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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18161
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My dog will suddenly start salivating and swallowing alot he

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My dog will suddenly start salivating and swallowing alot he will then get up and start retching and coughing. He is sometimes sick. He seems very uncomfortable and breath's heavily. Eating grass seems to settle things down and he will do this obsessively when he's bad. He is on a hypoanergenic diet and a probiotic and is fed little and often. What is going on?
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
I am very sorry to hear about your pup's discomfort, heavy breathing, eating grass , drooling, excessive swallowing, gagging, and sometimes vomiting.
Dogs with nausea or gastroesophageal acid reflux often eat grass to calm their stomach or make themselves vomit. They will often swallow repeatedly and lick things trying to soothe their nausea and acid burn. If they can rid themselves of whatever is irritating their stomach that way then all is good.
But when they are vomiting repeatedly and continue to be uncomfortable then we need to stop them from eating any more grass. It becomes a vicious cycle where the more they vomit the more their stomach acid burns their esophagus and the worse they feel.
Possible causes of vomiting and nausea causing grass eating include a change in diet, dietary sensitivities or allergies, or eating things that they should not like too many fatty table scraps or garbage, bones etc. Addison's which is a poorly functioning adrenal gland is another possibility for waxing and waning vomiting and nausea. Metabolic organ failure (kidney or liver disease), pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease or even infiltrative cancers are possible causes as well.
You can give him acid reducers to try and settle his stomach when he has these episodes. Either:
1) Pepcid-ac (famotidine) at a dose of one half of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 kilograms of body weight every 12 hours.
2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of one half of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 kilograms of body weight every 24 hours.
These will reduce stomach acid and should help settle his stomach. These can be used long term if necessary as they are very safe.
I'd also pick up his food and water for now. A couple hours after giving an acid reducer you can offer small amounts of water or ice cubes to lick. He's likely thirsty but we need to settle his stomach first.
No food for at least 12-24 hours. Small amounts of water only.
After his food fast then start a bland diet of 1/3 boiled, lean hamburger (or boiled, white, skinless chicken) and 2/3 boiled white rice. Give small meals several times a day. Feed the bland diet for several days, then start mixing in his regular diet and slowly convert him back.
If his vomiting or nausea continues then he may need injectable medication from his veterinarian to get his stomach upset under control.
So watch him for continued vomiting even with the acid reducers, blood in his stool or vomit or a fever (more than 103.5F rectally), a tense painful belly or lack of appetite after his food fast. If any of those occur it is time to seek hands on veterinary care.
Since this has been a repeated problem for him consider whether he has been getting different treats or lots of table food, and if so he should only be given his dog food, even as treats.
If you go back to the original food, stop table food and treats and his nausea continues even with the acid reducers, fast and bland diet then you may wish to consider using a using a low irritant food, like Hills i/d or Purina Veterinary Diets EN, or a hypoallergenic food such as Hills z/d or Purina Veterinary Diets HA long term. He may have a dietary allergy or a sensitive stomach.
It would also be a good idea to have blood tests done as well to make sure there isn't an underlying metabolic problem like pancreatitis or Addison's disease present.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
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