I recently adopted an older female Bichon Frise from the local shelter. She has been doing great and made the switch to a higher-quality kibble with no major issues. I recently finished her first bag of Wellness Core and now we are trying Dr Tim’s grain free. She has been getting Cloud Star’s sweet potato Buddy Biscuits crumbled for treats. We had an issue lately that prompted a trip to the vet… For a Halloween treat, I gave my girl a dehydrated rabbit foot from a local pet store. Their products come from a reputable company that sources and processes all of its ingredients in the US. After eating this rabbit foot [complete with fur], my girl stopped eating [and subsequently pooping] for a week straight. There was one incidence of some stuff moving through after the first night, but not really anything else. She wasn’t struggling and didn’t seem in pain. For the first few days she was a bit lethargic and wasn’t interested in toys, but after day 3 or so she seemed like her energy was back and she was drinking normally. I tried everything to get her to eat – moistened dry food, peanut butter, yogurt, warmed wet food, pumpkin, baby food, pedialyte, tuna, etc and she was barely even eating her favorite treats and would sometimes refuse her favorite human morsels outright. We were worried, so we went to the vet. Nothing obviously wrong during the physical and we didn’t want to spring for an xray because I doubted a blockage [and the vet seemed to want to see the rabbit’s foot even though I told him she chomped it up well]… So the vet recommended famotidine, the main ingredient in Pepcid. We were told to give a quarter every 12 hours for a week. Within an hour of her first dose she was eating kibble again [and she is not an enthusiastic eater, especially not for kibble]. We were so relieved – it appears our dog just has a problem with indigestion and/or heartburn. Her diet, eating habits and relieving are all back to normal now… but I find myself giving her a quarter of the acid controller [we bought the store brand] in the evening when she hasn’t eaten. It is pretty obvious that it works because she will start eating soon after that.
I am wondering if anyone else has this issue? Is it safe to give my dog the occasional Pepcid on a semi-regular basis? The acid controller we have at the moment includes the antacids calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide – are we over-supplementing her? Are those safe enough for dogs to have several times a month?
Are there some triggers or dietary changes that I may be able to implement to prevent my girl from developing heartburn in the future? Is her physiology responsible or perhaps the way she eats?
If anyone has any experience with doggie heartburn or some comments or suggestions, please respond. I’m so curious about this!
They are finding that with heartburn just the opposite approach is needed. Heartburn is not caused by too much acid. It is caused by the sphincter muscle at the top of the stomach not closing all the way. Older dogs(and people) tend to produce less acid in their stomach as they age. It is the acidity of the stomach that tells this muscle to contract. Many people have had great success with adding apple cider vinegar to their dogs meals, 1/2 teaspoon per cup of food. Using Bragg’s or some other ACV that still has the mother in it adds other benefits as well.
Thanks. I will definitely try that. I may have to add it to her water though, or to her frozen treats because she can be a little picky about what is in the food dish
. So the added antacids might not be helping, but they shouldn’t be hurting her either, right?
I forgot to mention that during her week of not really eating she was burping often and usually right after sniffing food or reluctantly taking a morsel or treat. She hasn’t been burping since we started giving her Pepcid.
Yes, they might be hurting. If she really needs more acid, then antacids are the opposite of what she needs. But you should be able to tell pretty quickly if the vinegar helps.
First off, thanks for adopting a senior dog! She is one lucky girl! Sorry to hear you’re having troubles.
I have been struggling with a similar issue with a dog we adopted in July, Quincy, a year-old cattle dog. While Quincy isn’t officially diagnosed, it is the best answer I’ve come up with for his symptoms (my vet is not concerned because he has never lost his appetite or shown other negative effects…he just swallows/gulps obsessively during an “attack”). His attacks will last multiple days once started, and seem to get worse due to a build up of gas from swallowing air (he will get bad gas and the belches after a day or so).
Patty, we tried Braggs and we were still having issues. Quincy gets 1 cup of Honest Kitchen mixed with almost two cups of water. I was adding a little over a tablespoon, was I adding too much? We did this almost every day for over a month.
We are now trying Pepcid (but I don’t want this to be a long term solution – I just needed a week or two to calm down and stop feeling defeated by this thing!). No major attacks, a little swallowing here and there. I don’t think it’s the miracle I was hoping for, so I will probably wean him off after he’s been on it for a week (he is 40lbs and gets half a tablet, 30 minutes before each meal).
He is definitely better since switching him to a wet food, on kibble he will have MAJOR attacks where he gulps until vomiting. The severity and frequency has decreased since August when we switched him to canned food. We also add a probiotic/enzyme to his food, but if anyone has a recommendation for a specific brand I would appreciate it!
I’ve read that smaller meals spaced out is best. I have hesitated to try this only because I don’t know if my job will always allow me to come home at work, but I will probably start trying that next week, since right now I work 5 minutes from home.
Good luck, it is very hard to watch them when they aren’t feeling good!
Yes, a tablespoon is probably a bit much, try for half that amount. Have you ever tried Gas x? Sometimes foods cause bubbles that won’t pop, so you feel the need to burp but can’t. Then you swallow air to try to make yourself burp, and end up making the problem worse. Gas x breaks the surface tension of the bubbles so the gas can come up easier.
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