Acid reflux in dogs is a condition in which there is an entry of digestive enzymes and gastric acid into the esophagus from the stomach. The condition is uncomfortable and has the potential to be dangerous if the contents of the stomach consistently enter the esophagus and then return to the stomach. Find out the symptoms of this condition, the causes, why your dog may only be experiencing it at night, home remedies, treatment and when to see your vet.
Acid Reflux in Dogs
- Acid Reflux in Dogs
- Symptoms of Acid Reflux in Dogs – Acid Reflux in Dogs Symptoms
- Acid Reflux in Dogs Causes
- Anesthesia Administration
- Hiatal Hernia
- Factors Contributing to Acid Reflux in Dogs
- Acid Reflux in Dogs Home Remedy – Acid Reflux in Dogs Natural Treatment
- Acid Reflux in Dogs Diet Control
- Acid Reflux in Dogs Medication
- Acid Reflux in Dogs at Night
Within the gastrointestinal system of a dog are various organs serving different purposes. A malfunction in one could see damage experienced elsewhere within the system.
The esophagus is a tube connecting the stomach with the throat. Acid reflux in dogs will occur when the gastro-esophageal sphincter, a valve found at the entrance of a dog’s stomach, relaxes and thus allows acid to pass in the wrong direction causing it to end up in the gullet or esophagus.
Also referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or esophagitis, acid reflux in dogs is, therefore, caused by the uncontrolled flow of intestinal fluids or gastric acid to the esophagus. When the gastrointestinal fluids which include pepsin, bile and gastric acid among other components get in contact with the esophagus, they are too harsh. As a result, they cause the mucosal lining of the esophagus to be corroded. This then results in inflammation which is quite uncomfortable for the dog.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux in Dogs – Acid Reflux in Dogs Symptoms
How can you tell that your dog is experiencing acid reflux? The symptoms of acid reflux in dogs depend on whether it is mild or severe. Some of the most common signs are as follows:
- A persistent bad dog breath
- Excessive drooling
- Weight loss
- Burping or gurgling sound after meals
- Vomiting with small amounts of food being expelled.
- Visible discomfort while eating
- Whining during their meals, gagging and vomiting at times
Acid Reflux in Dogs Causes
Any situation that results in the relaxing of the sphincter could see your dog suffer acid reflux. This is because when it relaxes, space is left between the stomach and esophagus thus giving room for the backflow of fluids. Situations aggravating the condition include the following:
When a pet is given anesthesia without having been fasted as is recommended or if they are incorrectly positioned while under anesthesia, the esophageal sphincter could relax resulting in acid reflux.
This is a congenital condition in which there is a protrusion of abdominal content into the chest cavity. These occur through the esophageal hiatus which is another natural opening in the diaphragm. While pups are still young and the sphincter valve is still developing, they are at a greater risk to experience it. The condition is thought to increase the risk of acid reflux in dogs.
When a dog suffers long-term vomiting, their risk of experiencing acid reflex is increased. Other conditions that make a dog susceptible include cancer of the esophagus as well as the presence of foreign bodies in the esophagus.
Factors Contributing to Acid Reflux in Dogs
Dogs subjected to certain human indulgences are at an increased risk of experiencing acid reflux. According to thenest.com, alcohol and smoking can aggravate acid reflux. Insufficient digestive enzymes, pregnancy, and consumption of large meals have the potential to cause the condition too.
Acid Reflux in Dogs Home Remedy – Acid Reflux in Dogs Natural Treatment
Acid reflux in dogs treatment involves eliminating the underlying health issues leading to it as well as reversing the damage that the esophageal lining has been subjected to. This allows the dog to reduce acid levels and once they are considerably low, the esophagus will produce a new mucus layer to protect it.
The treatment is easy if it has not escalated to severity. In most cases, it does not require hospitalization as home-based care is usually enough to handle the condition. In severe cases though, nutritional support and intravenous feeding may be necessary. Below are some dietary and daily life acid reflux in dogs natural home remedies.
Acid Reflux in Dogs Diet Control
To treat acid reflux in dogs, food is usually withheld for 24 to 48 hours. During this time, you should ensure that the dog does not eat but has consistent access to water. After this, a strict diet has to be adopted to manage the acid reflux in dogs.
Offer your dog small meals to make feeding more frequent. Feeding your dog large amounts will see the less frequent feeds give room for production of acid. Counter this by dividing their daily portions into small amounts.
Additionally, it is advisable to decrease dietary proteins and fats as these are known to increase amounts of gastric acid produced.
In place of these offer your dog carbohydrates such as boiled potatoes or rice and white meat such as turkey, coley fish or chicken. Ensure your picks are lean. Keep bacon, butter, pate, sausages and fatty minced meat from your dog.
While feeding, you could also place the food bowl on a low table or stool. This way the dog is forced to eat with their head raised up. This ensures food gets to the stomach as opposed to being regurgitated due to the irritation thus helping him keep some down.
Acid Reflux in Dogs Medication
Acid reflux in dogs medication options are available to help relieve the symptoms. Pro-kinetic agents are some of the drugs you can use. They improve how the contents of the stomach move within the digestive system. There also are medicines aimed at strengthening the sphincter muscle.
Gastro protectants can help protect the esophagus and stomach too. These contain sucralfate and include medications such as Carafate and Antepsin. You could also get over the counter products such as Pepcid acid reflux medication for dogs to relieve the discomfort.
Once they are under medication, the dog will be monitored. Keep to the recommended diet and attend scheduled clinics if there are any. In addition, have your pet checked whenever they appear to be in distress.
Acid Reflux in Dogs at Night
Dogs that are fed only once in a day are most likely to experience acid reflux at night. This is because it is the longest duration your pet goes without food and as a result, there are increased chances of gastric acid leaking. This can be curbed by increasing the number of times your dog feeds.
While the above interventions can help relieve the symptoms of acid reflux in dogs, it is important to keep watch over your pooch. Whenever they appear to be in distress, if the conditions do not get better or you have any concerns regarding your pooch, see your veterinarian.