Friday, March 29, 2024

Stress Can Be A Cause Of Acid Stomach In Pets

nervous sad husky
Roo The Anxious Husky Before We Adopted Him

Published: 3/29/2024

Pictured above is our sad and nervous rescued husky Roo before we adopted him.  He was found tied to a gate in South Central LA emaciated at 39 pounds.  Rescuers did manage to put weight on him but he was so scared he didn't want to eat very much.  When we adopted Roo, we immediately noticed that he didn't want to eat anything until the end of the day.  He was very thin and coughed repeatedly when he drank water.  During the day, we offered him all kinds of homemade meals but he would barely touch it.  Then when evening came around, he would eat more enthusiastically.

What we learned was that Roo suffered from terrible acid stomach.  There are a lot of causes of acid stomach such as food intolerances, poor diet and bowel disorders, but in Roo's case we believe his was greatly triggered by stress.  He was such a nervous dog and it was clear he had been abused by someone who used food to lure him and then punished him.  It's also possible that Roo had digestive problems as a puppy and that the owner had no tolerance for them which made his regurgitation and acid stomach even worse.  What Roo needed was a calm environment where he could eat and feel safe.  

One of the hallmark signs of acid reflux in dogs is when the dog doesn't want to eat in the morning.  Many pet owners may simply think that they will let the dog eat when he wants to. The problem with that is the longer the absence of food, the more acid reflux pain builds up and the more irritation occurs in the stomach and esophageal lining.  The coughing Roo experienced when drinking water was due to esophageal irritation from acid build up. We found that by encouraging him to eat something....anything, his coughing and williingness to eat a little bit throughout the day improved greatly.  Today, Roo does eat breakfast, but not as enthusiastically as he eats later in the day.  Foods that he would nibble on in the morning: raw goat milk, homemade salmon or chicken, raw freeze dried treats.  

Just as when we get nervous, we may experience discomfort in our stomach, so can pets. Working with your veterinarian to identify and treat acid stomach symptoms like gagging, regurgitation, excessive grass eating and vomiting bile.  Keep in mind though, that pets prone to acid reflux can have their symptoms exacerbated by stress, for example going to the vet or in the car.  Feeding them a small meal and using digestive support supplements can greatly relieve their discomfort.  

Author:  Susan Blake Davis, Pet Nutritionist
Date:  3/29/2024
Originally Published 6/24/2021