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acid reflux? Licking, swallowing, belching at night

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

  
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Koorazh

You can't catch- me!
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 13, '10 3:34am PST 
Koorazh started having bouts of licking, swallowing, belching, and breathing heavily at night about a month ago. He eats California Natural chicken kibble and Wysong wet food, both grain free. He gets a bully stick and sometimes a Blue Dog Bakery cookie (which has grain) as a treat. I took him to the vet, who checked his mouth and teeth and saw nothing wrong with him. I tried feeding him only wet food. It was worse. I tried feeding him only the dry food. I stopped his cookie and bully stick. I tried taking up his food at 6 pm (he free feeds) so that his stomach would be empty at night. Finally, on the recommendation of the vet, I gave him a Pepcid last night. Made no difference. Last night he had two bouts of the licking, swallowing, and breathing heavily. He doesn't seem to do this during the day. I'm running out of ideas. This seemed to have a very sudden onset.
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joey

I'm working on- three toys!
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 13, '10 6:08am PST 
I don't know if I can help, but just wanted to say that I have a similar problem, although less so, with Joey. He swallows a lot, especially at night. He doesn't belch or breathe heavily, but he has always licked a lot (his paws and anything he can on me!) and always swallows a lot after eating or chewing anything. Sometimes at night, he'll sit up, stretch his neck, sit there for a second, and then lie back down. The vet recommended omneprazole (sorry, this is mispelled, I think - but it's the generic for a very common acid reducer for frequent heartbearn - Prilosec I think). Vet also suggested trying a small amount of food right before bed in case the length of time between eating (from 5pm to 8am) was too long and acid was building up in his stomach. I tried both with limited success, but I am currently trying that again for two weeks.

You might want to try the Pepcid (or Prilosec) for more than just one night, make sure he's not overeating (can cause stomach upset), and try the snack before bed time for a couple nights. Also, I didn't think Cal Nat made a truly grain-free kibble. (Doesn't it have barley or rice in it? Not sure. I feed half canned Cal Nat, which IS completely grain-free). I would be careful about changing foods too soon, since that that can cause stomach upset, which is obviously not what you want here! I don't know about the swallowing, but I know if I change food with Joey (who I think has food allergies), I have to make the change very slowly or else he licks his paws even more. I suppose it's also possible that Koorazh might also have developed an intolerance to chicken, since it's a common allergan for dogs.

Last night I looked at Joey's gums, and there's a blackish spot where one of his canines hits the gum. I don't know if that's normal (he never let me look in his mouth much before), but I was planning to ask the vet about it, along with whether a tooth cleaning is a good idea. I would think that gum disease could cause excess salivation and swallowing if there's infection there. In your case, the belching certainly sounds like there's some kind of digestive thing going on, so I'd focus more on that (and what foods you feed) rather than the teeth/gum angle. By the way, I simply use cooked sweet potato or sometimes a tiny bit of kibble (Nat Balance) for a treat, since I've always suspected Joey might have food allergies.

I have googled excess swallowing a lot and the things that usually come up are acid reflux or nausea (or any digestive system upset) and tooth/gum problems. There are also mentions of various problems of the esophagus, but those usually apply to dogs that have trouble swallowing. I think Joey can swallow correctly, since he never regurgitates, so I don't think that's his problem.

Good luck, and please let me know if and when you get this figured out!

Edited by author Sat Mar 13, '10 6:23am PST

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Lily

Whose bed?? Why- would YOU think- that?
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 13, '10 9:59am PST 
Free feeding could be his problem. If he eats more food before his first meal is digested totally, then the new amount needs more stomach acid released. Try feeding him two meals a day with no snacks for a few days. He needs to digest one meal before anything else comes along.
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Tuvok

Toovy Doovy Doo- Ready and- Willing!
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 13, '10 6:50pm PST 
I've found that overfeeding will cause problems with indigestion and gas.

Find a food with a higher calorie content so you can feed your dog less and split it up between two meals a day.
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Koorazh

You can't catch- me!
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 14, '10 5:31am PST 
Thanks! He doesn't eat a lot -- the vet says he is a perfect weight, so overeating is not the problem. If left to free feed, he usually does effectively eat two meals a day. He gets a can of wet food, and then he mostly turns to his dry food right before bed time to "backfill." I've tried restricting him to two meals a day, and making sure that the second meal is at least three hours before bed time. This seems to help some, but hasn't resolved the problem. Pepcid doesn't seem to be doing anything at all. Some foods are definitely worse than others, but nothing seems to be perfect.

We had a horrible night last night, when I effectively gave up and let him go back to eating his main meal of kibble right before bed time, and let him eat Instinct, which he prefers. No sleep for either one of us. So going to try rice and boiled hamburger for today, no food after 6 pm, and see where that lands us.
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joey

I'm working on- three toys!
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 14, '10 8:23am PST 
Instinct is great food, but awfully high protein and a lot of things in it. Maybe there's something in there that disagrees with him and/or it's just too high in protein. If you make hamburger and rice, I'd use a lot of rice and not too much hamburger, just in case the high protein didn't agree with him - especially if he's used to California Natural, which has much less protein.

Edited by author Sun Mar 14, '10 8:23am PST

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Kali earned- her wings- 10/21/14

She's game for- anything that's- fun.
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 14, '10 6:05pm PST 
Does he gulp his food down? If he does, you can slow him down by putting a fairly large ball in his bowl, big enough so he can't swallow it and small enough so he can eat around it. I would also keep him quiet for at least 2 hours before and after he eats. Kali had/has the same problem. Most of it was her food, so we changed it to California Natural Herring & Sweet potato. Between the food, ball and being quiet, that has all helped.
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Koorazh

You can't catch- me!
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 15, '10 11:59am PST 
Thanks! No, because he's usually free fed, and he's never been that excited about kibble, I would say it is more stoic munching than gulping. Last night was our first on rice and boiled burger; it was an improvement. I'm going to keep him on rice and burger two more days and see where we are.
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Shellie - *RIP*

Oooh....Shiny!
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 15, '10 8:11pm PST 
I would say something in his food is upsetting his tummy. I know my hubby has a very sensitive stomach and has to watch what he eats or gets a gassy tummy which can cause nausea. He knows what ingredients set him off...garlic for one, there could be an ingredient in his food that is upsetting his tummy. You might want to check into feeding a different food that has a different protein source/ingredients in it. I know Shellie has reflux if she doesn't eat at least 2 times a meal on a regular schedule 7am and 7pm otherwise she will puke. I also give her cookies during the day so she has something in her tummy.
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Koorazh

You can't catch- me!
 
 
Barked: Tue Mar 16, '10 3:55am PST 
We just had our second night after a day of three meals of rice and boiled burger, and he had two licking episodes at night. I'm not getting sleep, but I don't want to boot him out of the bedroom because I'm afraid I won't know what is going on with him. He licks and smacks and then swallows. The belching could be air that he has swallowed coming back up. It lasts five or more minutes, and he does it every few seconds. It's a new behavior; started abruptly this past month.

Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree . . . (so to speak). He doesn't do this during the day, his appetite is fine, his stool is fine, his energy levels are fine . . . otherwise I'd take him in for the grand workup . . .

Maybe it's like sleep walking . . . .?
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