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! 🙂Laura LMember
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.Laura LMember
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!!
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