Why Exercise Before Or After A Meal Can Be Really Bad For Your Dog

Why Exercise Before Or After A Meal Can Be Really Bad For Your Dog

Have you ever heard of dog bloat, a twisted stomach, gastric or gut torsion? These are some of the ways people refer to Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV).

What is GDV?

GDV is the twisting of the gut, in other words twisting of the dog’s stomach. This can be caused by a variety of things, including large meals, stress, anxiety, excitement and vigorous exercise.

When does GDV happens?

GDV usually occurs within the first two hours of feeding a dog, especially if that meal was quite a large one very close to exercise that your dog has wolfed down rapidly! Here is a quick guide to GDV and the signs you should be looking out for:

What is happening
Dogs Behaviour / Signs
What should I do

Dog experiences stress/excitement, engages in vigorous exercise, before or after a large meal or a long drink or have swallowed air after eating a meal to fast or being  anxious.

Stomach function is normal.Gas accumulating in stomach, but stomach not emptying as it should.
Possibly seems slightly uncomfortable, but your dog will behave as usual
Keep dog quiet and relaxed, do not leave dog alone, be aware of Phase 1 symptoms.
Dog may recover without developing further.
Stomach starts to dilate and twist
Anxious, restless, pacing, drooling, swollen/painful abdomen
Call vet and get advice immediately. If possible, take your dog to see the vet straight away.
Dog may recover from this phase with a little pressure release from the vet.
Blood supply to part of the stomach is cut off, twisting increases and dog goes into shock
Very restless, whining and panting, copious amounts of drooling, stands with legs apart and head hanging, gums dark red.
Take dog to the vet as quickly as possible. Get someone to call ahead and warn them why you’re coming.
At this point the vet may need to perform surgery to fix the twists in your dog’s stomach, and put the dog on a fluid drip.
Shock is now very severe, dog will suffer from further internal issues
Unable to stand, abdomen very swollen, shallow breathing, pale gums
Take your dog to the vet as soon as possible and call them to let them know you are on the way
Vet will attempt life-saving first aid and surgeries. Unfortunately at this point it may not always be successful.


  • Remember GDV usually occurs within the first two hours of eating, so make sure to leave at least thirty minutes after exercise before feeding your dog!
  • Two smaller feeds are much better for your dog than one big meal
  • Try not to let your pooch rapidly wolf down his/her food!
  • Do not let the dog play or exercise (e.g. go for a walk) for at least two hours after having a meal
  • Ensure continuous fresh water is available to avoid your pet gulping down a large amount after eating

Breeds at biggest risk:

Dogs that are biggest risk are deep chested breeds (Greyhounds, German Shepherds, Labradors) however it can be found in all dogs. Please take extra care if your pooch is on the larger breed scale!