Why Dog Heartburn Rubs Fido the Wrong Way

May 17, 2021

What do you do when you’ve got a little bit of your last meal coming back to say, “Hello!” after you’ve eaten? You may grasp your chest, hold your breath and hope that throw-up feeling goes away. And even though our dogs can’t tell us so, that’s likely what they’re trying do do when they suffer from dog acid reflux. Dogs do get acid reflux, also known as canine GERD (canine Gastroesophogeal reflux disease) and they don’t like tasting this morning’s breakfast twice any more than you do.

What is canine acid reflux?

Canine Acid Reflux, or dog heartburn is really the same that it is in humans. It’s where the stomach acid in your stomach (or your dog’s stomach) flows back through their esophagus. Typically, food goes down the esophagus, gets digested and goes out the poop end. But, when your dog has GERD, his stomach acid revolts and goes back up through the same tube. This is can burn, as acid is known to do, and that’s where the term dog heartburn comes from (though they’ve never told us directly it burns).In dogs who don’t have GERD, a valve called the lower esophageal sphincter will stop the reverse flow of stomach acid. If your dog has acid reflux, though, the sphincter doesn’t work and the acid flows back.Just as you’d imagine, as it likely does for you if you’ve ever experienced heartburn, the stomach acid in your dog’s esophagus is irritating and can cause esophagitis (esophageal irritation).

What are the symptoms of dog GERD?

If you suspect your dog has acid reflux, you’re probably noticing him licking his lips a lot and maybe snapping his jaws like he’s got something stuck in his mouth. For many, they think their dog has something stuck in their throat and is desperately trying to get it out, and in a way, that’s exactly what’s happening. Other symptoms of canine GERD are:

  • Lethargy
  • Licking air
  • Dry heaves
  • Eating grass or leaves
  • Droolling
  • Vomiting
  • Bad breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Whining after meals

What causes GERD in dogs?

In order to have an official diagnosis of GERD in dogs, a vet will likely do an endoscopy. They’ll also look to be sure there are no hiatal hernias (formed at the opening of the diaphragm where the esophagus meets the stomach) because similar symptoms may occur.

Sometimes your vet will use an esophagram x-ray. They’ll have your dog do a barium swallow while they do so to look for ulcers or any issues with a narrow esophagus.

If your dog is diagnosed with dog acid reflux or dog GERD, your vet will likely tell you to work on modifying their diet. Why’s that? Because as you suspected, dog GERD is often the result of poor dog gut health.

What causes heartburn in dogs?

There’s nowhere near the research done on canine acid reflux as there is on human GERD, but the general gist of what causes acid reflux in dogs is similar.

When your dog’s stomach acids and/or other gastrointestinal fluids (bile, pepsin) backflow into the esophagus, he’s suffering from reflux.

He may be overproducing stomach acids and they just force themselves back out or he may not be producing enough (this is called dog hypochlorhydria) and believe it or not, too little stomach acid can cause dog GERD.

Your dog may have an anatomical situation with his lower esophageal sphincter preventing the stomach acid from coming back out but all-too-often, acid reflux in dogs is a sign of dysbiosis in dogs. This is where your dog’s gut is imbalanced.

He has an unhealthy microbial imbalance and it makes it harder for his digestive system to digest food he eats. This means that there may be an imbalanced production of stomach acid (either too much or too little) and that can cause acid reflux in dogs.

Additionally, your dog may not be getting or producing enough digestive enzymes to digest his food properly. This happens because the process used to make dog food (even some homemade dog foods) simply kills the natural digestive enzymes found in food due to heat. This too will cause him to have an imbalance of stomach acid that can result in dog GERD.

Think of added digestive enzymes like superpowers that make your dog’s food turn into just the right nutrition he needs. Too little and he won’t be getting maximum nutrition and his unhealthy gut may result in canine acid reflux.

How can Bernie’s Perfect Poop help acid reflux in dogs?

Bernie’s Perfect Poop is a premium combination of ingredients that are designed to help build good dog gut health. The digestive enzymes in Perfect Poop will aid your dog’s digestion and ensure that he’s not over or underproducing stomach acids in the digestion process. Say goodbye to stinky dog breath forever.

Additionally, the blend of pre- and probiotics contained in Bernie’s Perfect Poop will help balance your dog’s gut. Good dog gut health means a digestive system that is free of dysbiosis and dysfunction.

When your dog’s gut health is prioritized, you’re also prioritizing his overall health and immunity. If your dog has suffered from dog GERD for a while, there may be esophageal damage as well.

The fiber, pre- and probiotics and digestive enzymes in Perfect Poop will ensure your dog’s digestive process is optimal, and help in healing his esophagus and his gut. The better his digestive system, the less acid reflux he’s likely to suffer and the happier you BOTH are not worrying about what might come back up.

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