Ok, this is more under the category of “things that can save your DOG’S life…” but close enough.

Last night, after I went to bed, Little started retching, like coughing/trying to throw up without producing anything.  I thought he was actually puking, so I woke up to clean it up – but found that he was just gagging.  Over, and over, and over.  And he had drooled all over the couch (and he doesn’t drool).

And he would stand up, retch, lay down, retch, stand up, retch…

So I decided to Google “dog retching”.  Which turned up several websites, all of which told me that retching unproductively was the number one sign of bloat (or gastric torsion) in large, deep-chested dogs.


Now, I will say, by this time, Little had *stopped* retching.  And, in fact, he was acting ABSOLUTELY FINE.

But then I found this site, which described how a dog had the SAME SYMPTOMS, and was happy and “wagging her tail”, who then DIED on the operating table.

If the intention of that website is to scare the living daylights out of its readers, well…it succeeded.

Little and I were off to the emergency vet.

(Thankfully, we live about 10 minutes from one, so this wasn’t nearly the big deal that it could have been at 2:00 am.)

And now…here is my second piece of lifesaving advice (for Fido…)

The vet said that about an hour before we arrived last night, another dog had come in, dead on arrival, because his owners didn’t know that retching unproductively was a sign of bloat.  They thought they’d let him wait it out, and by the time he stomach got the characteristic “bloat”, it was too late.

So if your deep-chested dog is exhibiting retching, drooling, or any of the other symptoms listed on that link – take the dog in.  It is a really easy diagnostic process.  If it is bloat, and it goes untreated, it is fatal.

Our happy ending:  $200 later…Little is absolutely, perfectly, totally fine.  He loved the X-ray machine and apparently loved having sandbags placed on him (to hold him still for the X-ray) and thought it was a great field trip at 2:00 am.  His stomach was totally fine, his other organs were in the right place (I wasn’t really worried about that, but she kindly highlighted it for me anyway 🙂 )…but hey, better safe than sorry, right?


(Although I do wish it hadn’t cost $200.)