What to do When a Sheepadoodle Puppy Experiences Bloat

sheepadoodle looking off to the side


The Sheepadoodle is a mixed breed between the Poodle and the Old English Sheepdog. This hybrid breed has become one of the most popular mixed breeds of dogs in the U.S. A significant part of their popularity is due to their great personalities.

Sheepadoodle dogs are happy-go-lucky pups. Thanks to their relatives, they inherit great family dog traits. For example, a Sheepadoodle puppy is friendly, easy to train, affectionate, and loyal. These dogs are excellent for homes with many kids or for single parents with more active lifestyles.

These shaggy-haired dogs can grow to be pretty big. Their height ranges from 18-25 inches, and the standard Sheepadoodle can weigh anywhere from 60 – 80 pounds! Because of their size, Sheepadoodles have tons of energy and need at least an hour of exercise each day to stay healthy. However, since this breed is a Poodle mix, a potential Sheepadoodle dog owner should know that some Sheepadoodles are relatives of the miniature Poodle and the toy Poodle instead of the standard Poodle. They thought making this Poodle mix smaller would result in a mini Sheepadoodle and a micro Sheepadoodle. The smaller the Poodle relative, the smaller the Sheepadoodle puppies. A miniature Sheepadoodle dog would naturally have less energy and need less exercise.

The Sheepadoodle dog is ideal for many people. The Sheepadoodle temperament is excellent for families and active households. However, these dogs would not do well in less active homes. When dogs get less activity, they become rowdier and often act out in bursts of bad behavior. Dogs who don’t get enough exercise aren’t healthy dogs; they need to stretch their joints and burn off excess energy.

Sheepadoodle Health Issues

As adorable as Sheepadoodle puppies are, they aren’t perfect for everyone. These dogs inherit the risk of a few health conditions because of their relation to the Poodle and Old English Sheepdog breeds. For example, a Sheepadoodle is at risk of developing separation anxiety because of its attentive nature. Poodles are at risk of developing a skin disease called sebaceous adenitis. Therefore, Sheepadoodle dogs are at somewhat of a risk too because of this relation. However, a standard Sheepadoodle is less likely to inherit this skin disease than an average Poodle, thanks to the Old English Sheepdog contributing good genes.

When only one of the parent breeds has a health condition, the offspring is less likely to inherit that condition. However, when both parent breeds have a risk for the same disease, the offspring is at an even more elevated risk of developing that condition. For example, the standard Sheepadoodle is at risk of developing hip dysplasia thanks to both of its relatives. Since both parent breed dogs are larger dogs, they both carry an increased risk of getting hip dysplasia.

One of the more severe conditions Sheepadoodles are at elevated risk of developing is called bloat. Canine bloat is a condition that larger dogs are more at risk of developing than other sizes of dogs. This is because the larger a dog‘s chest is, the more at risk they are of experiencing bloat.

sheepadoodle puppy laying in grass

How Bloat Affects Sheepadoodle Puppies

Gastric-Dilation Volvulus, also known as bloat, involves a dog‘s stomach. A bloated dog belly can result from gas, liquid, or food that gets trapped in the stomach without a way to escape. Sometimes bloat can cause the stomach to twist, but we’ll get into more detail about that later.

Scientists don’t know the inciting cause of bloat, but several known factors can raise the risk of a dog developing bloat. Sheepadoodles naturally have a heightened risk of bloat, and because of the large size of their stomach and chest areas, other factors can increase this potential. There is no way to prevent genetic predisposition to bloat in dogs, but Sheepadoodle owners can take some precautionary steps to help ward off bloat.


When this life-threatening condition occurs, the stomach becomes enlarged by the gas, food, or liquid trapped inside it. When expanded, the stomach can put pressure on a dog‘s respiratory system. This pressure makes it difficult for your dog to breathe, and their body isn’t able to get as much blood circulation. If the bloat progresses far enough, a dog‘s stomach might twist.

When the stomach twists, blood can’t circulate to certain organ areas, and some tissue dies. Dogs have less of a chance of recovering from this dangerous health condition once the tissue begins to die.

Sometimes, when the stomach twists, it drags the pancreas and spleen and prevents blood from getting to them. If the pancreas is oxygen-deprived, it releases a lethal hormone that will eventually stop a dog‘s heart. It’s rarer, but sometimes dogs can experience a bloated dog belly and receive successful treatment, only to die an hour later because of this toxic hormone. A veterinarian can treat this condition, but about 25 to 45% of all dogs with this condition die from it.

sheepadoodle dog running through grass

What Causes Bloat in Sheepadoodle Puppies

Bloat occurs in dogs that are predisposed to inheriting this disease. The Old English Sheepdog and the Poodle are at a predisposed risk of developing this condition, making the Sheepadoodle more likely to experience a bloated dog belly. Because Sheepadoodle puppies have an elevated risk than either of their parent breeds, any potential Sheepadoodle owner must be aware of bloat and its signs.

Sometimes, dogs can induce bloat if they are very active before or after eating. For example, some dogs like to run around immediately after finishing their food, which can cause excessive gases to get trapped in the stomach. If a dog eats their food too quickly or drinks a lot of water immediately before or after eating, this can also raise the risk of experiencing bloat.

Sheepadoodle puppies are high-energy dogs, and while there aren’t breeds that are more likely to chow down faster than other breeds, it is still possible that Sheepadoodle puppies will channel their energy into chowing down and running around. Owners can help curb these bad habits by feeding their dogs with special dog bowls meant to slow down mealtimes. Sheepadoodle owners can also prevent a dog‘s bloated stomach by limiting water intake before and after meals. Try to dissuade your Sheepadoodle from too much physical activity ahead of eating as well.

The Symptoms of a Sheepadoodle with Bloat

When a Sheepadoodle experiences bloat, it will often show symptoms. A Sheepadoodle with a dog bloated stomach will begin looking uncomfortable and may have a swollen abdomen. These dogs also might try to stretch by laying their front legs and head on the ground and pointing their butts in the air. Poodles that experience bloat often try to vomit but are ultimately unsuccessful because bloat traps everything in the stomach. But, because Poodles with bloat often unsuccessfully vomit, then it stands to reason that Sheepadoodles experiencing bloat may show the same symptoms.

Some dogs with a bloated belly will pass out due to the increased pressure the enlarged abdomen puts on their lungs. Sometimes Sheepadoodle pups with bloated dog bellies will drool excessively or begin to whine. Often dogs with Gastric-Dilation Volvulus will have shortened breaths and may struggle to breathe. These dogs may also have cold body temperature and pale gums. Some dogs with this health condition experience rapid heartbeats. Suppose your Sheepadoodle ate anything recently and seems to have any of these symptoms of distress. In that case, it’s best to call your vet immediately or take your dog to the emergency vet clinic.

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sheepadoodle dog sitting in snow

How to Help a Dog with Bloat

When Sheepadoodle dogs have bloat, they need to receive treatment as soon as possible. The only way to treat bloat is by releasing whatever is trapped inside the dog‘s bloated stomach, and your veterinarian can get to work in saving your pup.

In the early stages of bloat, a vet may put a breathing tube down a dog‘s throat to release the trapped gas before the stomach twists. This treatment can only work before the stomach twists. After the stomach twists, the only option for treatment is surgery. Stomach surgery is required for many dogs that experience bloat. Most vets will perform surgery to twist the stomach back to the correct place and then repair or remove any damaged or dead tissue.

Often, stomach tissue dies when the stomach gets twisted, and vets then need to remove the dead stomach tissue. Sadly, some dogs with bloat lose too much stomach tissue, and they don’t live. However, if a dog is taken to the clinic in time, it may survive.

After this treatment is performed, vets often perform a second surgery to prevent another case of bloat from occurring. This surgery prevents bloat from happening again, which helps the dog heal and recover from its condition. This preventative step also brings a lot of comfort to worried owners. Dogs that experience bloat are more likely to experience it again.

Gastropexy surgery is a great preventative measure for bloated dog bellies. However, not all dogs should receive such surgery. Relatively at least one dog in every breed has experienced bloat, so it is hard for vets to recognize what makes the cost of surgery worth it. If you have the funds and have a Sheepadoodle, you should consider getting your dog this preventative surgery.

Owners should not feel pressured to spend money on preventative surgery for a health condition they aren’t sure their dog will ever experience. Still, if you have a dog with a heart irregularity or other health issues, something like bloat might kill them. Veterinarians can perform this preventative surgery whenever they neuter or spay a dog.

As mentioned earlier, this health condition is hazardous. Occasionally some dogs will receive this stomach-altering surgery and leave surgery successful, only to die hours later from the toxic hormones released by the pancreas. This situation is considerably rare, but owners should take note of the severity of this health condition.

Prognosis of Dogs with Bloat

Any Sheepadoodle that experiences bloat will have a period when they need to recover from their condition. Even if you got your Sheepadoodle to the emergency vet clinic when they only had a bloated dog belly, Sheepadoodles still need time to recover from a tube in their throat or the pain their stomach might feel. When dogs receive a successful surgery, the vet clinic usually keeps that dog for two to three days for close observation. Because of this stomach surgery’s invasive nature, dogs have stitches in their tummies and need to eat special, easily digestible diets.

After a few days, veterinarians will release the affected dog to their owner, and the owner will need to closely monitor their dog‘s diet and stitches. Vets usually remove any surgical stitches after a week or two, depending on how the dog is healing. But, make no mistake; bloat heavily affects a dog‘s overall health for a while.

Thankfully, after treatment and recovery, any affected Sheepadoodle pup should be back to their bouncing, bubbly selves. The preventative surgery helps put owners’ minds at the ease of ever having their dog suffer from bloat again.

close up of a sheepadoodle dog

The Life Expectancy of a Sheepadoodle

Sheepadoodle puppies have a longer lifespan, averaging 12 to 14 years. While many Sheepadoodle pups live their entire lives without any serious illness or condition, some will be affected by the health risks this cross-breed is prone to getting. Veterinarians and scientists don’t know the cause of Gastric-Dilation Volvulus. They don’t know exactly how to prevent this condition from happening other than to perform a definitive surgery that attaches the dog‘s stomach to their abdominal lining. However, many vets know some behaviors that can increase the risk of a pup experiencing this health condition.

Dry dog food is a popular choice among all pet parents because it’s usually cheaper and easier to store, but dry dog food is much less compact and leaves room for dogs to swallow excessive amounts of air while eating. Wet dog food lowers the risk of dog bloat compared to dry dog food. For example, if dogs eat from a raised food bowl, they are more likely to develop bloat. Owners of Sheepadoodle puppies should also try to feed their dogs multiple smaller meals each day rather than one large meal. Feeding your dog twice a day is better than feeding them once, but if they need large amounts of food (like 3 cups), owners should consider feeding their dogs even more often, such as three separate times per day.

Bloat affects large chested dogs more than any other size dog. This is largely because large dogs have more room in their bodies for their stomach to twist. Because most large dogs are affected, it’s hard to locate specific diets that can increase the risk of this condition. Many large dog breeds have very similar diets that are heavily based on cereals and meats. There isn’t much data to back up any specific dietary issues, but the American Kennel Club states that meals with soybean, oils, or fats listed in the first four ingredients are likely to increase the risk of bloat by fourfold. Even though the standard Sheepadoodle can grow pretty large, these pups don’t typically need special diets, so owners can be careful to look for less fat and oil-dense foods.

Overall, owners can take a few preventative measures to ensure their dog is safe from the risk of bloat. If owners are careful to limit any activities that can raise the risk of bloat, they can help make sure their dog will never experience such a condition.

The Sheepadoodles Quality of Life After Bloat

After a Sheepadoodle dog has experienced bloat and received treatment and healed, their quality of life should return to what it was before. Dogs that experience bloat will need to take about a month to ensure they feel good again, but overall these pups can come out of this horrible health condition unchanged.

Of course, not all Sheepadoodles that experience bloat are lucky to survive treatment, but those that do will remain as happy and carefree as they seemed before their illness.

As long as potential Sheepadoodle owners are aware of their physical and mental needs, they can be prepared to care for one of these loving dogs. Sheepadoodles need adequate exercise to get their energy out and maintain healthy joints and weight. Sheepadoodle dog owners can provide their dogs with activity and attention, and these dogs will be able to live a long, happy life with their families. Even though Sheepadoodles are popular mixed dogs, many sit in shelters. Try to adopt a pup if you feel ready, and you’ll see that caring for an adorable, sweet Sheepadoodle is as easy as pie.

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