Acid Reflux Treatment Guide

Dog nutritionist approved
Ready for immediate download
Overview of dog acid reflux
Dietary guidelines to help manage your dog’s acid reflux
Comes complete with Elimination Diet Recipe


Acid Reflux Treatment Guide

Dog nutritionist approved
Ready for immediate download
Overview of dog acid reflux
Dietary guidelines to help manage your dog’s acid reflux
Comes complete with Elimination Diet Recipe


What is dog acid reflux?

If your dog suffers from dog acid reflux, you’ll know how distressing it can be. That’s where my Dog Acid Reflux Treatment Guide can help.

If you’re a sufferer yourself, you’ll be all too aware of the discomfort of acid reflux. What we human beings commonly refer to as heartburn.

In dogs it’s known as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, or GERD for short. It’s a chronic (long-term) condition in which stomach acids (gastric fluids) flow up from the stomach to the oesophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.

Normally, a valve called the lower oesophageal sphincter prevents this reverse flow of gastric fluids. In the case of dogs with GERD however, these stomach acids pass through this sphincter and enter the oesophagus which in turn triggers the reflux reaction.

GERD is most commonly found in brachycephalic breeds. Flat-faced breeds that have a shorter oesophagus than most dogs. Breed like Pugs and both English and French Bulldogs. That said, the disease can occur in any breed of dog.

Symptoms of dog acid reflux

Unfortunately, your dog can’t tell you when he or she is suffering from dog acid reflux. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t signs that point to your dog suffering from GERD. While some of these signs are confusingly similar to other canine health problems, they generally include:

Difficulty swallowing
Licking the lips or the air
Decreased (or perhaps even increased) appetite
Bad breath from something other than dental problems
Empty swallowing
Retching, burping or gagging
Change of voice – change in tone of bark
Chronic (persistent) coughing or wheezing
Appearance of discomfort such as hunched up back, particularly after eating
Pacing or restlessness (particularly at night)
Lethargy – reluctance to move
Vomiting bile and undigested food
Grinding teeth
Weight loss

In addition to the above symptoms, these gastric fluids can cause inflammation, irritation, and eventually even damage to the oesophageal lining (oesophagitis). This can result in ulcers and even necrosis of the oesophagus. That’s why it’s imperative to address this condition as soon as possible!

Regurgitation is a further common symptom. Here one needs to differentiate between regurgitation and vomiting, because they are by no means one and the same thing.

Vomiting is a physical act. You will notice your dog’s abdomen heaving when he or she is vomiting. With regurgitation however, there is no physical reaction from your dog’s body. Its food will simply spill out of its mouth.

Incidentally, not all dogs suffering from acid reflux will regurgitate. That’s why it’s so important to watch for some of the other more subtle signs of the disease listed above!

The importance of acid in your dog’s gut

Acid is essential to your dog’s digestive process. The acid in your dog’s gut helps break down dietary proteins. It also assists with the absorption of nutrients, helps eliminate bacteria and viruses and prevents the over abundant growth of the fungus associated with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Interestingly from the point of a canine nutritionist, your dog’s acid reflux could be the result of either too much or too little acid (hypochlorhydria) in its stomach. In fact more often than not, it’s the latter that causes canine acid reflux. Too little acid. Too little acid to enable your dog’s digestive system to break down, digest, and pass food quickly on to its next port of call in the digestive process. Your dog’s small intestines. Instead, it sits there, irritates your dog’s stomach and causes the negative reaction we know as regurgitation.

So acid suppressant drugs (antacids) may not necessarily be the answer for your dog. This may help to explain why, all too frequently, vet-prescribed antacids don’t make your dog’s acid reflux any better. They’re trying to fix the wrong problem!

And there’s worse. To add insult to injury as it were, suppression of stomach acid has been associated with bone fractures and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The resultant poor overall gut health can also be associated with a great many other dog health problems like allergies, autoimmune disease, arthritis and, of course, cancer!

Why dogs suffer from acid reflux

There are number of known causes of dog acid reflux. These include:

Stress. Stress can slow down the digestive process. When this happens, it can result in the digestion slowing down. Food staying in the stomach for longer than usual rather than proceeding quickly to the small intestine. This in turn can trigger a regurgitation response in a dog prone to acid reflux.
Poor diet. Dry commercial dog food (kibble) is a most unnatural way to feed your dog. It’s an unnatural and unhealthy way to feed any dog – even a healthy one. If you feed your dog kibble, take one look at it. Better still, pick up a handful and roll it around in your hand.
Now imagine the struggle even the healthiest dog is likely have processing that. It’s easy to see why a dog with a tendency towards acid reflux might have its condition worsened by such an unpalatable diet!
Underlying health problems. Anatomical/structural abnormalities can also result in canine acid reflux. Unlike many of the natural suggestions in this dog acid reflux treatment guide, these with definitely require veterinary intervention.
These abnormalities include the likes of a hiatal hernia (diaphragmatic hernia) and dysfunctional lower oesophageal sphincter. They also include misalignment of the body impairing the vagus nerve, misalignment of the elbow or wrist leading to tension in the neck, and loss of mobility.
Food sensitivities. Food allergies, intolerances or sensitivities can result in acid reflux. Anything that creates a less friendly environment within your dog’s digestive system can cause or exacerbate the condition.
Antibiotics. Antibiotic drugs that destroy your dog’s microbiome. The good bacteria in its gut.
Microbiome imbalance – yeast overgrowth, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), parasites.
Obesity. Being overweight.
Over or under production of stomach acid.
Other diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), pancreatitis and liver disease
Poor gut immunity and nutritional deficiencies.

Conventional treatment of dog acid reflux

Once your vet has diagnosed gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, you then need to look at dog acid reflux treatment. Your vet will no doubt recommend a so-called prescription diet for your dog. The standard veterinary response it seems to just about any canine health problem because it’s what today’s vets have been trained to do.

He or she will also no doubt prescribe antacid medication such as omeprazole. Medication designed to decreased stomach acidity. This is the typical veterinary response, dealing with the symptoms rather than the cause of your dog’s health problem. It won’t stop your dog’s acid reflux, simply limit the damage and pain response. Temporarily!

The conventional veterinary treatment for acid reflux as outline above is flawed. It will attempt to deal with the symptoms. Unfortunately, the cause will still remain. Medication is not the solution to your dog’s acid reflux and comes with some serious long-term implications.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole, drugs that inhibit gastric acid production, are amongst the most commonly prescribed drugs for dogs worldwide. And yet they come with some potentially serious side-effects. As previously mentioned, there is the potential for an increase in bone fractures as the result of malabsorption of calcium. Autoimmune disease and stomach cancer
can also result in the long-term use of the likes of omeprazole.

For a more holistic and natural approach to your dog’s condition, please book a consultation!



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