Acid Reflux: Your Dog Could Have it Too

If you suffer from acid reflux disease, you know how painful and uncomfortable it can make you, as well as how much of a struggle treatment can be. It turns out that our dogs may suffer the exact same thing: acid reflux, medically deemed gastroesophageal reflux, occurs in many canines, and can happen at any age. Here, a Farmington Hills veterinarian tells you about the causes, symptoms, and solutions if your dog suffers from acid reflux disease.


Acid reflux is caused when the gastric or intestinal fluids flow back up from the stomach into the esophagus. A relaxation of the sphincter, the muscular opening at the base of the esophagus, allows the fluids to pass through. The gastric fluids cause damage and inflammation in the esophagus, which can be uncomfortable at best and very painful at worst.

The sphincter can relax for several reasons—if your dog has been placed under anesthesia for other reasons, improper positioning can result in eventual acid reflux. If your dog suffered from chronic vomiting for any reason, acid reflux can follow. Certain hernias can also be responsible for heightening the likelihood of acid reflux. Your vet will need to examine your pet to determine the exact cause.


Acid reflux cases can range from mild to severe. Mild cases will result in some esophagus inflammation, and severe reflux will cause damage to deep layers of the throat. Your dog may vomit, exhibit pain signs like whining or howling, lose his appetite, or lose weight. Contact your Farmington Hills vet if your dog displays any of these symptoms—acid reflux may be to blame.


Your Farmington Hills veterinarian will need to diagnose acid reflux in your dog. This may be accomplished by an internal examination of the esophagus, or by discovering any other cause of acid reflux like hernias or disease of the throat.

Diet changes are a big part of your dog’s treatment. Food might be withheld completely for a day or two, followed by a low-fat diet administered in small portions. Ask your vet what type of food would be best for your dog in this situation. Your vet will inform you of the treatment plan and feeding schedule.

Medications can supplement these diet changes. They improve the flow of stomach contents and strengthen the sphincter. Your veterinarian can give you more information on these products.

You can prevent the risk of acid reflux in your dog by keeping him on a healthy diet with minimal fat content. Excessive table scraps or fatty treats are not advisable, not only for preventing acid reflux but for a host of other reasons, such as obesity prevention. Keep your dog healthy to help him avoid the painful symptoms of acid reflux disease.


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