A balanced diet is an important part of the health of any breed, let alone Curly Coated Retrievers. But some Curlies can develop a disorder called Gastric Torsion that can be fatal if not treated, and many believe that this disorder can be prevented with careful diet restriction. In this article, we'll take a look at this disorder, how it can be prevented through diet management, and what foods are recommended for the Curly Coated Retriever.
Gastric Torsion is a disorder related to the digestive tract and can be found in large, barrel-chested dogs like the Curly Coated Retriever. It is not known if the disorder is genetic, but it does tend to run in families. This disorder is commonly referred to as Bloat, as this is a significant symptom of the disorder. Bloat is caused by too much fluid or gas in the stomach, which causes it to distend. If the stomach partially rolls as a result of this bloat, this is called Gastric Torsion and could be potentially fatal if not treated immediately.
It is still not fully understood what causes Gastric Torsion, but there are some vets that say that the combination of food and exercise can trigger it. Common factors of dogs that have suffered from this disorder are that they are usually between three and seven years of age, eat mostly dry kibble, drink large amounts of water after eating, and exercise vigorously after eating. Dogs that have a bloating episode should see a veterinarian immediately in order to get the best treatment and to verify that the dog isn't suffering from Gastric Torsion as well. It does seem that once a dog experiences a bloating episode, his chances of having another one are quite high.
So what can handlers do to help prevent the onset of this disorder? The best way is to manage how much their Curly eats at a time and prevent them from exercising for a period of one to two hours after eating. The most important thing in managing the diet is making sure the dog doesn't eat too quickly. This can be prevented by avoiding giving the dog one large meal a day. Some recommend giving the dog at least two smaller meals a day, while others recommend leaving out a large portion over the course of the day, so the dog can eat when he wants and doesn't feel pressure to eat it quickly. Curlies that are anxious to play just after eating should be crated, in order to give their bodies the time they need to properly digest.
There are also those that recommend feeding Curlies a natural diet, consisting of meat, vegetables and grains, although grains should be fully cooked to help prevent digestive problems. Others say that they are not necessary, while others still use a combination of both. The important thing to remember is that every dog is different and will tolerate some kinds of foods better than others. What is clear is that Curly Coated Retrievers are highly active dogs that need a high quality diet is order to stay healthy.