We think of it as a human condition brought on by our horrible diets and fast-paced eating. Yet, your canine companion could be suffering from a form of acid reflux that may be the symptom of an underlying condition.
Acid Reflux in Dogs
Trupanion’s Director of Veterinary Services, Denise Petryk, DVM, says “Dogs don’t get the same acid reflux as people, there is usually another underlying problem that should be investigated by a trusted veterinarian.”
She lists several underlying causes of acid reflux in dogs:
- Inflammation of the Esophagus
- Anesthesia-induced acid reflux
- Hiatal hernias
- Birth defects
- Extensive vomiting
Hiatal hernias can also appear in humans. This is when the upper stomach and lower esophageal sphincter move above the diaphragm, allowing the acid from your stomach to move up into your esophagus (www.webmd.com)
Diet can be an issue, though it does not seem to be as common of a cause in dogs as it is in humans. Your vet can help you figure out if its food related, or another issue entirely.
DO NOT GIVE YOUR DOG TUMS®, PEPCID®, or any other human treatment for acid reflux. Not only are these for humans, but they will do nothing to help your dog if the problem is serious, such as cancer or parvo.
Both Dr. Huston and Dr. Petryk tell dog owners to keep an out for the following symptoms and to take your dog to the vet immediately if you see any of these:
- Weight loss
- Excessive drooling
- Lack of appetite
- Increased swallowing
- Pain while swallowing
- Reluctant to move
- Extend their head and neck
Dangers of Acid Reflux
This is not something you want to take lightly or ignore. If your dog is having problems, see a vet.
“Complications such as esophageal stricture [tightening of the esophagus], megaesophagus [enlargement of the esophagus], or esophageal perforation [holes in the esophagus] may occur,” warns Dr. Huston.
There is no set treatment for acid reflux in dogs. It will depend on what the root cause is of the condition. Once your vet knows what’s wrong, they can set up a treatment plan to take care of the cause. If you just treat the acid reflux, you are treating a symptom and not the condition.
About the Author
Based in Tustin, Calif., animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and works as a full time trainer. She also owns her own custom pet products company, A Fairytail House, where she makes personalized collars, leashes, beds, keepsake pillows and blankets, and anything else your imagine can think up. In her spare time, she trains and competes in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation with her Shetland Sheepdogs. She smartly married a Veterinary Technician, who helps keep the fur kids happy and healthy, and provides a quick resource for articles.
Do you want a healthier & happier dog? Join our email list & we'll donate 1 meal to a shelter dog in need!