then be used for quick corrections if needed, once your dog understands the behavior they should be doing. 

This is extra important for dogs showing reactivity and fear.

E-Collar Comfort Pad Review – E-Collar Technologies

E-Collar Comfort Pad Review – E-Collar Technologies

If you’ve been here a while you know that we LOVE E-Collar technologies.

We use our E-Collars like invisible, wireless leashes…not shock collars. There is literally nothing better than providing our dogs with joyful off-leash freedom (and joyful they are!).

This week I tried a comfort pad on my E-Collar for our Great Dane Figaro, and let me just say, if you are using an E-Collar you should definitely know about this!

On my mantle Great Dane Figaro, our E-Collar was actually causing the white fur on his collar to stain. Yikes! I read that an E-Collar comfort pad may help, and decided to give it a try.

Check out my honest hands-on E-Collar comfort pad review below:

 

If you want to learn more about proper E-Collar training, and if you are ready to ditch the leash, check out our helpful guide!  https://www.hellodanes.com/product/great-dane-e-collar-training-guide/

E-Collar Comfort Pads for Great Danes

Comfort Pads are an amazing upgrade to your E-Collar. These are easy to install and help avoid staining, pressure sores and irritation from traditional E-Collar contact points.

We highly recommend pairing comfort pads with a bungee collar for the best and most reliable fit.

See our video review of comfort pads below!

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