Gulping Attacks In Dogs [Full Guide | 11 Causes + 9 Solutions]

Gulping Attacks In dogs

It’s heartbreaking to see a dog suffering from gulping episodes, as well as excessive licking and swallowing.

What is the reason(s) for this? How can you assist a dog in overcoming this mysterious health issue?

Well. To address this issue, we will investigate 11 causes and 9 solutions.

How To Tell If Your Beloved Dog Has A Gulping Attack

Important Disclaimer: This information should not replace veterinary advice. Follow the advice of your veterinarian.This information is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Be sure to follow your veterinarian's instructions.

Monitoring and understanding these symptoms is critical to determine if a dog is having a gulping attack.

The following are the most common symptoms I learned from the owners:

  • Gulping after eating, playing, or exercising
  • Frantic, hard swallowing, large yawns, or a light swallow
  • Licking things, especially carpets, their lips, the floor, air, or spiderwebs
  • Throwing up
  • Drinking water excessively
  • Scratching the floor
  • Whining
  • Barking
  • Some dogs may experience allergic reactions that cause hives in their mouth.
  • Coughing or hacking sounds like something is stuck in its throat, or it is itching.
  • Hearing bubbles in its throat and gulping sound like a “quack.”
  • Irregular loose stools with mucus
  • Odd posture
  • Passing gas— the air that the dog had swallowed
  • Restless behavior
  • Seems terrified
  • Tummy gurgling
  • Some lick the chest area and the top of their paws
  • Drooling
  • Running around

Please remember that a single dog may not exhibit all of the above symptoms. Instead, it exhibits many symptoms, leaving veterinarians unclear about the cause.

Gulping Dog In Distress

What Causes Gulping Episodes With Excessive Licking In Dogs?

The most important step in resolving this problem is determining the root cause.

Here, we’ll look at 11 common reasons for this.

Acid reflux, a foreign body stuck in the esophagus, diet issues, seizures, stress, anxiety, excitement, obsessive-compulsive disorders, allergies, Crohn’s disease, trachea irritation, kennel cough, stomach ulcers, inflamed esophagus, and feeling nauseous can all cause gulping attacks in a dog.

Dog Breeds Experts

1. Acid Reflux

Due to gastroesophageal reflux, dogs frequently have gulp episodes and excessive licking and swallowing to settle their stomachs.

This gulping and licking occurs when gastric acid rises and burns the throat.

This is a common problem in dogs of all ages, but it is more common in puppies because their esophageal sphincters are still developing.

Here are the common symptoms of acid reflux in dogs:

Here are the common symptoms of acid reflux in dogs

♦ Gulping
♦ Frequent bad breath
♦ Weight loss
♦ Vomiting bile
♦ Restlessness 
♦ Hard swallowing
♦ Decreased appetite
♦ Lip, air licking 
♦ Throwing up
♦ Wheezing
♦ Excessive drooling
♦ Whining while eating

Here are the common causes of acid reflux in dogs

♦ Obesity
♦ Congenital conditions like Hiatal hernia
♦ Overproduction of stomach acid
♦ Eating unsuitable food
♦ High blood calcium
♦ Improper emptying
♦ After surgery

Therefore, acid reflux is the most suspicious cause when a dog face gulping episodes along with excessive licking, swallowing.

This condition is quite common among English Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Australian cattle dogs, Boxers, and Pugs.

2. Something Stuck In Its Esophagus

A dog may eat an indigestible foreign object that becomes lodged in the esophagus.

Here are a few examples.

  • The dog’s esophagus is irritated by hair.
  • While grooming, some dogs swallow an excessive amount of fur. In addition, gulps can occur when swallowing a hairball.
  • The dog could have chewed up a plastic lid.
  • The dog could have swallowed something indigestible, possibly a piece of a rubber toy.
  • This can also occur when they consume dirt.

Check to see if the dog is pawing at his mouth, retching, gaggling, restless behavior, refusing to eat, gulping, or having difficulty swallowing.

3. Poor Or Unhealthy Diet

The second most common cause is a poor diet or eating unhealthy foods. Even occasionally eating unhealthy food can cause a healthy dog to begin gulping, excessively licking, and swallowing.


Eating unhealthy foods and following an unhealthy diet can irritate their stomach, causing them to produce too much gastric acid, which can eventually burn their throat.

Isn’t it similar to what happens to people?

Here are some examples of how this can occur.

  • Large and infrequent meals
  • Feeding at different and non-specific times
  • High-fat food
  • Eating too much dry food
  • Eating inappropriate human food, particularly table scraps

Owners should exercise extreme caution when preparing an appropriate diet for their dogs. After thoroughly inspecting the dog, it is always advisable to seek advice from a licensed veterinarian.

4. Seizures

It could be a seizure if your dog is gulping, licking, swallowing, and throwing up.

Many believe seizures indicate that a dog will fall and become rigid. However, this is not always the case because the affected part of the brain determines the clinical presentation.

Aside from gulping attacks, the following are common seizure symptoms.

  • Immediately falling to the ground
  • Twitching
  • Running in circles
  • Excessive drooling
  • Biting behavior
  • Jerking
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Strange vocalizations
  • Fly biting

5. Psychological Issues

Gulping attacks in dogs are greatly influenced by stress, excitement, separation anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

YES! It’s not just about the physical. Psychological issues have an impact as well.

It’s no secret that stress and anxiety are common causes of human gastritis in dogs. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a difference with dogs.

As a result, they found gulping, licking, and swallowing to be soothing and likely helped them cope.

6. Allergies 

Allergies to specific substances could also be a suspect cause. Here are some important details you may not have noticed.

  • Certain foods.
  • Some house air fresheners
  • Perfumes
  • Other types of sprays
  • Cleaners
  • Allergic to certain houseplants
  • Certain medications
  • Other reasons

Here are a few other minor reasons that are worth considering.

7. Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is typically a traumatic illness that irritates the dog’s lower esophagus, resulting in gulping episodes as well as excessive licking, throwing up, and swallowing.

8. Trachea Irritation

Another cause of gulping episodes in dogs is trachea irritation caused by gastritis acid.

9. Kennel Cough

This highly contagious respiratory disease is strong enough to cause gulping attacks in dogs.

10. Stomach Ulcers Or Inflamed Esophagus

These are just a few of the many unfortunate situations a dog parent should know about.

11. Feeling Nauseated

Dogs, like humans, can experience nausea. They frequently exhibit this when they eat something different or with a bad taste.

Are Gulping Attacks In Dogs Something To Worry About?

My response is, “YES; YOU SHOULD BE WORRIED.”

When we look at the above causes, we see that most of them are abnormal and require veterinary attention.

What should you do now?

As I previously stated, these gulping episodes in some dogs appear strange and mysterious.

Some dogs are prone to gulp attacks, which occur approximately every three months. In comparison, another percentage of people got the disease every six months. A single episode can last anywhere from a few minutes to seven days or more.

As you can see, there is no exact pattern for this because it depends on various factors. For example, if a dog is prone to gulping attacks due to acid reflux, there are several causes of acid reflux in dogs. As a result, it is dependent on a variety of factors.


When your dog has a gulping attack, have someone film it while you help it because it may not gulp in front of the vet. To diagnose the problem, the veterinarian must determine whether it is occurring.

What Do I Do If A Dog Has Gulping Attacks With Excessive Licking? 

The solutions are the most important. Let’s look at nine possible solutions to this problem.

Consider distracting the dog, re-designing the diet plan, avoiding feeding human food, limiting fragrances, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping the dog mentally stimulated, always supervising the dog, and getting professionals to help if the dog has gulping attacks, along with excessive licking and swallowing.

Dog Breeds Experts.

1. Distract The Dog

Distracting the dog is an excellent way to help your dog if the gulping attack, along with excessive licking and swallowing, isn’t caused by something stuck in the dog’s esophagus. This, however, is only a temporary solution.

Getting her to stop gulping and distracting her for 10-20 minutes while remaining calm may resolve the episode.

However, this will provide some relief to the dog. Then you can think about taking her to the vet.

Here are some dog distraction ideas that work for the majority of dogs:

  • Take a trip in the car.
  • Play in the backyard for a while.
  • Cuddle with her.
  • Display its favorite toy.
  • Take her for a walk.
  • Feed something soft, such as rice.
  • Stroke her neck and belly gently.
  • More importantly, you should maintain your composure.

2. Put A Hand In Their Mouth

If you are embarrassed, I strongly advise you not to do this.

Check her mouth to see if she has a hairball in her throat. If this is the case, gently pull it out. Getting a hairball out of her throat isn’t a cause for concern because it causes no harm.

However, if you suspect a foreign object is lodged in her throat, taking her to the veterinarian as soon as possible is the best course of action.

3. Re-Design The Diet Plan

If your dog’s gulping episodes, excessive licking, and swallowing are caused by acid reflux, re-designing her diet plan is something to consider.

Many foods can aggravate her stomach. Therefore, such foods should be avoided, especially those containing oil, spices, allergens, colorings, and preservatives.

Here are a few important factors to consider when creating a diet plan.

  • A well-balanced diet is essential. You should also consult with your veterinarian about the treats.
  • Avoid eating late at night.
  • After consulting with your veterinarian, consider offering soft foods.
  • Feeding times should be consistent.
  • Inquire about the availability of healthy homemade food for your adoring pet.

4. Avoid Human Food

Dog owners should exercise caution when feeding human foods to their dogs because many dangerous human foods on the market can cause serious harm to canines.

Although you avoid giving the dog unwanted human food, if it still gets table scraps, it may irritate its stomach, causing it to release too many gastric acids and cause uncontrollable gulping, licking, and swallowing.

If you are still determining whether a particular food item is safe for your dog, don’t feed it or conduct preliminary research before feeding it.

5. Limit Fragrances 

Limiting fragrances is another excellent method for preventing canine gulping episodes. However, as previously stated, certain fragrances, including those important to you, can harm your dog.

Listed below are a few things to think about:

  • Avoid fragrance wallflowers.
  • Stop burning candles. 
  • Remove indoor plants dangerous to dogs.
  • Cinnamon oil.
  • Peppermint.
  • Wintergreen.
  • Citrus.
  • Sweet birch.

6. Manage Weight

Obesity is a significant cause of acid reflux in dogs. As a result, maintaining a healthy weight is critical. Consider the following critical factors:

  • Again, the proper diet and amount of food are required. Also, remember to measure their food.
  • Treats should be limited.
  • Again, avoid eating human food.
  • Change to a low-fat diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Remember to take your pet to the vet regularly.
  • Provide high-quality food.

7. Keep The Dog Mentally Stimulated

Other common causes of acid reflux in dogs include psychological issues that cause gulping attacks and excessive licking, swallowing, and throwing up.

As a result, one of the primary responsibilities of a dog parent is to keep the dog mentally stimulated.

Here are some important facts to consider.

  • Daily exercise should be sufficient.
  • Spend some quality time with each other.
  • Play mind games.
  • Attend nose work classes with her.
  • Teach new skills.
  • Make puzzle toys available.
  • Provide some obedience instruction.
  • Training with a clicker.
  • Play a game of hide and seek.

8. Always Supervise The Dog

Something stuck in the throat is another unfortunate cause of dog gulping attacks.

As a result, it is critical to keep an eye on your dog while he is eating or playing in the backyard. Puppies, especially those who have not been socialized, eat things with a higher chance of getting stuck in their throats.

9. Get Professional Help

Even if you’ve followed the above good practices to address this issue, seeking professional assistance is critical to preventing it from happening again.

I recommend that you first consult with a licensed veterinarian in your area. However, if you discover that the problem is directly related to food and her diet, I strongly advise you to consult a nutritionist rather than a veterinarian.

Here is what to do if your dog throws up his medicine.

Things To Be Aware Of

It’s great that you know the potential causes of gulp attacks and excessive licking, swallowing, and throwing up in some dogs. The solutions we discovered will be sufficient for you. However, there are a few other things to be aware of.

Use a Thundershirt: When my dogs get scared, I like to put thundershirts on them. So when a gulping attack begins, try putting a thundershirt on your dog. If you don’t have a thundershirt, try putting on a harness, which can help calm many dogs. It works in the same way that thundershirts do for most canines.

Distract the dog for a while: Let’s say you distract the dog for about 15 minutes, long enough to prevent another gulping attack. Then, distract him for a little longer to ensure it doesn’t return.

Bones: When offering a bone to chew on, you must be extremely cautious. Cooked bones pose a risk because your dog is more likely to get a piece of bone stuck in her throat. A good article on whether Dobermans can chew on bones can be found here.

When licking the floor, remember: If she doesn’t stop licking the floor, crate her or confine her to a small area in a pen.

They eat things: When a dog has a gulping episode, it will eat whatever is in front of it. It could be a plastic toy, grass, shoes, or anything else. So keep everything away from her.

  • Slow-down (anti-gulping) food bowls work well for the majority of dogs.
  • Give as much attention, care, and love as you can.
  • Have some patience. Do not try to blame or punish her.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak with your veterinarian. Believe me. It is completely worth your time and money.


Thank you for being a good dog owner. Many dog owners are perplexed by why some dogs gulp in addition to excessive licking, swallowing, and throwing up.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve discussed 11 causes of this problem and nine helpful solutions. I hope you found this useful. Please share your experiences and what worked for you in the comments section; it will benefit future readers.

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