Can Dogs Get Heartburn?

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A big meal. An unhealthy choice or two. A night out on the town with friends. Or, just foods you love, but which hate your body can give it to you. Heartburn. You know that burning sensation and uncomfortable feeling that leaves you sitting upright watching television late at night because lying down is painful. If you haven’t had heartburn, you are really lucky, eating really well, or just waiting to enter that stage in your life.

Just as with people, acid reflux in dogs is often attributed to a change in diet or an unusual meal. But it is just as uncomfortable to your dog as it is to you, and could it potentially cause other issues?

Can Dogs Get Heartburn?

YES!

Just as with people, dogs can also eat meals that do not sit well. They can also have stomach acids pushed into the esophagus causing discomfort and pain. Just as with humans, if your dog is suffering from heartburn, he may need to be seen by his doctor to ensure there are no other issues causing heartburn.

Does My Dog Have Heartburn?

Because your dog cannot communicate his pain and problems to you, you should notice some telltale signs of heartburn if your dog is suffering.

 

  • Listless after meals

  • Loss of appetite

  • Vomiting after meals

  • Whining while eating

  • Interest in food but not eating

You can learn more about acid reflux in your dog here

How Do I Treat My Dog’s Heartburn?

It’s best to see your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has heartburn. There could be underlying issues your dog is dealing with, such as a damaged esophagus or sphincter muscle. In the meantime, you can provide some comfort to your dog.

Restrict your dog’s meals until the veterinarian can see him. Be sure not to give your dog any people foods, and make sure they are drinking plenty of water but not so much they vomit.

Your veterinarian can prescribe medications to ease pain and discomfort. He will also want to check your dog for esophageal problems which may need immediate attention.

How is Heartburn Similar in Dogs and Humans?

Dogs can get heartburn just as humans get heartburn. Because it’s the same process, stomach acid rising to the esophagus, it is just as uncomfortable for dogs as it is for humans. You may see your dog experiencing the same discomfort as well.

 

  • Inability to sit still

  • Restless

  • Belching

How is Heartburn Different in Dogs and Humans?

Though the reasons behind heartburn could differ, your dog could be experiencing heartburn for the same reasons people experience heartburn. Foods your dog is not used to could trigger heartburn, but internal esophageal damage could also cause this issue. Other than how your dog is diagnosed based on your dog’s inability to communicate with you, dogs and people both deal with heartburn in similar ways.

Case Study

A simple case which didn’t require any medical attention beyond a quick check up with the veterinarian involves a dog who ate too much people food left out on his owner’s counters. This dog, a mastiff who grazed the counter for food every chance he got, got more than he bargained for when he ate chicken and peppers left sitting on the counter as the family was in a different room.

That big, lovable mastiff spent that evening in pain and discomfort. His owners noticed he was unable to sit still and vomited later. This pup’s heartburn wasn’t severe and didn’t last very long. As a result of a large unhealthy meal, this pup had an entire evening of discomfort his vet said was very much like the heartburn we feel after a meal too large to process, causing stomach acid to build up and rise.