Pug Burping and Regurgitating Food
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Hilary Ayres
Posted on: December 07, 2007

I have a one year old pug who burps/regurgitates a small amount of food almost daily. I noticed it as soon as I got her as an 8 week old puppy, but was able to control it with smaller more frequent meals. Now she is a year old and it has started again. I don’t believe she is vomiting because her stomach isn’t contracting and it does not smell sour like it came from the stomach, it smells like her food. She has been eating Natures Variety Raw Organic Chicken since she was four months old. I have taken her to the vet, they could find nothing wrong with her esophagus or stomach and gave no definitive answer. Can dogs have too much stomach acid or perhaps acid reflux?

Whenever one is looking at digestive concerns there are always a number of issues to consider. Good to hear that your dog has been to the veterinarian and a number of potential physiological problems have been ruled out. So, a few questions for you: is your dog still eating food quickly and possibly swallowing air along with her dinner? Is she still on the small and frequent dietary schedule? Does she have gas and bloating as well? How often does she have bowel movements? What do they look like? When does she burp? After meals? If so, how long after meals? Does the regurgitation occur at the same time as the burping? How long do these sessions last? How often in the day would she have them? How often is she being fed?

Pugs can be quite aggressive as far as food goes. She may well be trying to get all the food in her before someone takes it away. Are there other animals in the house with whom she may feel competition for meals?

In looking at the diet you mention, I see it is a grain-free type of pre-prepared raw food. There is a quite a large controversy in the pet food industry regarding foods containing grain and foods that do not. The non-grain argument goes something like this: prey animals do not eat grain and domestic grain usually used in pet foods has only been in existence for 10,000 years, therefore carnivorous animals have not evolved to digest grain. The pro-grain argument is as follows: prey animals are made of at least six distinct physiological parts: brain matter (high in fat), bone, muscle meat, stomach contents (hence the vegetables and fruit in the product), fur and organ meat. You will find I fall on the side of "some grain is useful" argument. Please see my explanation as follows. Whilst it is true that grain was domesticated some 10,000 years ago, this is also roughly the time when dogs and cats began to seek out the company of humans. (Grain stores mean rodents, rodents mean carnivores will follow, seeking an easy meal). Therefore, domestic animals have had some domestic grain in their diet for close to 10,000 years. Second, cooked grain provides soluble fibre that can take the place of fur, etc. as bulk in the diet. I have seen animals on a meat and vegetable only diet and those who have had some grain added. By and large, I have found a small proportion of grain results in improved skin and coat quality, better elimination of waste and improved digestion. After all, dogs are obligate omnivores and in the wild will eat whatever they can find. Therefore, I would suggest that you look at the writing of Richard Pitcairn, "Natural Health for Dogs and Cats", "The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat" by Juliette de Bairacli Levy and "The Barf Diet" by Ian Billinghurst to get a comprehensive look at diet, along with suggestions and recipes. You may find that improved digestion and nutrition takes care of your concerns.

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