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What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous condition caused by the contents of the stomach repeatedly entering the esophagus and returning to the stomach. This can cause erosion of the tissues in the esophagus in addition to increasing risk of esophageal ulcers. It can be difficult to observe this condition in dogs, as it is an internal sensation not easily visualized by behavior. Clues to determining if your pet might have gastric reflux involve peripheral symptoms, like persistent bad breath, burping or burbling after meals, and occasional weak vomiting.

If your pet exhibits these symptoms, schedule a veterinarian visit as soon as possible. While acid reflux on its own may not be serious, the intrusion of acid can irritate the esophagus, leading to narrowing, thinning or even necrosis. Additionally, passive regurgitation can cause vomit to enter the lungs, where it can cause severe damage.

Acid reflux is the entry of acid and digestive enzymes from the stomach into the esophagus. This may be caused by abnormal weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter, improper emptying of the stomach, and obesity. Certain medication such as prednisone can also can also increase susceptibility to acid reflux.

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Acid Reflux Average Cost

From 42 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$900

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Symptoms of Acid Reflux in Dogs

  • Gurgling or burping sounds after eating
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Weak vomiting or coughing accompanied by small amounts of vomit.
  • Whining while eating
  • Eating a bit, demonstrating discomfort, then resuming eating.
  • Wheezing
  • Excessive salivation
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Causes of Acid Reflux in Dogs

  • Excessive production of acid in the stomach
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Eating inappropriate food (i.e. spicy human food)
  • Obesity
  • High blood calcium
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Diagnosis of Acid Reflux in Dogs

If you notice your pet struggling to eat meals, exhibiting pain or discomfort during and after eating, having persistent bad breath or gurgling, see the veterinarian right away. If left untreated, acid reflux can cause many additional complaints.

A veterinarian may want to listen to your dog’s chest after a feeding to identify whether acid reflux might be occurring. If acid reflux is suspected, an endoscopy may be done. Endoscopy involves sedating the dog and viewing the esophagus with a camera on a long, flexible scope. This allows any ulcers, inflammation or tumors to be visualized and identified. A hiatal hernia is often the culprit in cases of acid reflux in dogs, and is a structural defect characterized by the top of stomach protruding through the diaphragm where the esophagus alone is meant to go. This can weaken the ability of the esophagus to close and allow acid to invade the esophagus.

Obesity can also be a major culprit- the increased fat masses can constrict the gastroesophogeal space and force acid up the esophagus. High blood calcium, detectable with a small blood sample, may also be contributing to excessive production of stomach acid.

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Treatment of Acid Reflux in Dogs

The most widely employed treatment is to feed your pet several small meals throughout the day of easily-digestible food like plain boiled chicken, rice, and blanched broccoli. Kibble can induce acid reflux if given dry, so making a “cereal” out of kibble by adding a cup of water can help, but if the condition persists, switching to more hydrated food like chicken and broccoli is often helpful.

In rare cases surgical intervention may be required to correct serious hernias or ulcers. This will depend on the nature of the underlying condition and the severity of the presentation. It may be possible to perform the surgery endoscopically, which is minimally invasive and usually holds a swift recovery. Any anomalous growths should be biopsied and tested for cancer.

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Recovery of Acid Reflux in Dogs

Feeding your pet less food more frequently, managing weight in the case of obesity, and varying your pet’s diet with healthy alternatives is often curative. In the case of an ulcer or tumor, outlooks will vary based on the specific condition and treatment regimen. In general, acid reflux is a manageable, if occasionally uncomfortable condition. Your veterinarian may prescribe ranitidine to supplement these efforts, as ranitidine not only reduces acid but helps move stomach contents in the correct direction more quickly.

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Cost of Acid Reflux in Dogs

Treating acid reflux can be as simple as changing your dog’s food, or as major as surgery. Most veterinarians will recommend changing your dog’s diet to boiled chicken, rice, and/or blanched broccoli in order to sufficiently reduce the acid reflux. These meals should be given in small amounts throughout the day. The cost of these items will vary depending on your local grocery store prices. However, it would be wise to plan for a minimum of $20 per meal. If your veterinarian allows you to continue feeding normal kibble, adding water to make a “cereal” would make things easier. In this case there is no additional cost to the normal price of the kibble you already buy. There are cases where surgery is necessary. In these cases, the veterinarian can usually fix the problem endoscopically to check for hernias or ulcers. This surgery can cost $2,200 to $3,300. If there are any abnormal growths found then the veterinarian will biopsy them and test them for cancer. This can cost between $160 and $250. If cancer is found, the veterinarian will need to proceed with the appropriate cancer treatment which will vary in cost.

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Acid Reflux Average Cost

From 42 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$900

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Acid Reflux Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Rottweiler

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5 years old

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lip Licking

I give my dog Pepcid for acid reflux. Should I switch her over to a PPI or anH2 blocker? She has normal activity & weight and she never gets table scraps. She on a prescription diet of HIlls Multi-benefit and Purina EN. She had 4 colitis episodes when I got her 3 years ago so she was put on this diet.She has not had a colitis episode in 18 months.

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in my reply, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. Without knowing more about her, I cannot comment on which medication would be best for her. You may need to try different medications and see which ones work best for her. That would be something to work with your veterinarian on, as they are more familiar with her situation.

Oct. 19, 2020

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Red heeler/chihuahua mix

dog-age-icon

Some months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Wheezing, Burping, Weak

My dog doesn't look like himself. He's weak and he looks like he's going to throw up, but its just air that comes out.

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello so sorry to hear about your dog. If your dog is a puppy we worry about parvovirus and he needs to see a vet soon. You can try a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice but from the way that you are describing your dog's condition, I am really worried that something more serious is going on and he needs to see a vet right away.

Sept. 25, 2020

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Shih tzu poodle

dog-age-icon

Two Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Regurgitation, Air Licking, Coughing, Grass Eating

Hello, My dog has been vomiting/regurgitating for the last 12 hours. I’ve take her to the vet and they can visibly see nothing wrong with her (no visible foreign body). They suspect she’s having an acid reflux attack. They gave her an anti-nausea injection and a medicine to coat her throat before eating. However, this was over 7 hours ago and I have not seen any improvement in her condition. If there something I can do to settle her? I’ve seen so many suggestions like withholding food, giving low protein meals, pumpkin etc. I just don’t know what to do! She’s never had this before

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello- I’m sorry your pet is not feeling well. If she is continuing to have episodes of regurgitation I would recommend returning to your veterinarian or taking her to a veterinary ER and considering hospitalization with IV fluids and IV supportive care medications.They can recheck x-rays to make sure nothing has changed and perform blood work to assess organ function. When pets are vomiting IV fluids can help with their dehydration and the IV medications tend to work better than oral medications when they aren’t tolerating oral medications. I hope she feels better soon!

Aug. 2, 2020

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Labrador Retriever

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1.5 Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Acid Reflux

When my dog was about 2-3 months old the vet had diagnosed her with acid reflux. They said she was going too long between meals and I was to give her a milk bone before bed to help her stomach at night. I did this for awhile, but then she was starting to throw up a yellow bile in the middle of the day as well so I started to open feed her which she does really well with and we’ve had less episodes of the puking. She is about a year and 7 months now and still pukes the bile here and there, but it’s usually because she didn’t eat much that day. My concern now is it’s a little pink in color.

July 19, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question . If she has not eaten anything that would explain the color change, that might be blood tinged, and there may be a problem with chronic esophagitis. She may need to be on some antacids, and it would be a good idea to have her seen by your veterinarian so that they can examine her and see what might be going on. They will be able to recommend medications for her to help with the problem. I hope that she is okay.

July 19, 2020

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Charlie Bear

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Shorkie Tzu

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Runny Nose
Burping
Eating Grass
Licking Lips
Hacking
Vomiting Yellow Bile
Horse Bark

Charlie has been throwing up yellow bile since she was a few months old, between 5-6 in the morning she would need to get up and either just throw up or go eat grass to make herself do it. Then she started verping (throw up burp) I can smell it on her breath. Unless I keep something in her stomach she will do this. I have has to switch her food many times due to allergies, then kidney stones. Now we are dealing with the acid stuff finally. I have her on a really good food for the kidney stones and I had blood work and x-rays done so far with a clean bill of health yet she still wakes in the middle of the night in pain. I am just afraid the acid has done more harm than I know. I have an apt for a consult to get an endoscopy done. Hoping that will show something, but the challenge is the allergies, kidney stones with the GERD, no one makes a combo food for all that. :(

Aug. 28, 2018

Charlie Bear's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

It seems that a consult for an endoscopy is a good idea for Charlie, given her combination of signs and issues. Until you have the results from the endoscopy, you are doing all that you can. One would hope that the endoscopy will give some answers as to what the underlying problem is for her.

Aug. 28, 2018

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Coal

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

21 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing
Separation Anxiety
Burping
Bad Breath
Smacking Lips

I think my dog may have acid reflux. Our vet said he had mild bronchitis, but his symptoms are ongoing, even after medication was given. His temperament is normal. He is a lab, so he inhales his food. We got him a slow feeder to help with the burping, and started feeding him in smaller quantities more frequently. If anyone has any advice on this, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Rocky

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Keeshond

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Vomiting
Nausea

My 9 year old dog was vomiting bile for over a month. We had multiple tests done that ended with an ultrasound indicating his stomach lining was thickened and his lymph nodes enlarged. We have him on anti-nausea and omeprazole pills. He appears to have loss of appetite (licks his lips often) and only chews his food (spit it out before swallowing). He lost a lot of weight but yet runs around the yard chasing squirrels, his dog toys, etc. Does acid reflux cause weight loss? What would an ultrasound show that could help diagnose a gastric problem?

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Diesel

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Boxer

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Gagging
Drooling
Burping
Eating Grass
Throwing Up Bile

My Boxer is 7 now and on & off for the last 2 years he’s wanted to randomly eat grass. All symptoms point to acid reflux, have tried many different foods, raw diets, splitting meals into smaller more frequent feedings but the symptoms persist. Sometimes it doesn’t happen for a number of days with no changes in diet then they come back. Haven’t done the endoscope procedure yet. Is it worth doing at this point? Is Pepcid OK to give regularly?

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Bear

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Golden Retriever

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting, Diarrhea, Loss Of Appetite

My 6 year old golden retriever began throwing up blood about2 weeks ago. We took him to the vet immediately, they performed an x ray, it showed he had a mass. We then took him to an animal hospital, where they performed an ultrasound. The vet said he had an ankle sock in his lower intestine and would need surgery to remove it. He was admitted overnight, with the surgery scheduled for the next morning. Once they performed the surgery, they found no sock. The vet informed me that in his notes, he had an episode of diarrhea at about 1:30 am the night he was in their care. So, he received this surgery, 16 staples, all for nothing. Since his surgery, he has barely eaten, and throws up daily. He's on multiple medications. His vomit is yellow liquid, almost looks like urine. We have cut back on many of his meds, since the vet said this could be causing the lack of appetite and vomiting. We had his staples removed yesterday, 2 of them are still in him because the skin grew over top. I am worried to death that my dog is dying. The animal hospital doesn't seem too concerned with any of this. We now have him on prilosec, the vet thinks the vomiting could be GERD related. Any advice on what to do? I don't want to wait if doing something else now could save my dog.

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Ella

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

11 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Salivation
Salivation,Swallowing
Hypersalivation,Swallowing
Hypersalivation, Swallowing

My 11 year old lab mix was diagnosed with Acid reflux 6 weeks ago and started on Omeprazole but 2 days later she was also having black stools and spitted some blood. So she was started on sucralfate qid and her omeprazole was increased to bid. I have also had her on home-cooked meals with low protein and low fiber. The bleeding has stopped but when she lays down, especially overnight, she has a lot of hypersalivation and major reflux (I wonder if she has a loose pyloric sphincter..she is not obese, just 6-7 lbs overweight). so I have also added Ranitidine 75g at bed time....She had surgery last year to remove hepatocellular carcinoma mass on her liver (liver intact) and her spleen was also removed due to a mass on it that turned out not to be cancer. Oncologist did not recommend any treatments as she believed that this is a very slow growing cancer. for her GERD, endoscopy has been recommended but since I will not put her through surgery again, I decided that the results of an expensive procedure would not change the treatment plan. I asked her vet if she could be treated for H.Pylori. She consulted with a dog GI specialist and was told that dogs don't get H.Pylori??. Do you think it would be worth treating her clinically for a possible Helicobacter infection? Thanks in advance for your response.

Acid Reflux Average Cost

From 42 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$900

Protect yourself and your pet. Compare top pet insurance plans.

Compare Pet Insurance & Wellness Plans

Save up to $273 per year

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