Think acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) just happens to people? It also happens to dogs and Karlie was one of those that suffered from it. If your dog gags or coughs after eating or drinking, licks her lips, vomits bile, is restless, has a stomach that gurgles, or has difficulty swallowing she may be suffering from it.
What is it?
Acid reflux is the flow of stomach acid into the esophagus and back into the stomach. It often results in a burning in the chest (heartburn). A more serious form is GERD, which involves frequent heartburn. Some of the causes are obesity, eating spicy or fatty foods, hiatal hernia, high blood calcium, and excessive production of stomach acid. Many dogs suffering from geriatric onset laryngeal paralysis polyneuropathy (GOLPP) also have issues with acid reflux or GERD.
Unfortunately, treating it can be challenging. For us it involved a lot of trial and error. Some of the things that help are making sure your dog is not overweight, feeding a low fat diet, and feeding several small meals instead of one or two large meals. Medication may also be needed and should be done under the supervision of your veterinarian. What worked for Karlie was five small meals a day with the last one just before bed, including mashed sweet potatoes, squash, or pumpkin in her daily meals, feeding her a fresh meat-based food, and using some medicine prescribed by her veterinarian. We also tried using slippery elm, which is a natural remedy. This worked when Karlie was eating well. During the periods when she was not it became too difficult to administer because it must not be given within two hours of any other meds or supplements.