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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4695
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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My dog keeps dry heaving and drooling. He acts normal other

Customer Question

My dog keeps dry heaving and drooling. He acts normal other than these two things. He ate fine and is drinking lots of water. When going outside he keeps wanting to eat lots of grass
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 6 months ago.

Hello I am Dr. Joey. Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 16 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.

This does not sound very good if he continuously is dry heaving and drooling. I have a few questions that if you could answer will help me understand what is going on with Aries:

1) How long has he been having the dry heaves and drooling?

2) Great that he ate, but did the food come back up? Is he actually producing anything when he heaves? If not, are you sure he is actually heaving as if to vomit and this is not a reverse sneeze (just want to be sure)?

3) Can you think of anything he might have ingested (toy, new food item, inappropriately chewed item, etc) in the past week or so?

Thanks for giving me a bit more information.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
1) Started in the middle of last night, he woke me up twice to go outside and made a hacking noise, he has always had a sensitive stomach and occasionally vomits
2) the food did not come back up, as for producing anything all day it is producing nothing, this morning though when I woke up there was a pile of grass vomit. He keeps doing a hacking sound like he is trying to get something out of his throat almost like what a human would do.
3)As far as anything inappropriately eating he doesn't normal eat up his toys he got past that stage. He will eat any food left on the counter he has a never ending stomach. We try to counter proof our kitchen from him everytime we leave or go to bed.He acts normal otherwise, he is not lethargic and he is still drinking. He is panting a lot but so is our other dog, it is close to a 100 degrees where we are. He still walks around. We touched all along his stomach to make sure he is not sensitive down there as I know Labradors are susceptible to twisted bowels. I checked his gums and he has no infections he did have a piece of grass stuck in his teeth that I removed ten minutes ago.
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 6 months ago.

Thank you for the information. Yes, we are certainly always worried about bloat (twisted stomach) with our top sign being dry heaving without production of vomitus, but usually a dog with this going on would have abdominal/stomach pain and not be eating/drinking normally. So, this is highly unlikely.

I am afraid I cannot provide you an exact diagnosis for what is causing this dry heave/hack, but the drooling is probably secondary to nausea. In order to try to figure out what is going on he would need an examination followed by some testing that might include lab work (CBC, chemistry profile, urine check) and radiographs (X-rays).

We do need to make sure this is not a medical emergency. If he at any point seems painful, depressed/lethargic, develops blood in the vomit, develops diarrhea or stops eating then he needs to be seen on emergency. I am highly concerned this has been going on for a day and does not seems to be stopping. This might suggest there is something in his stomach or upper small intestinal tract that is causing a partial obstruction or a lot of pain as it passes through. There are certainly many other possible causes.

I can give you some hints to try at home to help him improve, if you would like. But if you feel he is worsening in any way then I think having him seen on emergency today would be his best option.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I would love to hear anything at home we can do to help ease whatever is going on with him. My husband and I will closely be monitoring him. Do you think we should give him his normal dinner tonight? If he seems to worsen we will take him into the vet. It's just that he basically is his normal self energy wise which is making us hesitate to take him in quite yet.
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 6 months ago.

If he was my patient and you were unable to have him seen tonight then I might recommend what you can try at home while monitoring:

1) Feed a bland diet (not his normal food): Try white rice and boiled chicken breasts (chopped). You can substitute boiled ground beef or cottage cheese for the chicken if you do not have chicken.

2) Give famotidine (Pepcid AC) 20mg at 1 tablet every 12 hours for nausea/vomit. You should be able to find this medication at any pharmacy over-the-counter. It has no bad side effects and does a great job to settle stomach acid and reduce nausea.

Keep me posted!