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Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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My dog, will not stop licking the carpet. It started today.

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My dog, will not stop licking the carpet. It started today. We took her to the vet, they ran xrays and found air in her stomach and esophogas. She is repeatively licking the carpet and trying to gag. She was sedated and was resting until 30minutes ago. She is almost in a panic. She is eating and drinking, perhaps not as much. She has been hacking a little for the last week. She was a stray, we adopted her at the SPCA. She is a beagle mix. Her stomach is not bloated. We tried to crate her, she just became more agitated, and distressed. She is now trying to eat the carpet as she would with grass. What should I do, I am wondering if she has a problem with her esophogas and or throat. When I put her in almost a billy chair position she belched. But I am unable to get her to calm down to put her back in that position. It almost sounds like she is a cat with a hair ball.

Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer!

I'm sorry you have had such a long wait to get a response to your question. I just logged on and saw your question and have replied immediately.

I would like to help you and your dog with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

How long have you had this Beagle-mix girl?

How often do you feed her?

What kind of food is she on (dry, "light", canned, other)?

Is she on any kind of medication at all?

How much does she weigh?


Customer: replied 7 years ago.

How long have you had this Beagle-mix girl? for 2 months

How often do you feed her? 2 times a day

What kind of food is she on (dry, "light", canned, other)? she is on hills c/d dry food diet due to a UTI that she had 3 weeks ago

Is she on any kind of medication at all? just finished antibiotics for UTI, finished dewormer medicine for hook worms. She is neg heartworm

How much does she weigh? when we got her she was 26 lbs, now she is 32


She stopped liking the carpet afer 2 hours. But I am concerned that it will come back and their is an underlying problem. The hacking has been going on off and on since we got her

Thanks for that additional information!

I know EXACTLY what you mean with the licking as my Beagle would do the very same thing! With my dog, it happened about every 2 weeks, and he would gulp air as he licked. But as you have described, it was like some kind of spasm that he could not control - he just HAD to lick.

He would suck in air and then start licking everything in sight (floor, carpet, walls) and eat grass until eventually he would vomit.

For him, it ended with vomiting, but I have examined many dogs who are affected with this and who just slowly slow down and stop.

Now, with my own dog and many other dogs, I have done extensive testing (x-rays, blood tests, ultrasounds, endoscopy) and have not found a physical problem that seems to cause this. It is almost spasmodic like hiccups (but not hiccups).

I did eventually figure out how to help my dog, and have found that most dogs seem to improve with a few changes to their feeding schedule...

What you are describing in your dog sounds like she has may have bilious vomiting syndrome. Typically, with this syndrome, it is a bit like gastric reflux (heartburn) in humans, and can range from very mild to quite severe.

Let me explain…

Basically, in small dogs their stomachs are tiny and their metabolisms are fast.

They use up the food in their stomach very quickly, and then their stomach is empty. The stomach contains gastric acid, which is very irritating to the stomach lining, especially when there is no food to soak it up. When the stomach is empty, the acid irritates the stomach so much that the dog starts to feel nauseated. Then, she won't eat. So, the stomach remains empty and irritated. The dog then vomits - and it is stomach acid and bile that comes up!.

So, it becomes a cycle - empty stomach --> nauseated --> vomit --> nauseated and so on.

The way to break the cycle is to get your dog eating many many small meals. If this happened first thing in the morning, then make sure to give a little snack at bedtime. Figure out how many hours it had been since she had eaten when this occurred, and then try to find a way to prevent her stomach from being empty for that long. She does not necessarily need MORE food, just in smaller amounts more often.

Sometimes we have to give dogs with this problem an antacid to help them - common options are famotidine (Pepcid) or ranitidine (Zantac).

Here is more about Pepcid:

And more about Zantac:

Keeping your dog's stomach from getting empty will also help to break this cycle.

If you see this starting and can get some food into your dog quickly, you may be able to circumvent an episode. Now, many dogs will refuse treats when they are doing this, but you may have more success if you keep a jar of human baby food on hand.

Just make very sure the baby food has no onions, onion powder, garlic or garlic powder in it. Beech Nut, in Canada and the USA makes a line of baby food that has nothing but meat (beef, chicken, turkey or veal) in it.


If you cannot find this, you could find another meat baby food - just read the label carefully to be sure there are no onions, onion powder, garlic, or garlic powder in it. YOu could put this as a little gravy on her dry food.

Sometimes offering the food on your finger for her to lick it off will get her started on eating. Sometimes you have to put a bit in her mouth to get a dog started.

So, if you see your girl starting this, try to get some baby food smeared into her mouth which may settle her stomach. Then, if she is feeling a bit better, offer half a slice of plain bread or something bland like that to soak up the stomach acids. That helps a lot to control the "heart burn" sensation that she is probably feeling.


So, in summary, it sounds to me as though your dog had an episode of "heart burn" or bilious vomiting syndrome.

This is best treated by giving frequent small meals and antacids if needed.

Famotidine is one option, another would be ranitidine. The doses are in the links above!

Here's a link to more about bilious vomiting syndrome:

I hope that this has been helpfu!

If this has been helpful, please hit the green "Accept" button and leave feedback.

I will still be here to provide more information if you need it – just click reply!

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.

Best wishes to you and to your dog!


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