DDBs are a deep chested breed (as are Mastiffs, German Shepherds, Briards, etc.) and therefore have a higher incidence of bloat.  Bloat is a serious condition and can be fatal.  These feeding recommendations should help to improve the quality of your dogs life, and hopefully, decrease the chance of your dog ever experiencing a potentially fatal bloat incident.

A number of steps can help you to prevent bloat. Serving food warm is one of them.  You can add water to the kibble you feed your DDB to soften and expand it, as well as to warm it.  We do not feed our mature DDB wet food.  We feed a premium, low residue kibble; dry. Premium foods (INNOVA, Natural Balance, IAMS/Eukanuba) have more nutrition for your DDB, result in lower stool volume; and preclude the need for expensive and unnecessary supplements. 

To give you a good idea how the kibble you feed expands in your dog's stomach, experiment by soaking one full cup of the dry kibble you choose in one full cup of hot water.  This may take 20 minutes to one half hour, but will simulate the expansion which goes on during digestion..which can lead to bloat.  Multiply this by the number of cups you plan to feed to see where you might be harming your dog.  Equally important, control "gulping" of water/excess water intake.

Do not feed only once a day.  This is too long for your DDB's stomach to be empty, and can create gastric problems/ravenous eating.  We feed our mature DDB twice daily.  Adult Male: 3-1/2 cups dry kibble per feeding; Adult Females: 3 cups dry kibble per feeding.   We recommend several brands of premium dog foods: Innova Large Breed (turkey formula), EUKANUBA Large Breed Formula, IAMS (Mini Chunks/green bag). Our dogs seem to prefer the mini chunks and they are more easily digested (a good standby if your usual petfood in not available and you can only make it to a 24  hour WalMart/Kroger, etc.) and Natural Balance Duck and Potato (also an allergy formula).  Stick to one food if possible.  If you change, do so gradually, increasing the new food by 1/3 each day.

We do not feed table scraps.  This encourages begging as well as creates finicky eaters, unpleasant gas and/or loose stools.  To treat your DDB, you may stir in a few spoonfuls of yogurt, cottage cheese, or sprinkle a little grated cheese on the kibble.  Do not overdo it with cheeses, or you will constipate them.

If you must feed treats, we recommend INNOVA Health bars/biscuits.  Or, you can purchase Natural Balance Turkey Rolls (cut in slices, then in small bite size chunks).  These rolls are found on a hanging display in most pet food stores, and look like large sausage rolls.  They do not need refrigeration until they are opened, and keep for a week or more once opened.  No other treats are needed!

Our DDB go outside the very first thing each morning.  When they come in, we give them two cups (20 oz.) of water, then feed them their morning meal about 45 minutes to an hour later.  We give more water throughout the day.

It is a good idea to
allow your DDB to empty their bladder before and after they eat.  Use common sense, and think how you would feel eating your meals with a full bladder.  Uncomfortable.

Once our dogs have eaten, we give them a small juice glass (not more than 8 oz.) of water to rinse their palate.  Then, they have quiet rest until at least an hour later. 
NO ROUGH HOUSING within a half hour before eating, nor for a good hour or so afterwards.  After two hours, your dog is ready to eliminate.  Some dogs leave stool in more than one spot...so do not call them back inside until you are sure they are "done".  Now you may give them larger amounts of water.

Our pups are all crate trained (as are our mature DDB).  Take them straight to the front door first thing each morning.  Bring them in to eat,
then out to potty twenty minutes later.  They will usually empty their bladders or leave a stool soon after meals (20 min.) for some time until their digestive system matures. Our pups eat three times daily, until a little over a  year old, depending on their growth.

We feed the evening meal
no less than two full hours before bedtime.  We give only 8 ounces of water after the meal, until the following morning.  Feeding earlier is best, of course, so you can allow more water/digestion time.  Our dogs go out for the "last call" just before the lights go out.  You can read about crate training on a later page.
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