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Regurgitation in Dogs: Understanding Causes Symptoms and Treatment Options

Understanding Dog Regurgitation and Vomiting: What Every Dog Owner Should Know

As a responsible dog owner, it is essential to understand your furry friend’s behavior, health issues, and potential problems. Two common behavioral symptoms that most dog owners might come across are regurgitation and vomiting.

Both produce similar outcomesfood and fluids expelled through the mouthbut have several differences. In this article, we’ll explore those differences, why regurgitation happens, what breeds are more predisposed, and how to diagnose regurgitation.

Understanding Vomiting and Regurgitation

Vomiting and regurgitation are both the body’s mechanisms of expelling unwanted substances that have found their way into the body. However, that’s where the similarities stop.

Vomiting occurs when the dog’s stomach muscles contract and forcefully expel its contents. On the other hand, regurgitation happens when undigested food rises back up the esophagus without stomach muscles’ engagement.

As a result, there is no retching, gagging, lip-licking, or heaving.

Causes of Regurgitation

Regurgitation may happen when a dog’s esophagus has trouble propelling food down to the stomach, leading to food accumulation. This can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions, such as:


Foreign bodies: When an object gets stuck in the dog’s esophagus, it can interrupt the normal flow of food, leading to regurgitation.


Tumors: Esophageal tumors can grow in a dog’s throat, affecting the movement of food in the body, leading to regurgitation. 3.

Megaesophagus: This disorder causes the dog’s esophagus to be expanded, which creates difficulties in passing food to the stomach.


Esophageal Dysmotility Disorder: This condition causes the muscles in the dog’s esophagus to weaken, leading to food buildup and eventual regurgitation.

Dog Breeds Predisposed to Regurgitation

All dogs can develop regurgitation if all conditions remain favorable. However, certain breeds have been observed to be more predisposed to the condition than others.

These breeds include:

1. Wirehaired Fox Terriers


Miniature Schnauzers

3. German Shepherds


Shar Peis

5. Brachycephalic dogs

Identifying and Diagnosing Dog Regurgitation

Identifying regurgitation in dogs is relatively easy and does not require any specialist knowledge. Dog owners can quickly tell the difference between vomiting and regurgitating.

Regurgitation occurs immediately after eating, and the dogs tend to swallow without retching or heaving. Vomiting, on the other hand, involves heaving, gagging, and retching.

Diagnosis of regurgitation involves several tests done by a skilled veterinarian to determine the underlying cause. Here are some popular diagnostic tests used to diagnose regurgitation:

Physical Exam and X-Rays

Your veterinarian will examine your dog’s esophagus through an endoscope and, if necessary, perform X-rays to check for esophageal abnormalities.

Laboratory Testing

Blood tests will be carried out to check for acetylcholine receptor antibodies, which are responsible for autoimmune deficiencies. Additionally, the ACTH stimulation test may be applied to test for Cushing’s disease.

Lead levels and thyroid hormone levels are also tested during diagnosis.


Endoscopy may be done to examine your dog’s esophagus and identify tumors or signs of esophagitis. The endoscope is a long, slender tool that’s passed through your dog’s mouth and down into the esophagus to examine the tissue.


Regurgitation can be a minor issue, or it could be a sign of an underlying ailment in dogs. Understanding the difference between vomiting and regurgitation is essential in identifying the cause of action to take.

With this knowledge, it’s also easier to assess your dog’s general health and work with the veterinarian to find the solution to alleviate regurgitation symptoms. If you suspect your dog is regurgitating, seek medical intervention immediately.

It’s better safe than sorry. Treatment Options for Dog Regurgitation: The Comprehensive Guide for Dog Owners

Regurgitation in dogs can be caused by several underlying conditions that can require various treatment approaches.

In some cases, the condition may be resolved through medication and supportive care, while in others, surgery may be necessary. This article will explore the treatment options available for dog regurgitation – treating the underlying problem, supportive and symptomatic care, and prevention strategies.

Treating the Underlying Problem

One of the most effective treatment options for regurgitation in dogs is treating the underlying problem. Depending on the cause, veterinary surgeons may recommend a surgical procedure to remove foreign bodies or tumors that are causing the regurgitation.

After surgical intervention, anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to help with the healing process. In some cases, the dog may be given medication to promote proper muscle function in the esophagus, thus facilitating food movement.

These medications often have to be administered daily or as needed, and only by a licensed veterinarian. The dog may also be put on medication to manage any autoimmune deficiencies that may be causing the regurgitation.

Supportive and Symptomatic Care

In addition to treating the underlying problem, supportive and symptomatic care can be used to manage symptoms while the underlying cause is being treated. Some of the supportive care options include:


Vertical feedings: This involves feeding your dog in a vertical position, such as feeding them from an elevated bowl or using a food station that holds the bowl at a higher level. This position helps gravity to naturally propel food towards the stomach.

2. Nutrient-dense food: Provide your dog with a nutrient-dense diet that has all the necessary nutrients to promote healing and provide energy while minimizing the frequency of regurgitation.

3. Feeding Tube: In severe cases, a feeding tube may be necessary to ensure the dog gets the necessary nutrients while their esophagus heals.

4. Medications: Medications may be prescribed to help manage regurgitation symptoms, such as anti-nausea medications to alleviate feelings of sickness that may accompany regurgitation.

5. Slanted dog bed: Placing the dogs bed at a slant with the head elevated can help reduce regurgitation frequency as it reduces the chances of esophageal reflux.

Prevention of Regurgitation

Prevention should be the ultimate goal for pet owners to minimize the risk of regurgitation episodes. Some preventive measures to adopt include:


Slow feeder bowls: Feeding your dog from a slow feeder bowl can ensure they eat slowly and chew their food correctly, minimizing the chances of regurgitation. 2.

Smaller meals: Feeding smaller meals more frequently can also help prevent regurgitation, as it places less strain on the esophagus and digestive system to process food. 3.

Consult with a veterinarian: Discuss any concerns with your veterinarian; together, you can work to maintain a healthy and balanced diet for your pet.


Regurgitation in dogs can be an uncomfortable experience for the dog and a significant source of concern for pet owners. While some cases of regurgitation can be treated successfully, others may require more intensive care or ongoing medication to manage symptoms.

Preventative measures are essential to minimize the risk of regurgitation, and pet owners should consult with their veterinarian to learn more about healthy feeding habits and preventive care tips. With the right care and treatment, many dogs recover and go on to live long and healthy lives.

Regurgitation in dogs can be caused by several underlying conditions that can require various treatment approaches. Treating the underlying problem, such as surgery or medication, and supportive and symptomatic care can help alleviate the symptoms of regurgitation in dogs.

Pet owners can also take preventative measures like using slow feeder bowls, feeding smaller meals, and working closely with a veterinarian to maintain their dog’s health. The goal of this article is to provide dog owners with information on the causes, treatment, and prevention of regurgitation in dogs so that they can recognize the symptoms and take prompt action to minimize the impact of regurgitation on their dog’s life.

Remember that if you suspect that your dog has regurgitation episodes, immediate veterinary attention is necessary to manage the underlying condition effectively.

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