How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14570
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. Kara is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My 14 year old standard poodle has been eating grass lately

Customer Question

My 14 year old standard poodle has been eating grass lately & getting to tails all over her. Now I think she has one lodged in her throat. For 2 days she's been gulping hard, coming to me for help (I know) and making gross noise trying hard to cough it up. I can't spend thousands on anesthesia & surgery.... Anything I can do to resolve this on my own? Could it creep into her tissue inside like it has in her paws & legs? I hate foxtails, they are torture to dogs.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: I go through her paws & legs pulling them out daily but this seems to be in her throat & I can't see in there.
JA: What is the standard poodle's name?
Customer: Luna
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Luna?
Customer: She's in good health but old for a large dog so I'm afraid of putting her u set any anesthesia .
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 4 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

I am very sorry to hear about your pup Luna's eating grass and gulping/coughing.

It is possible that she has a foxtail awn stuck, but because her behavior started with eating grass I think that may not be the full issue. There was a reason that she started eating grass in the first place. I suspect that she has gastroesophageal reflux.

Dogs with nausea or gastroesophageal acid reflux often eat grass or foreign material to make themselves vomit. They will often swallow repeatedly, gulp and gag 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 repeatedly eating grass and gulping 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 reflux 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. Since she's an older pup metabolic organ failures (kidney or liver disease), pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease or even infiltrative cancers are possible causes too.

Has she eaten anything she should not have recently (toy pieces, bones, garbage)?

Any changes in food or treats?

You can give her acid reducers to try and settle her stomach. Either:

1) Pepcid-ac (famotidine) at one half of a 10mg tablet per 10 to 20 pounds of body weight every 12 hours.


2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at one half of a 20mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 24 hours.

These will reduce stomach acid and should help settle her stomach. These can be used long term if necessary as they are very safe.

I'd also pick up her food and water for now. A couple hours after giving one of the acid reducers you can offer small amounts of water or ice cubes to lick.

No food for 12 hours. Small amounts of water only.

After her 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 her regular diet and slowly convert her back.

If her vomiting or nausea continues then she may need injectable medication from her veterinarian to get her stomach upset under control and she should have some bloodwork checked for underlying organ disease.

So watch her for continued gagging/reflux even with the acid reducers, blood in her stool or vomit or a fever (more than 103.5F rectally), a tense painful belly or lack of appetite after her food fast. If any of those occur it is time to seek hands on veterinary care.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 4 months ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Kara
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 4 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your pup. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****