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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16321
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My four year old chihuahua had stomach problems yesterday. s

Customer Question

My four year old chihuahua had stomach problems yesterday. His belly was making lots of noise and he ate grass. He did not eat. Today he ate but is not as active. He is licking his lips a lot and swallowing hard. He's been sneezing and burping.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'm sorry to hear that your fellow Biscuit isn't himself with lots of stomach gurgling, lip licking, swallowing and eating grass and vomiting yesterday and lethargy as well as some sneezing and burping.

The noises that you are hearing are the result of ingesta moving through the gastrointestinal tract and gas bubbles. In most cases they are completely normal and seem to cause the dog no distress. But in cases where the dog acts uncomfortable it is likely that the pup is experiencing some reflux or abnormal motility, or painful intestinal spasms that are more than the usual. In severe cases this can be linked to pancreatitis which is a painful inflammation of the pancreas leading to increased enzyme leakage. Since he is sneezing, burping and lip licking and swallowing I do believe he has some reflux.

Possible causes for this include a change in diet, dietary sensitivities or allergies, or eating things that he should not have like too many fatty table scraps or garbage, bones etc. Metabolic organ failures (kidney or liver disease), Addison's disease (hypoadrenocortisim), pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease or even infiltrative cancers are other possible causes.

Has he gotten anything different to eat or has he gotten into anything that you know of that may have started all of this?

I can give you some suggestions but ideally if he isn't coming along quickly over the next couple of days I would recommend checking basic blood tests on him including a complete blood count, biochemistry panel and a blood test for pancreatitis called can spec PL (canine specific pancreatic lipase) which is highly specific for pancreatitis.

If his electrolyte levels seem unbalanced (high potassium and low sodium) then testing for Addison's disease with a test called an ACTH response test would be reasonable.

If this is a repeated issue for him and his initial tests are normal then the next step diagnostically would be an abdominal ultrasound and endoscopy to collect intestinal biopsies.

But for now here are some suggestions.

For now to help with gastrointestinal upset and reflux you can give either:

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


2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of one quarter of 20mg tablet per 10 to 20 pounds of body weight every 24 hours

These are acid reducers and should help him feel more comfortable. They are quite safe and can be used for a few days if needed. In some cases dogs remain on them long term if this is a repeated problem.

I would pick up all food for now and water for a couple hours to allow his stomach to settle after the acid reducers. In a couple hours you give him water or low salt clear broths like low salt beef or chicken broth to drink, but make sure it is in small amounts only.

If he seems to feel better later today offer a bland diet mix of 1/3 boiled, minced, white, skinless chicken or boiled, lean hamburger, all fats drained off the meat after cooking, and 2/3 boiled, plain, white rice, mashed potatoes or pasta mixed with some low salt chicken or beef broth to make it easy to lap up and swallow as well as increase his fluid intake. If he refuses that you can offer a little meat baby food. If he refuses both then don't push it he likely needs to be seen by your family veterinarian.

Probiotics such as Fortiflora, Proviable, or Benebac can be added to the bland diet mix to help replace appropriate bacteria.

If things go well and he eats and seems more comfortable feed him the bland diet for 2 to 3 days then slowly start to mix back in his regular food, a little more at each meal. It should take about 5 to 7 days to slowly convert him back to his regular diet.

If he continues to be lethargic, begins to vomit, runs a fever (more than 103F rectally), or has a tense painful belly then he is not a candidate for home therapy and must see a veterinarian for an examination, diagnostics, injectable anti-nausea drugs intravenous fluids and supportive care.

If you go back to his original food and stop table food and treats and his lethargy and gastrointestinal noises return then you may wish to consider using a using a low irritant food, like Hills or Royal Canin Sensitive stomach formulas. If those aren't enough then he may need Hills i/d or Purina Veterinary Diets EN, or Royal Canin

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

I just noticed that you gave him baby Benadryl.

Did that contain either acetaminophen or xylitol as a sweetener? Both are toxic for dogs.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can we give him Pepcid AC along with baby Benadryl
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Yes you can, but I don't see a reason for Benadryl. His symptoms seem to be an upset stomach.

Benadryl is an antihistamine used to control allergic symptoms and can cause stomach upset in some dogs.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He has allergies so we give him Benadryl. I will try Pepcid. Thanks for your help
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Ah, Ok, now I understand. You might want to take a day off Benadryl just to give his stomcah a break, unless he is very miserably itchy without it. Then you can use both medications without worry of negative interactions.