What is Burping?
Dogs will occasionally burp as a way of releasing excess gas from their gastrointestinal tract. Gas will form from the interaction of alkaline foods, or foods that have a high pH level, digestive enzymes and stomach acids. The gas that builds in the gastrointestinal tract will escape either as a burp or as flatulence. Aerophagia is the most common cause of why your dog is burping. This is simply when your dog swallows an excessive amount of air.
If your dog is burping only occasionally, you should not worry. When your dog is burping excessively, you will want to have them checked by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will examine your dog and perform diagnostic testing to determine if there is a medical condition that is causing your dog to burp excessively.
Possible causes of burping in your dog include:
- Excessive bacteria fermentation
- Acid reflux
- Gastrointestinal disease
- Dietary changes
- Gastric dilatation-volvulus
Book First Walk Free!
Why Burping Occurs in Dogs
Excessive Bacteria Fermentation
There are certain things that are in your dog’s food that they have difficulty digesting. These things include beans, peas, spices, soy, excess fat, pectin, lactose and spoiled foods. When your dog’s diet includes these things, you will notice they will become flatulent or will begin burping more often.
When your dog suffers from acid reflux, it is because the digestive enzymes and acid from the stomach enter into the esophagus. Your dog may gag or burp from this condition. This may be a chronic condition or an occasional condition.
Gastrointestinal disease occurs when your dog has a malabsorption or maldigestion disorder where unabsorbed or undigested foods remain stagnant in your dog’s intestinal tract. These foods then begin to ferment and cause gas that is released by burping or flatulence. Gastrointestinal disease can stem from cancer in the gastrointestinal tract, inflammatory bowel disease, overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, irritable bowel syndrome, internal parasites and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.
Your dog may develop an excess of gas if their diet has recently been changed. It is advised to change your dog’s diet slowly to avoid any gastrointestinal upset. Dogs that have dietary indiscretions, where they have gotten into things they should not be eating such as the garbage, can also experience gastrointestinal upset and begin burping more often.
Gastric dilatation-volvulus or bloat occurs when air is trapped in the stomach and food ferments. Your dog’s stomach is also distended. Burping can help alleviate bloat, but if the condition is severe enough, it can cause death. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from gastric dilatation-volvulus, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Aerophagia is simply the excessive swallowing of air. It will mainly occur when your dog gulps their food or water. Dogs that are only fed once a day or eat with other dogs will typically gulp their food and ingest abnormal amounts of air as they swallow. If you notice that your dog is burping mainly after eating or drinking, this may be the cause.
What to do if your Dog is Burping
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if your dog is burping from a normal response to the gas that has built up in the gastrointestinal tract or if there is an underlying condition that needs to be addressed. If you notice your dog is burping more often or it has become excessive, make an appointment with your veterinarian and talk to them about your concerns.
Depending on your veterinarian’s assessment, diagnostic tests may be ordered. If an underlying condition is found, your veterinarian will discuss the treatment options with you as well as prognosis.
Prevention of Burping
There are several ways you can help alleviate gas buildup within your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. One simple fix may be to change their diet. Look for a food that is highly digestible and is low in fat and fiber. Do make sure that your dog’s food does contain an acceptable amount of fiber for normal digestion. Avoid soy, dairy, peas and beans in your dog’s diet.
Feeding techniques can be altered including raised feeders and water bowls to reduce the amount of excess air being taken in. Some people suggest placing stones or large rocks in your dog’s food bowl to force your dog to slow down when eating. If using this technique, make sure that the stones or rocks are large enough that your dog cannot swallow them. If you have multiple dogs, feed them separately to avoid competitive eating and gulping of food.
Give your dog several small meals throughout the day to avoid the buildup of excessive gas and help them digest their food better. Try giving a small meal in the morning, afternoon and evening or even leaving your dog’s food down so they can eat when they want.
Cost of Burping
Depending on the exact cause of your dog’s burping and if it is associated with a medical condition, cost to diagnose and treat will vary significantly. Acid reflux is typically diagnosed and treated for around $900, unless surgery is required. Surgery to stop or minimize acid reflux can cost around $2,200. Treating bloat in your dog can range anywhere from $500 to $10,000 depending on the severity.