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 togetheranonymousMemberYorkiLover4Participant
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 2 years, 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 BParticipant
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.SusanParticipant
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.Ray KParticipant
My dog would have these episodes infrequently throughout the years. They weren’t very intense so I just watched her when she’d have one to see if it escalated but they never lasted longer than maybe 10 minutes. But last night she had a really bad one and it was freaking her out an me too. This is what brought me here. I am reading that this is an acid reflux problem which makes sense especially just before the attack her stomach was making all kinds of noises and I noticed it.
I know in people acid reflux often times is caused by “low” stomach acid. The remedy is to take a digestive enzyme with your food, especially one with ox bile. This occurs especially as we age as our digestion slows down. I’m assuming it may be a similar situation with dogs and cats to probably. I have done this in the past with my dog because she had an issue where we had to give her large amounts of antibiotics so I was giving her probiotics and a digestive enzyme for a while. I think I will start again and hopefully this won’t happen again especially since she is almost 14. Thanks for all the good answers I found on here.
I’m so glad I found this about dogs with gulping, licking episodes! THANK YOU all for sharing your experiences, suggestions, etc. I have a basset beagle mix that’s 6 years old. I got her when she was 4. She has sensitive stomach and mild anxiety.
She started doing the licking the floor, gulping, sometimes hacking/coughing sound like something is stuck in her neck or her throat is itchy (?), and wanting to frantically go outside to eat grass. I tried Pepcid, famotidine from the vet. Didn’t help. Took her to see another vet and showed him a video clip of her frantically licking the floor and not responding to me or anything else except to go outside to look for grass. Sometimes she would throw up, but that was rare. This vet suggested she might be having focal seizure especially since Pepcid didn’t help which led him to rule out acid reflux. He gave me xanax as he said the focal seizure can be caused by anxiety (which she does have mild anxiety). Well that didn’t work or help either. So I’m back to square one and have written down some things she does related to these licking the floor episodes (which can last anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes; and go on and off for a day or two before subsiding) and wanting to go out to eat grass. I noticed that she licks the top of her paws and her chest area almost on a daily basis. She will also periodically make gulping and licking sounds, at various times of the day or night. The last time she had a licking episode, she eventually threw up, I noticed alot of hair in it. So I am wondering if she gets small hairballs from her “grooming” herself (I googled symptoms of hairballs) ? Or is it post nasal drip as she does have allergies?
I have tried Benadryl in case it could be post nasal drip. It helps a little but could be only because it makes her sleepy? I can’t give her more than one in 24 hours and more than maybe three days in a row as it makes her sick/vomit.
So yesterday I asked a friend who does cat rescue what she uses for hairballs and she said laxatone. Then I ordered some indoor grass that dogs/cats can eat and laxatone (a lubricant), from chewy.com for my dog. If her issues are related to hairballs, this should help.
I just found this forum today and saw the suggestions for slipppery elm…I’ll give that a try too if the laxatone doesn’t help. Plus try changing the protein source in her food.
Thank you all again so much for sharing your experiences and what you have done to try to get to the bottom of these episodes with your dogs. I also especially appreciate those who had tests done, scoping, x-rays, etc. and still no answers. This is all very frustrating for sure!
Also wanted to mention that fragrances from candles, essential oils, perfumes, would make my other dog do the gulping/swallowing and she would want to go outside, so I don’t ever use those anymore. And she has never had an episode since.Sara LParticipant
I can relate to all of your experiences. We are fostering a 3yo Australian Shepherd mix with this same problem. We bought Blue Buffalo Basics Sensitive Stomach and will see if that helps. We have given her Pepto Bismol when she is having an episode and it helps. We are going to try Pepcid and/or Tums too. This poor baby can’t keep missing meals due to this condition.
SOLUTION*********HELLO everyone! I think it is allergies! My Golden retriever has gulping attacks and swallows and I noticed it is when my husband does laundry and uses TIDE and DOWNEY! These smells are so strong they also cause me to have to take my inhaler!! My dog runs outside and eats grass and I can tell he is panicking! I’m telling you it is allergies! If you have air fresheners in your house or use perfume or spray anything or use cleaners STOP for the sake of your dog!
Licking is just the dog trying to SELF SOOTHE- it’s the same when they eat grass- it’s their instinct to eat grass to get rid of anything negative. DONT USE FRANGRANSEC, WALL PLUG IN FRAGRANCE OR CANDLES OR OIL DEFUSERS OR EVEN WHEN DOING THE LAUNDRY OF USING STRONG CLEANERS WILL TRIGGER AN EPISODE
I agree with cG. I use non scent, perfume free detergent. Even cleansers on flooring or rug can cause reaction. Those scented plug in are horrible to be breathing in all day.
Yes, Patricia, they are toxic to humans too. Thanks for your post.
Limiting fragrances in my house has DEFINITELY helped immensely. I used to have fragrance wallflowers in most rooms but took them all out and stopped burning candles and my dog now only has maybe one gulping attack a year now and I’ve noticed that on those occasions it usually stems from him eating too much and getting reflux. Limiting candles and wall plug in’s has been a life changer for my dog and his gulping attacks. That’s for sure!
Ryan glad to hear you found causation of those gulping attacks. Also good article on reflux. Raising dogs food bowls. Also maybe less big meals and more smaller ones a fewer times a day. https://familypet.com/how-can-i-prevent-my-dog-from-getting-acid-reflux/Elihu LParticipant
I am so happy to have found all the information on this thread! It has been so helpful. Our pup would lay beside me and lick and lick at the floor. I could hear his tummy gurgling and he would gag like he was trying to throw up a hairball. Sometimes he didn’t even want to eat…so I knew he must be uncomfortable. We tried several different foods, prilosec, pepcid, famotadine, etc. Our vet just wanted to give us other drugs to try, but none of them were helping. I really wanted to fix what was causing his tummy upset and not just give him pills.
We tried slippery elm and it seemed to help for a few days, but it made his stool loose. We went to the page that YorkiLover4 suggested: https://www.askariel.com/remedies-for-acid-reflux-in-pets-s/1880.htm
The probiotic and gastro combination finally stopped the licking and gurgling. We changed his protein too. It did take a little time because we changed his diet really slowly…to avoid any further tummy upset. It’s been a few months now and it still seems to be working. This seems to be a great alternative to all the OTC drugs.
Elihu L so happy for you and especially your pup that you found relief for him. Would always like to look hard into alternative solutions before meds. Especially the antacid route. I don’t know if it works the same for dogs but I had gastritis and was given antacids. The more I took the worse I felt. Finally stopped taking and watched my diet and stress. Mentioned to my primary doctor and he said got to be very careful with antacids since there is a rebound effect. https://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/news/20090702/stopping-ppis-causes-acid-reflux-symptoms
Like any medication, whether it be for us humans or our pets, there are side effects. Again, hope your pups disgestion discomfort is over for good.Viv RParticipant
Medication and probiotics didn’t work for us and we tried that for about a month, but here’s what did work for our pit-husky mix:
1. Feed 3-4 small meals a day, and no fatty or rich foods or table foods. We started with 4 per day, and by day 4 we went to 3 a day.
2. Feed a lower fat lower protein dog food that is Not grain free. I have slowly stopped trusting dog food manufacturers who don’t publish the origin of their ingredients and feed Nature’s logic, Open Farm, and Honest kitchen, so I didn’t think I could improve here. But she is our picky dog, and we were adding chicken breasts or thighs with skin (ugh) to her food. Without the addition of chicken, she didn’t want to eat. The pet food store suggested Dr. Harvey’s canine health mix as an alternative to Honest kitchen’s mix. This is a mix that requires you to add muscle meat, organ meat (for taurine), and a healthy oil- I use olive oil or krill oil. For protein, I add skinless chicken breast (and a small portion of ground turkey liver, hearts and gizzards). I follow their recipe for low protein, which amounts to about 1.5 grams of protein for each pound that my dog weighs, which doesn’t sound low protein to me. She LOVES it, but most of all, her GERD, acid reflux, gulping, and burping up water is under control. I buy frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts at Costco ($1.77 per pound), and do a big meal prep once a week, freezing half. It’s expensive, but cheaper than the vet.
It’s been about 6 months, and we’ve been able to slowly go back to 2 meals a day, but 3 is probably better. She had an episode a few days ago after I fed her too many Ziwi peak treats, but other than that, she’s good!Sandi HParticipant
Question about the Pepcid. Do you give them people Pepcid or tums or is there a canine version? Thank you.Eva BParticipant
I have a chihuahua mix- He has the same lick fit issue that can last 8-10 hours. I wish the problem were stomach because there are solutions for that- and the vet & I have tried them all. At this point I don’t believe my dog’s issue stems from the belly.
A unique characteristic is that the problem recurs every July. He has up to 6 episodes within about 6 weeks, and then nothing the rest of the year.
We consider that maybe it’s an allergy to something that blooms mid-summer. Maybe- but this is southern AZ- in July, everything is either dying or in survival mode.
Distracting him definitely works best- it takes me a 1/2 hour to an hour for him to calm down. But if I’m not there to do so, he’ll do that lick fit thing, and as he gulps down whatever he can find, that’s when the stomach issues start. Who knows what this poor little guy ingests. One time he regurgitated a foot of foam.
If I’m there to prevent the problem from initiating, that part doesn’t happen. (But what if I’m not there?)
One trick I use is to put the Cone of Shame on him. This limits the range of licking he can do if the problem has initiated before I can catch it. But he doesn’t mind the cone so much – other dogs would probably hate that.
Thanks everyone for posting experiences and ideas into this forum – removes that helpless feeling a little.lexie MParticipant
hey guys. I have been dealing with this for a very long time my dog is now 13. she’s a pit mix. We are currently having an episode right now that’s what made me finally search it on the internet. I’ve tried all your common acid reflux medicine and she’s on Science Diet sensitive skin and stomach dog food. But what I have noticed in these last few episodes she has had is she starts having them in the middle of eating her dog food she goes from eating dog food all the sudden she’s hacking like she’s got dog food stuck in her throat and then looking for grass or carpet or whatever she can eat. We’ve been going through this for years I think the sensitive skin and stomach dog food has helped but still we have the episodes but now like I said it is whenever she is eating she will start after she has choked on a piece or something. Because it’s not after she eats, it’s mid meal. She’s ate so much carpet and other things in the past and then usually 2 – 3 days in she would throw up all the grass all the carpet she ate in a big ol wad and she would feel better. Her last episodes I have never noticed that final throw up happening it just finally subsides actually. I keep a closer eye on her now and make sure she doesn’t eat carpet and try not to let her eat grass when she goes outside. These episodes still last 2 to 3 days and she’s just miserable makes me so sad for her but it’s not acid reflux it’s not allergies it’s like she gets food stuck in her throat I massage her throat tap her on her back try to do whatever I can to dislodge this piece of dog food or whatever is making her choke and hack we still have not had any luck though. I showed my video to vets as well this is like this most uncommon ailment in dogs nobody knows how to cure it if it isnt acid reflux and it isn’t allergies…
My dog has this issue and it’s been a combination of getting him on the right food as well as removing allergy triggers (air fresheners and wall plugins). Another huge help was getting him on prescription food. Ask your vet about Hills Low Fat ID. I tried that same Hills science diet food your dog is on for my dog and he had gulping fits on it. I think it’s too high in omega oils. If I put my dog on ANY other food he has an episode. Not sure what this food does for him but he has hardly had any episodes since getting on this dry food diet. If I give him anything high in omega oils he has a gulping fit. I have found that if he has a fit the best thing I can do is let him graze outside until he stops. This usually lasts 20-30 minutes of him just chomping grass or weeds and then he is ok. It’s better then him eating carpet and socks (he threw up multiple socks one day which was scary!) and hurting himself. This is a mystery Illness and it’s really trial and error in making them comfortable. 😕lexie MParticipant
hi ryan thank you so much for replying my dog is currently the midst of one of these mystery attacks. I read somewhere where somebody said that the grass would hurt them worse and it wouldn’t help so I haven’t been letting her the last two times and I’ve been watching to make sure she doesn’t eat carpet either. I keep hearing her stomach make all kinds of gurgling sounds sometimes she passes gas but not usually but I don’t know what to do I really don’t. Maybe I should start letting her go out and eat grass again when she wants to
It depends on whether your grass is treated with any chemicals for weeds or fertilizer. I don’t treat my backyard with anything and my dog is fine. It fills him up and calms whatever is going on down. But, go with your gut on whether you want to let your own pet do that. Just make sure there are no chemicals or that he isn’t eating grass close to a neighbors yard where chemicals could be. Good luck. It’s stressful so I know what you are going through and I’m so sorry. 😔
UPDATE to my post from 3/3/21: My dog’s licking, gulping episodes. hacking, along with tummy noises have pretty much completely stopped. Over the last 5 months, she has had a couple of episodes that lasted a couple of minutes. At that point I would let her go outside as it’s better to let her eat grass than what she can find indoors. Otherwise she’s been doing great!
So along with trial and error, and results from GI/barium study…The KEY things that has helped her are: 1. feeding her 3 small meals a day (versus 2 larger ones before); 2. no more essential oils, scented candles, scented laundry detergent, etc. 3. strict diet of her dog food (Fromm’s dry Duck mixed with a spoon or two of Purina ONE SmartBlend Tender Cuts in Gravy Chicken & Brown Rice or Purina ONE SmartBlend Tender Cuts in Gravy Lamb & Brown Rice as they are low in fat content), plain cooked chicken breast, Old Mother Hubbard dog biscuits treats, or dry dog biscuit for treats.
I had a barium/GI study done on her at the vet’s and was able to rule out any issues with how her food traveled from mouth through her GI tract…everything was normal. So that’s when I tried the three things listed above and it has been key to stopping the licking, gulping, etc, episodes.
What I’ve learned that can trigger her episodes are numerous things: eating too much at once, eating too fast, any food with higher fat content including all oil related supplements (fish oil, coconut oil, etc), fragrances. I’m also leery of any supplements for her at this point.
Bland is BEST; LESS is more. It took alot of trial and error, online research, vet visits, trying acid reflux medications, and reading all the helpful posts here too. When she has to take antibiotics from the vet, they can upset her tummy so he puts her on a pre-biotic he has at his office along with the antibiotic and it works great!
I forgot to add that at times my dog would also stop in the middle of eating and start hacking like something was stuck in her throat. So that was another thing the Barium/GI Study ruled out. Because it showed that her food was flowing normally thru to her digestive tract. Eating too fast for her system could have been the cause. Also I was thinking maybe her digestive process is on the slower side maybe…
Jane my one Chihuahua does that also. However, she is a food hog and gets so excited whenI put her bowl down and then eats way to fast. She does the honking sound. After a few seconds she calms down and goes back to eating.Florentina VParticipant
Hello everyone! I have been researching this topic for a while now, since my dog had his first “gulping crisis” which got us to the ER in the middle of the night. By reading most of the forums, the majority of owners were saying it’s a reflux problem, so after X-Rays, Ultrasounds and blood work that did not show a problem, we decided to go for an endoscopy. Well, it turns out my dog has Follicular Esophagitis, something which is basically very new, from what I understood, the terminology is not even registered yet, but it’s being used as the disease resembles Follicular Gastritis, with the difference that the lymphoid follicles are on the esophagus, not on the stomach like in the latter. To describe it, the esophagus is full of hard follicles which sometimes get more inflammated and they obviously bother the dog and causes the gulps. My dog does not respond to any reflux or acid related medication. We tried this for 2 months to see if there was any change (my dog was waking up a few times at night for a few seconds to lick and gulp and I was watching her all the time to see if she was getting better, but this did not cease). The only medication it reacted to is prednicortone, which my vet decided we should use for another 2 months to lower the inflammation. She immediately responded to it and slept through the whole night. Now I use Flixotide Spray with AeroDawg chamber, because together with my vet, we tried to find something that works long term, without all the side effects of an oral corticosteroid like prednicortone. I give her a daily small dose in the evening, when her sleeping hour approaches. I want to share some things I noticed and talked about with my vet, that may help you indentify if your dog has the same problem:
– the vet told me it is a very new disease, there is not much information you can find, he has only seen few cases and all of them are in the last year
– the gulps happen mostly at night. Most of the time they cease fast, but every now and then the dog may have a big crisis, it can’t sleep/rest, the licking is continuous and the gulping is very intense. At the ER, they gave her a shot of Prednisolone and Dexamethazone combined, which was a big help. Now, if I anticipate a crisis, I just give her an extra “puff” of Flixotide to inhale from the chamber and it seems to work very well
– my dog has atopic dermatitis (auto-immune disease). Researchers have discovered that having one kind of autoimmune disease can lead to another, so my vet told me the follicular esophagitis may be the result of an already flawed immune system
– I also have noticed that if I distract her, she ceases to gulp and gets right back to it when the distraction is over. But, I believe this is not the a solution, as the problem cannot be kept under control this way.
– my dog is on a restrictive diet for years due to the atopic dermatitis and does not eat other things. She is nowhere near essential oils, grass ( we have artificial grass). We tried splitting her meals/ not allowing her to eat in the evening in order to not go to bed with a full stomach. What I want to say is that I ruled out any factors that may have triggered the gulps. Nothing worked. I understand now it is an autoimmune disease and it is not triggered by external factors like the ones I mentioned.
Some of you said you were massaging the dog’s throat and I too have done that in the past. It seems it relaxes the throat and it helps improve blood flow and reduce tissue stiffness and pain, so that is why it works to relieve the dog. As I keep her condition under control now, there has been no need for me to do this anymore.
I really hope this helps! Talk to your vet if you’re getting concerned, maybe schedule an endoscopy if you feel your dog may have the same condition.
I wish your fur babies a happy, healthy and long life!
- This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Florentina V.
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