Pet owners may be shocked to walk into the pet store only to realize that there is little help when it comes to antacids for dogs. Much like us humans, dogs can also suffer from painful bouts of acid reflux that can cause a noticeable difference in their activity levels and behavior. It can be a little frightening for a pet owner to know that their dog may be suffering from acid reflux and not understanding how to control it. If this sounds like you then take a look at the following tips for identifying and treating heartburn in dogs.
Symptoms of Heartburn in Dogs
Before you search for antacids for dogs, you must first determine whether your dog is exhibiting the symptoms of acid reflux. We humans experience telltale heartburn that may lead to coughing, vomiting, and stomach upset. For your dog, the symptoms are often the same although they may be a little more difficult for you to pick up on. Dogs are instinctively good at hiding an illness, as dog packs in the wild would often leave sick or injured dogs. Eventually, you might start to notice your dog acting a little differently, such as eating less than usual or refusing to eat at all. He might also appear to lose weight and fail to show interest in the activities that he used to love, such as running or playing fetch. Your dog may exhibit random gagging noises, appear to be in pain when he swallows, or he may physically vomit. If your dog experiences uncharacteristic drooling or begins to run a fever, these could be signs that your dog has severe heartburn. Antacids for dogs can usually alleviate most symptoms, however severe heartburn may be harder to eliminate.
Know When to Call the Vet
The odd case of heartburn is most likely to crop up in a dog that has recently experienced a change in diet. For instance, a dog who has recently been given table scraps (especially those that are fried, fatty, or heavily spiced). Dogs who sometimes raid through the trash are also likely to experience bouts of heartburn. If you overfeed your dog in one meal or feed him too frequently then he may also experience heartburn as a result. In most cases a trip to the veterinarian is not necessary as you can help relieve your dog’s symptoms by giving him antacids. For dogs, there is the chance of having a loose lower esophageal sphincter, as is a possibility with humans, which will result in frequent cases of heartburn and long-term signs like weight loss and loss of appetite. If your dog seems to be experiencing severe signs of heartburn or if he has had chronic heartburn for a few months, then it might be time to call his veterinarian. If other signs are present, such as blood in the stool, inability to move, or sudden fatigue then you should definitely take your dog to the vet as these could be signs of a serious underlying condition.
Choosing and Administering Antacids for Dogs
It is important to understand which antacids are safe to give to dogs and how much they should be given. Tablet forms of over the counter antacids, such as Tums, Rolaids, and Maalox tablets, have the active ingredient calcium carbonate which gets to work quickly and is a safe antacid for your dog. Children’s calcium antacid tablets are a good start if you have a small dog. A good weight guide regarding tablet antacids for dogs would be: a quarter to half a tablet for a dog under 24 pounds. Dogs weighing between 24 – 47 pounds may start off with half a tablet, and dogs over 48 pounds should take a full tablet. Give a dose when symptoms appear but do not give your dog another dose within a four hour period. This is only a rough guide. For precise dosages for your dog you should call your dog’s vet. Pepto-Bismol, Maalox Multi-Action, and Kaopectate are other antacids for dogs that you might already have in your home. We rely on these medicines to relieve general upset stomach, acid reflux, diarrhea, and gas, and the same is true when using this medicine to treat a dog. A good starting point would be one teaspoon of Pepto-Bismol for every five pounds of your dog’s weight. Administer this about every six hours or so but no longer than seven days in a row.
Vomiting, fatigue/lethargy, loss of appetite, and coughing are fairly common signs among dogs and can point to several different illnesses and some of them can be quite severe and even life threatening. If you are at all worried about your dog’s health then you should not hesitate to book an appointment with your dog’s vet.
Continue to How To Stop Acid Reflux Naturally article.