Dog Acid Reflux Symptoms (+ Relief)

Acidity and gastric problems are prevalent in human beings. But did you know that many well-documented acid reflux in dogs’ symptoms have been documented? Gastroesophageal reflux is characterized by the reverse flow of gastric fluids through the tube that connects our throat to the stomach. The incidence of gastroesophageal reflux is quite common in dogs.

 It mainly affects younger dogs, but symptoms can also be observed in older dogs. Studies have provided that these gastrointestinal issues in dogs can be managed by giving the proper meal and through holistic planning and management. 

Do you have a specific question about the dog’s acid reflux symptoms? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

Do dogs get acid reflux?

Like in humans, acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux is also common in dogs. It happens when the enzymes and acids from the stomach move into the esophagus. Although it is not life-threatening, it causes extreme discomfort and might be considered dangerous.

 This is because the acidic content causes harm to the lining of the esophagus, which can lead to ulcers. It can also lead to inflammation and irritation of the esophagus, making it thinner, leading to necrosis. 

The constant regurgitation, a prevalent symptom of acid reflux, can also cause vomiting, and entering the lungs, can cause pneumonia or aspiration. For an overview, check out this video.

What causes acid reflux in dogs?

Acid reflux is a common phenomenon affecting dogs in any age group. Some of the more common causes of acid reflux have been identified as particularly damaging. Anesthesia can often cause acid reflux because the drug relaxes the sphincter. Hence dogs who have undergone a surgical procedure often suffer from gastrointestinal reflux. 

Often, dog acid reflux symptoms are also manifested due to an allergic reaction. If your dog has eaten something that they are allergic to, it can result in acid reflux. Common allergens include soy, gluten, additives, and preservatives. 

Chronic vomiting, which might have been caused by other unrelated issues. It may also lead to dog acid reflux symptoms. 

This happens because the dog’s internal organs are already weak and cannot prevent the stomach fluids from entering the esophagus. Another common cause of acid reflux is the overproduction of stomach acids, which indicates certain gastrointestinal health problems or stomach problems. 

This can occur because of bacterial infections, oily or spicy food, hernias, or stress. 

How do you know if your dog has acid reflux? 

One of the most important things that I have discovered as a dog parent is that you have to always be vigilant about your dog’s needs. 

As they cannot communicate how they are feeling, you have to always be on the lookout for behavioral or emotional changes in your dog. 

Many emotional and behavioral cues indicate whether your dog is feeling different from usual. To be specific, being mindful of the symptoms is the first step in understanding if your dog has any ailment in general or acid reflux.

Once you start noticing acid reflux in dogs’ symptoms, which will be discussed in the next segment, you need to take your dog to a veterinarian. 

Without a confirmed diagnosis, you will not be able to start a treatment plan. Veterinarians often perform esophagoscopy to confirm the diagnosis of acid reflux. Blood tests and urine analysis are also some tests that are often performed by veterinarians to diagnose acid reflux and find the underlying causes. 

Main dog acid reflux symptoms

It might be a little difficult for you to spot the signs of acid reflux in your dog because everything seems to be fine until your dog starts vomiting. Some of the most critical and influential acid reflux in dogs symptoms includes the following:

Difficulty swallowing

You might start noticing that your dog cannot swallow the food that is being offered to them. It might be manifested as taking too much time to eat their food or simply signs of decreased appetite. 

Vomiting bile

Bile is an important digestive juice that is required for the process of digestion. In the case of acid reflux, you might see that your dog is vomiting bile which is a yellowish substance. This might occur, especially if your dog has an empty stomach while suffering from acid reflux. 

Constant regurgitation of food

Food regurgitation or vomiting is expected after your dog has eaten. Due to increased pressure on the esophagus, the food is regurgitated back through the same pathway. In most cases, regurgitated food is often undigested. 

This is very commonly associated with acid reflux. Remember that repeated regurgitation might lead your dog to become extremely nutrient deficient and lose weight all of a sudden. It might also develop into a painful condition called esophagitis, a sudden inflammation in the esophagus. 

Not all dogs suffer from acid reflux vomit, so you have to be very careful in noticing the more subtle symptoms of acid reflux. 

Weight loss

Sudden weight loss may be accompanied by acid reflux, especially if your dog frequently vomits. A dog who loses weight suddenly can easily be considered extremely nutrition deficient and have to be treated immediately. 

Chronic cough

Since the esophagus is compromised during acid reflux, your dog may experience a chronic cough. 

Discomfort

A general sense of pain and discomfort is observed in dogs suffering from acid reflux. You may see them licking their lips, notice a sudden change in how they are barking, and see an overall restless state. 

What can I give my dog for acid reflux?  

In most cases, acid reflux can be treated with mild medical attention and does not need hospitalization. However, the doctor may advise changes in their diet. It is better to provide them with soothing food and a lighter diet.

Remember, spicy and oily food makes acid reflux much worse and has to be avoided at all costs. These foods make the digestive process even more complex and worsen the dog’s immune system and overall health. 

You might also want to test your dog for any food-related allergies. Since allergies often lead to acid reflux, you might want to switch up their diet and see what works better for them.

Stick to a soothing diet of rice, steamed vegetables, and boiled chicken that are organic and fresh. Preservatives and food with colorants or additives can further aggravate the symptoms and lead to dog indigestion. 

It is also essential to provide your dog food adhering to a particular routine. The amount of food supplied also needs to be consistent.

This causes less pressure on their gastrointestinal system and reduces the risk of acid reflux. You must also try to give your dog softer food as they require lesser enzymes to get digested. They are easily digested while providing the same nutritional value. 

Caring for your dog is one of the most rewarding jobs that you can have. Be careful that you are mindful of the dog’s needs and wants so that they can be accommodated at all times.

Remember to take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you spot any symptoms or behavioral changes. A dog suffering from acid reflux feels much pain and discomfort and must be treated immediately. 

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