Dog Gastroesophageal Reflux
Acid reflux is a common medical condition in dogs. It occurs when the dog’s lower esophagus sphincter, which is a small valve in the esophagus, doesn’t work properly. This natural valve opens up when the dog is consuming food to let the food pass into the stomach. However, if for some reason, the sphincter doesn’t function properly, it may open after the food has passed on to the stomach. In such a case, the food passes back into the esophagus and carries with it digestive enzymes and other gastric juices.
When this happens, the dog experiences a burning sensation in the chest. The acids from the stomach can irritate or burn the lining of the esophagus. The lining of the stomach is such that the acids cannot harm it. However, the same cannot be said about the lining of the esophagus.
Acid reflux in dogs is usually caused when the dog eats a very heavy meal, or a meal rich in fatty acids, right before going to sleep. Such a meal causes pressure to build inside the stomach and this causes the sphincter to open up. Normally, when the esophagus is healthy, it can withstand pressure up to a certain point. However, the pressure may mount and the aggressive gastric juices may enter into the esophagus and subsequently the mouth. A healthy and balanced diet can help make sure that your dog does not experience this problem. Another way to avoid acid reflux is to make sure that there is some gap between the dog’s dinner and bed time.
For treating acid reflux in dogs at home, the best treatment is to give antacids. These can help neutralize stomach acids so that the esophagus does not get very irritated. If the problem is severe, take the dog to a vet. The vet will prescribe medication for acid reflux in dog. The vet will prescribe some H2 blockers which can help block the acids from being generated.
Though there are many other medications that can be prescribed for dogs, it is best to avoid them since they can only provide temporary relief and have many side effects. Some of these medicines that the vet may prescribe for your dog include cimetidine and bismuth subsalicylate. Both of these help in reducing the discomfort caused by the burning sensations. These will also help reduce the nausea caused due to the acid reflux. The veterinarian can tell you the exact dosages of such medicines.