Are Labs Deep-Chested Dogs? Labradors and Bloating Guide

A deep-chested dog has a chest that extends to or beyond the elbows, this applies typically to big-sized breeds more than medium and small-sized ones. Labradors are considered deep-chested dogs, and unfortunately, they fall high on the list.

So, are Labs deep-chested dogs? Yes, Labrador retrievers deep-chested dogs; most large-sized breeds are. Unfortunately, this makes labradors highly prone to develop life-threatening health issues like bloat, a potentially fatal condition in which gas accumulates in the dog’s stomach to the point that the stomach twists on itself.

Keep on reading to know the relation between this fatal disease and a deep chest, its symptoms, and what exactly to do if your labrador shows any signs of bloat or concerning first-time symptoms.

Are Labradors deep-chested dogs? 

labrador to show why are labradors deep-chested dogs

Labradors come up so high on the list of deep-chested dogs. A deep chest extends to the elbows or even beyond, and although it doesn’t sound so severe – it, unfortunately, is, as it puts your dog at risk of Bloat, or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)

Bloat is one of the most severe non-traumatic conditions that dogs may suffer from, especially deep-chested dogs; It is when there is a buildup of gas in the stomach. This can cause your Labrador retriever’s stomach to twist 180 degrees to 360 degrees, a disease known as a gastric dilatation-volvulus syndrome.

Can Labradors Get bloated?

Yes, Labrador Retrievers have a high proneness to getting bloated. This may occur due to multiple reasons including a deep chest, stress, illness, physical activity patterns, or eating habits.

In its early stage, the stomach fills with gas, causing a simple gastric dilatation that is mild and not worrisome. 

As the condition progresses, gas and food can not pass through the digestive system. Circulation is quickly cut off to digestive organs, this is when GDV is developed, and you should seek medical attention.

4 Reasons Why Labradors Get Bloated 

There are various reasons why labradors get bloated, including the structure of a dog’s body, especially dogs with a deep chest, stress, and Illness that decreases intestinal motion.

  1. Having a Deep Chest

The structure of a dog’s body plays a significant role in the risk of developing gastric dilatation-volvulus syndrome; Large-sized dogs, like Labradors, have deep chests (extending to or below their elbows).

  1. Overeating then exercising 

Bloating may develop if your deep-chested Lab exercises immediately after feasting and drinking. If he has gas, it can fill his stomach, causing discomfort and anxiety and twisting it.

  1. Stress

Anxiety is known to be a contributor to bloat, and labradors are no exception to that; in fact, studies are proving that generally calm dogs are at less risk of developing the gastric dilatation-volvulus syndrome.

  1. Loss of motility in the intestines

Labradors and all other breeds may suffer from some illnesses that decrease motion in the intestines, thus causing maldigestion and contributing to GDV, these diseases include enteritis, post-surgical pseudo-obstruction, nematode infection, intestinal sclerosis, and radiation enteritis.

Other causes of bloating include:

  • Having only one meal a day
  • Having a bloat-related family history
  • Eating quickly and taking in a lot of air with food
  • Being underweight or skinny
  • being over the age of seven 
  • Consumption of wet-dry food, mainly if it contains citric acid as a preservative.

Signs of Bloating to watch out for 

Bloating has multiple symptoms that you should watch out for, ones that the milder than others.

Less severe symptoms include: 

  • Having a visibly bloated stomach.
  • Looking anxious or stressed
  • Pacing around
  • Drooling more than usual
  • Retching – inability to vomit 

As the condition begins to worsen, other more severe symptoms arise like: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Having a weak stance
  • Rapid pulse
  • Pale gums
  • Collapsing or fainting

Notice how being gassy is not one of the main symptoms to watch out for? That’s a common misconception, and your dog can’t both be gassy and accumulate gas at the same time. You can learn why your retriever may be gassy here and find out what you should do in that case.

What to do if your labrador is bloated.

If your Labrador retriever is actually bloating, RUSH TO THE VET.

That’s the best and only advice you need. Bloating is a serious condition and you can not treat it yourself or even should try to.

If you notice that your dog is suddenly bloated, visit your vet immediately to know the severeness of the stage your dog is in, or go to emergency care if it’s after hours.

How is Bloating Treated?

The procedures that the vet typically takes include passing a tube to release the gases pent up inside your lab’s stomach.

If it turns out that the condition escalated and the stomach is already twisted, the vet will resort to inserting a needle or a catheter through the skin to relieve the pressure.

Sometimes surgery is called for to return the stomach to its natural position and functionality, remove any dead tissues (or dying ones), and prevent future gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) reoccurrence.

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Related Questions 

Can lab puppies get bloated? 

Lab puppies can get bloated just for the same reasons as elder labs, these include intestinal worms, illness inhibiting intestinal motion, and sometimes sadly caused by gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV)

What is a deep-chested dog? 

A deep-chested dog is a dog that has its chest extending to its elbows or below, making it narrower and deeper than other dogs which have a normal or barrel-chested dog. Unfortunately, Deep-chested dogs are more prone to gastric illnesses.

What are the first signs of bloat in dogs? 

The First signs of bloating normally are restlessness, continuous pacing, swollen abdomen, overall fatigue and distress, inability to vomit, rapid breathing, and excessive drooling. If you notice that your dog is suffering from any of these, it’s best to seek medical attention.

Bloat is a fatal disease that puts your dog’s life at risk, and may sometimes escalate to death, but paying close attention to your dog’s diet, quality of food, eating patterns, and exercise regimens may play a great role in preventing gastric dilatation.

You must discuss any concerns regarding bloating with your vet and act quickly if you notice any symptoms on your dog to prevent the damage before it happens. 

Helpful Resources 

Medical, Genetic & Behavioral Risk Factors of Labrador Retrievers By ROSS D. CLARK, DVM


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Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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