I’ve found a way to stop my dog’s gulping attacks and wanted to share what I do, in the hope that it might also work with other dogs. My dog has been having these gulping episodes a few times a year, where he also frantically starts licking the floor. I used to race him to the ER, but since they’ve yet to figure out a cause/treatment, I started trying different things to see if I could find a way to stop them myself, and by golly, it looks like I have! I recently discovered that when I distract my dog, he momentarily stops gulping/licking, and when I keep him distracted and calm for 10-20 min, I find the episode has resolved. It’s worked three times now!
The first thing I do is place a small amount of water in his food bowl, with two cooked peas (his favorite), which forces him to lap up most of the water in order to get to them. My reason for doing this is in case he’s got a hair irritating his esophagus, causing him to gulp, it’ll wash it down. I honestly don’t think this is the case, but I start with this anyway, as I’ve yet to figure out what causes these episodes. Then I lay down next to him and get/keep his attention by using a soothing low voice to weave all the words he knows, like – go for a ride in the car, squirrels, doggy, ball, good boy, sleepy … into one long nonsensical monologue or lullaby, and as he’s cocking his head back and forth listening, I slowly run one hand gently down the length of his throat repeatedly (to relax it), while using my other hand to pet his favorite spot. I don’t know if what I’m doing to his throat actually does anything, or if it’s just the act of getting him to relax that does, but this combo works for us! He had another attack that I was able to stop last night, and since I know so many others also have dogs with these gulping attacks, I wanted to share this.
I hope this works for someone else, as well!Keenie WMember
You may have to do this for an hour or so, but it beats a trip to the ER. Just keep soothing and distracting him until the gulping has stopped, and then keep at it for a little while longer to make sure they don’t come back. Good luck!amy rMember
It is so wonderful (albeit somewhat sad) to hear others talk about the gulping! I have talked to Boone’s vets for many years about this to no avail. He has also been scoped, x-rayed, etc. Nothing found out of the ordinary. But these gulping episodes continue. It can be once or twice a year, or every few months. Stress and excitement to be the main cause, although Boone has always had a touchy GI. Once he starts it can get so bad I have to leash him to me or he’ll lick the floors in the entire house, or worse. It’s happened where I have come home and he has eaten dangerous things like a 1.5″ thick rubber mat. Bedding, clothing, leashes, anything he can get his mouth on is ingested. Now if I leave him he in gated in the laundry room with no bed or blankets or anything he could eat (unless he chews the walls… which would not totally surprise me). Once he ate so much blanket, that a week later he threw up a ball of blanket that was the size of a small game hen. Scary. I have had to use hydrogen peroxide on him on several occasion because he grabbed something and ate it before I realized what was happening. It can happen in an instant and impossible to keep my eyes on him every minute, though I do try.
This has radically changed our life as the episodes have become more intense with age. I can’t leave him with anyone unless they watch him every moment, I can only leave him unattended in a room set up specifically for this issue, and I even hesitate to take him in the truck anymore, since he can (and has) eat the seats in the few moments that I might be in the store. Or… he might be fun. But it’s risky.
We could go months and no episodes, but when it does it’s dangerous for him. It sounds like many of you know exactly what this is like… they are frantic, incessantly licking and gulping and coughing. It’s so terrible. Boone gulps air of course and then I can hear his stomach making noise from it.
Sometimes I am able to distract him, taking him for a walk, feeding him something soft like rice, playing a game, gently stroking his neck and talking to him about good things until he relaxes. But other times none of this works at all and we’re in it for the long haul, just making sure he doesn’t hurt himself.
Boone has always been a bit high stress, has separation anxiety, and needs a lot of exercise. Exercise and being tired helps but only to a point. He is also a bit OCD, in that once he locks in on something it is very difficult to change his mind. For this reason, I believe that mostly the episodes are triggered by anxiety, but again, he has had some stomach issues and I am thinking about what I can have on hand that some of you have mentioned that might help. For sure once he’s begun this behavior it would help to be able to give him something to calm his stomach, if not his brain.
It just feels comforting to be able to read your stories and know that we’re not alone with this complex and bewildering behavior. It so upsetting to not be able to know how to help. If only love could fix everything! 🙂
Guys!! This is crazy ! Your dogs have a severe case of acid reflux!! The gulp and lick because the acid is coming up and burning their throat. All you need to do is not distract or whatever you’re saying give them a Pepcid!! I’m so sad for you guys no vet has been able to share this very common diagnoses with you. Our dog suffered for years too then we realized started giving her ACV and Pepcid and the intense attacks have stoppedFreddie AMember
Indeed acid reflux seems to be very common on
on Boxer dogs. I went crazy looking for a
solution.My dog suffered a lot of such
condition, plus he often was vomiting,
have no appetite and was always very
anxious!Vet Rx didn’t help at all.
I did my research, found info. of a derivate
and special legal formula obtain from the
Cannabis, a product call “CBD Oil” for dogs,
made in USA by” Honest Paws Co.”
and tried it on my dog and the issues endedlaurie PMember
I’m so glad I ran into this forum. Is there anything that any of you have tried with diet for the acid reflux? i.e. smaller more frequent meals? Fresh food diet vs. kibble? I’m hesitant to give him ACV right now until I get it under control with prilosec. He’s on day 4 of prilosec, but still gulping and licking.
This is happening to my dog really frequently. The vets seem clueless when you bring in the dog and show them videos of the dog incessantly licking the floor and gulping. He takes in so much air that it causes him to cough and sometimes throw up. They want to treat a cough. Well, my dog isn’t coughing he’s licking the floor! My instinct has been that it’s GI related, and after reading this forum, seems like I might be right.
Try a low acid food like lamb, three smaller meals a day, tums or Pepcid and we’ve also been sprinkling slippery elm powered on her food and since we realize it was acid reflux and made these adjustments she’s not had an attack since. How sad is it that our vets are so useless we’ve had to come to this and treat it on our own. I’m just glad the word is getting out there and other pet owners are able to find a solution like we did. Remember that when the dog starts to lick the ground it means the acid has already gotten so bad it’s burning their throat the key to is immediately give a Tums to calm the acid and eventually learn how to prevent all togetheranonymousMemberYorkiLover4Member
I agree with Laura- this sounds like acid reflux.
I went through the exact same problem with my dogs earlier this year, and this page was SO helpful:
One dog wouldn’t stop eating grass, and another had non-stop gulping & gurgling.
I highly recommend the GastroULC and Probiotic- this combination helped clear up all of problems right away.
Hope this helps!!Lisa SParticipant
I know I’m late to this conversation but my dog does this as well. When she gets it she will try and eat anything that’s in front of her whether it be a plastic toy, grass, literally anything. I just gave her 2 tums (figured why not try it). Well she stopped instantly. Grant it I had to break it in half for her to eat it but she stopped. I’ve been dealing with this for 3 yrs, shes 4. Hopefully this will help her because Drs cant figure out what’s wrong and I’m afraid she’ll eat something that will kill her. I’m grateful she doesn’t do this often but it’s scary still thinking about it.
I’m glad you’ve been able to
Find this forum and finally get rid of the issue! Making sure to reduce the acid at all times is important. We have gotten lazy at times forgetting the Pepcid every morning or giving lots of table scraps then she gets gulpy again eating everything in front of her until we give tums but we shouldn’t let it get that far. Prevent prevent prevent then Tums when it gets visibly bad! Look up ways to reduce acid in dogs. I’ve also posted other ways earlier posts
Giving tums or pepcid to your dog on a regular basis is not a good idea .
Repeated use. Regular exposure can lead to kidney disease, urinary stones, pancreatitis, and other conditions in dogs. Alternative treatment is necessary for chronic stomach issues, and there are safer alternatives if your dog needs calcium supplements.
Maybe a change in diet done very slowly could be a better solution?
Yup! Like the other things I mentioned! Low fat food no table scraps, apple cider vinegar, slippery elm all help immensely then tums or Pepcid when needed
Small and frequent meals also very helpful also Laura.Nina ZParticipant
Hello! I adopted a pit mix about 5 years ago. We had her for few months and she started to vomit. She would vomit so much that I would come home and find piles of blood. She would gulp and gag and do something what looked like hiccup. Long story short I spend over 10k yes 10k! Trying to figure what is wrong with her. She had 2 stomach scopes that only thing they found out that her stomach wasn’t really digesting her food, the vet said this because when she did the scope my Lilly still had her stomach full of food and she hadn’t eaten 16 hrs prior. And her tonsils are large. So we switched her to soft food. She has been eating science diet chicken and barley or turkey and barley. She also had full blood work done to see if allergies were causing this, she also had her adrenal glands tested to see if this was stress related. Negative. So I tried acid reflux reducer, she would still have these crazy episodes. I give her metaglopram (not sure if this how you spell it) 30 min prior she eats to relax her esophagus. I was able to minimize her episode. Something out of ordinary happen a week ago which made me research again… she started to vomit again. She would vomit 2-6 hrs after she would eat. Again it was indigested food. She vomited daily for 5 days. More or less… so I called vet again. She spend the day again there. $500 later she got antibiotics, probiotic and a medicine to help with nausea. She stopped vomiting. But she had the most “violent” gulping episodes today. I thought her intestines are going to turn. She stopped after about 30 min but now she keeps “burping” and what looks like hiccup. Vets have no clue and I have also shown videos of her doing it. She was even doing it once I rushed her to ER vet. I am afraid to leave her alone so she goes every I go. This is beyond stressful for me and causes me great deal of anxiety. One time when I wasn’t home she ate one foot by one foot area of her crate floor including the carpet underneath the crate, foam and stopped on the concrete floor. $3k vet visit and they had to cut her stomach open to get it all out. I have no idea what to do. She is my life.
Wanted to update! Turns out our dog has Crohn’s disease which was causing the irritation in her lower esophagus. This causes the gulping attacks. We have added fibre to her dinner and give her a pepcid every morning since we did the scope and found out. Also changed her food to kangaroo and since all this she hasn’t had one attack! We are so happy!
Nina you say that her tonsils are enlarged. Could it be vet meant her esophagus? Article below describes regurgitation in dog with this condition.
My dog has these same episodes as well. I have noticed that he seems to have them if I burn candles and I was informed to take any air freshener plug in’s out of my walls which was interesting to me to hear since I had one in every room! Doing this has dramatically decreased the frequency of his episodes. I recently lit a large double wick Nest Christmas candle (I know it’s summer but I am a sucker for holiday scents) and within an hour my dog was gulping the floor non stop like his life depended on it. I let him out into the yard where he will eat grass for about 20 minutes and then he seems better.
Another thing that has been immensely helpful was getting him on a low fat diet. I have him on Hills low fat ID kibble and that helps a ton. If I stray and try another food he tends to have a flare up of these episodes. So, it’s been a true mix of the food he eats and the air quality. I am thinking it’s asthma mixed with reflux. He’s had these episodes for years though. If I manage his diet well and keep fragrances away he goes long stretches without the attacks. The vet has also recommended Pepcid once a day to help but I fluctuate on giving that to him all the time. I tend to give him it if he’s showing signs of upset stomach or the attacks start.
They are so hard to manage but it can be done. Good luck!Brianna KParticipant
This thread has helped me immensely.
my four-year-old pug has had this issue for a really long time, and I can’t seem to diagnose it. I’ve taken him to vets a few times in his life, but they rarely have anything to offer that I didn’t already know.
It ends up being a waste of time and mostly money for me, so I have become diligent in learning about my dog’s health so that I can try and diagnose fix with a level of education that keeps my dog safe.
With that said, I still haven’t solved this one.
My pug is on a raw food diet, I supplement with a variety of different types of foods, as well as prebiotics and probiotics. Naturally, not always supplemented.
I’ve found cooking up some lean meat, rice, veggies, with a lot of stock works well for his general comfort.
I just want to figure out why this is happening.
Sometimes he will sit in his kennel at night, just licking and swallowing and gulping really hard. It will happen for hours at a time sometimes and I don’t know what to do when it happens. He’ll just sit there gulping and licking really quickly. Almost like he’s throwing up and trying to swallow something quickly before it comes up all the way.
People often times get mad at me for getting a dog that I can’t afford to, but the state of the world has us all financially flustered and unfortunately not able to pay the big bucks that others can make for expensive medications. I also prefer to keep things as natural as possible as not to disrupt his already fragile system and to be able to diagnose the issue at the root and solve it in a way that is permanent.
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by Brianna K.
My dog began having an “attack” yesterday morning. I find if I calm her down the moment she begins gulping it will stop. It does take some time but it does work. For some reason I believe it’s because she starts to panic and then goes crazy trying to lick everything. It doesn’t stop in the sense that it’s over but she won’t have those intense attacks of licking for hours, so it sucks but we have to watch her all day to catch the first signs of it. Yesterday I gave her some bread in the hopes that if it was a esophagus irritant it would catch on. Didn’t really help, but I gave her Benadryl and she completely stopped for the rest of the day!
I’m having the same problem exactly right now. We have a female and male basset hound and he started having his licking/eating everything outside ( grass, spiders webs, fox tails ( the plant thing not the animal) and whatever else on the ground). I took him to the vet who I normally find really good but she didn’t seem to take me very seriously and just said the fox tails would’ve irritated his throat and gave some anti’ inflammatory’s. Which he ran out of today, he still gulped here and there throughout the last 5 days on them. Then this evening he was asleep with me in bed, got up to drink a ton of water and then decided to go outside. An hour later my husband woke me up saying he wouldn’t come inside. So I had to literally carry him in because he wouldn’t stop eating the grass etc. He went insane for 2 hours panicking that I wouldn’t let him eat the grass and swallowing a bunch.
I read this forum and gave him two tums. He is asleep now * knock on wood * and I’m really hoping it’s gone by tomorrow. Before the tums to really calm down the excessive swallowing and drooling I distracted him with some ice cubes and frozen blue berries all over the floor so he had to really think about them and I think it helped to take his mind off his throat.
It’s extremely hard and frustrating to watch. 2.5 hours of non stop panic/crying from him.. and out of the blue.
He is eating angus beef and oatmeal food and normally we fed him salmon and sweet potato food, or lamb and oatmeal. Wondering if that has to do with it? The other female pup is fine.
Turns out he woke up and is now trying to find any little bit of dirt around the house to eat.
If I put him in his kennel he barks and whines the entire time. Half because he is always very emotional, and half because he just won’t relax right now.Joyce BMember
There is something in the diet causing this. A dog that is up all night gulping and licking is being fed wrong. Please try a single protein and carb. If the reflux calms down then stick with that for life, forget variety. If it doesn’t calm down, change it to another protein and carb. Don’t deviate, even with treats, until you get to the culprit. Those berries might not be helping either, I have one dog that got acid reflux from a cranberry supplement (among other things). Be patient and good luck!Ashley DParticipant
We have been dealing with these “episodes” with my boxer for about a year. We have had bloodwork, xrays, ultrasounds all come back “normal”. We see an internal medicine specialist who thinks it might be GERD or IBD, or a protein allergy. We have him on Prilosec, gas-x, metaclompramide (I can never spell that one), a steroid, and cerenia as needed. We also feed him a hydrolyzed protein food. We feed him 3 times a day, by hand so that I can control the speed he eats better. For a while his episodes subsided from multiple times a month to once a month…but the last couple of weeks they have become more frequent again. I have a follow up appointment with the internist, and I think the only option at this point is an endoscopy.
I have read so many other dog parents going through this with no real official answers. My boy is going through an episode now, it is winding down because the cerenia is kicking in, but we are on hour three. I feel so helpless.
Hey guys!! I thought I’d give you an update on all that has happened and what we figure it is.
So, I had posted in my ********* and asked if anyone had similar issues. Someone told me their dog did, and turns out they were allergic to beef! Our Salmon and Sweet potato food was sold out so we instead bought Angus beef and oatmeal ( our female is allergic to chicken and turkey meal- gets hot spots from it ) so we figured that must be it! So we went to the pet store and had to spend an arm and a leg on salmon and sweet potato grain free food until theirs comes back in stock. I am wondering maybe beef food was the reason! And I’m assuming it causes maybe acid reflux or something?
Another assumption I do have though, is that when he gets bored, he eats the grass, spider webs, dead flowers etc outside, which makes him throw up, causing the acid reflux and then the gagging from the burning begins.
He was gagging off and on all week after his episodes though ( hiccup gags) so maybe it was a mix of both the beef food and the acid reflux from eating the grass? Anyway, worth a shot for any of you feeding beef food that aren’t sure what the issue is. I’m still giving him his favourite beef treats though.. he has had them for a year now so seems ok.
So, all in all. This is basically how it went.
That night he would stop gagging and had us up all night, we gave him a couple tums and would NOT let him eat the grass. The grass made it 10x worse. He finally fell asleep and I fed him chicken and rice the next day. People food. Seemed to be okay still had the gagging. I think I gave him a couple Tums a day until he stopped. Also we switched the food to the salmon. And then we noticed he tried to eat the grass again… so we brought him inside ASAP and cut the grass (bagged it so it was gone) He was doing it because he was bored I can only assume. And no gagging hiccups since! Whenever I see him go to eat a spider web I make him come inside. I caught him this morning licking the webs off the deck, we live in a new area so we have new spider webs every single days as it used to be farmers fields. We are going to pressure wash the deck this weekend now.
Anyway, I had to literally pick him up, 65+ and an odd length, and carry him inside, that’s how obsessive he will get if he wants to eat something. I thought, here we go, he is going to go through it all again just when I thought we were cured. But nope he came in, went right to his kennel and is now good and asleep with no gagging. However if I hadn’t brought him in I think he would’ve ate enough to restart the process.
**** also I forgot to say, those going through the ” episode ” of the gagging, non stop eating etc. Try the tums, and calm your dog down, get dog CBD oil, try the frozen berries or ice cube. Anything to distract them until the tums relieves the acid reflux burn and then just wait it out. We used to think him eating grass would help him but it definitely just makes it worse. Good luck everyone!!amy rMember
My Boone is on Pepcid but I don’t see a difference. He has always had an anxiety issue, and some of the intensity of the episodes are because of this. I’m still working on solutions since these episodes are more frequent. So hard and sad – what I do now is crate him and tell him cheerfully that I’ll be back. Then I leave the room. This does seem to distract him a bit, and he tends to settle sooner, but not before gulping, scratching the crate floor, whining and barking for me to come back for anywhere from a couple hours to most of the night. It’s brutal on both of us but it is better than me getting frustrated and tying him to my side all night long to prevent him from eating something. I have tried everything I have read here and then some. He’s also been on Prozac, Tramadol, Trazadone, and Xanex. There has been no detectable change with any of these in fact, some seem to cause an opposite effect. I certainly do not like drugging him – but these episodes can be truly horrible for all of us, and after 24 hours of him being so distraught (and me too), I’ve been willing to try anything to make him more comfortable.
So on it goes and thank you everyone for sharing. It helps to know I’m not alone in this.SusanMember
Have you tried something stronger then Pepcid?? Pepcid didnt help my boy, it did nothing, join the “Acid Reflux in dogs” on Face Book https://www.facebook.com/groups/1635198406751056.
alot of dog owners swear by Gastro Elm.. Its slippery Elm powder Musmallow Root & other powders to help dogs digestive tract
I use Pantoprazole-20mg every morning now as the Omeprazole didnt seem to work for Patch, it didnt help my GERDS either, 2018 January Patches Vet did another Endoscope + Biopsies vet needs the Biopsy results so vet can treat dog properly, when camera went down Patches esophagus he saw how red & inflamed his esophagus was from the acids washing back up esophagus & down his wind pipe was also red & inflamed no wonder she was crying & whinging, he’s a real talker
Does your dog cough?? if yes they cough so the acid stays out of wind pipe before it goes into lungs, I never knew Patch was this bad he did hold& not show me how much pain he really was in, I just thought he’s whinging again, as they age their lower esophageal sphincter flap in between stomach & esophagus doesn’t close properly same in humans as we age we don’t make as much Hydrochloric acid in our stomach & this is when we & dogs get their bad acid reflux the Pantoprazole has stop Patch vomiting he hasn’t vomited since 2018.. Also diet change & feeding 5 smaller meals a day.
Have you tried CBD oil this was prescribed for Patch start with just 3 drops CBD oil on a piece of dry biscuit, I tried the CBD oil aswell so I knew what Patch was feeling & I’m glad I did cause the prescriber recommend I start with 5 drops then every 2nd day increase 1 ml till its working, 3 drops works just fine on a 40lb -18kg 11 yr old dog. He sleeps thru the night peacefully.Nicole RParticipant
So I have been led to this forum because my Aussie Doberman mix, Buddy, started these gulping episodes, and they stress me out so bad. His first attack started shortly after he turned a year old. He got the gulps and did the frantic swallowing, licking thing, but this was also accompanied by a bad allergic reaction where he had hives on his mouth and testicles. Took him to the vet, they gave him a shot to clear everything up and he was fine for the next month or so until last week.
I’m wondering if these gulping episodes are stress related because they didn’t start again until after a very scary incident happened with one of our other dogs. We have a Rhodesian Ridgeback who slipped out of his collar while on a walk and ran into the street and was hit by a car. Fortunately he is okay, but he did have to get a few staples in his leg and it was just a super scary and intense situation all around. The very next night after that happened, Buddy had a violent attack where he licked, gulped, tried to eat carpet, made the most aweful retching sound and vomitted 4-5 times. I gave him Pepto and Benedryl and after about 2-3 hours he finally calmed down. He started doing this on a daily basis so I took him to the vet and they are saying Acid Reflux, and prescribed Faotidine and Calming Care Purina Pro Plan. I also put him on a sensitive skin and stomach food, just in case it is food related, and I’m feeding him smaller meals, 3 times a day. I also give him one Claratin a day because he does have post nasal drip and is allergy prone.
We are on day three of this regimen, and Buddy still gulps sometimes throughout the day, but he is not vomiting anymore, and he is keeping his food down which is great. He does seem to get more anxious in the evening, and I’ve found that when the gulping and licking starts to escalate and he’s trying to eat the carpet, I put him in a pen we have set up in our back room and he calms instantly. Everything stops and he just chills out. He slept in the pen for a good portion of his puppyhood, so I think it’s a safe haven for him and definitely stops the episodes in it’s tracks. Which makes me wonder if they are neurological or anxiety triggered? If so, is giving him Pepcid and anti-acid even necessary? I like the calming probiotic the vet prescribed, but I really don’t want to keep drugging my dog, and I’m truly at a loss here and not sure how to proceed. Thanks for reading my story.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.