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

Gulping Attacks In dogs

It’s so miserable to see a dog suffering from gulping episodes along with excessive licking and swallowing.

What could really be the reason(s) for this? How to help a dog get rid of this obscure health problem?

Well. We will look into 11 causes and 9 solutions to address this issue.

How to tell if your loving dog has a gulping attack?

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

It is vital to monitor and understand the following symptoms to tell if a dog has a gulping attack.

Here are the common symptoms I collected from the owners.

  • Gulping after eating. Sometimes after playing or exercise session.
  • Frantic, hard swallowing. Large yawns, a light swallow.
  • Licking things, especially carpets, their lips, floor, air, spiders webs.
  • Throwing up
  • Drinking water excessively.
  • Scratching the floor.
  • Whining.
  • Barking.
  • Some dogs may develop allergic reactions where they have hives in their mouth.
  • Coughing or Hacking sounds like something stuck in its neck or itching in its throat
  • Hearing bubbles in its throat and gulping sound maybe like “quack.”
  • Irregular loose stools with mucus.
  • Odd posture.
  • Passing gas— the air that the dog had swallowed.
  • Restless behavior.
  • Seems terrified.
  • Tummy gurgling.
  • Some licks the chest area and top of their paws.
  • Drooling
  • Running around

Please note single dog may not exhibit all of the above symptoms. It seems to display a wide range of symptoms, making some veterinarians unable to guess what the cause is.

What causes gulping episodes with excessive licking in dogs?

The most important step in solving this issue is to identify the exact cause.

Here, we will discuss 11 common reasons for that.

A dog may have gulping attacks due to acid reflux, a foreign body is stuck in the esophagus, diet issue, seizures, stress, anxiety, excitement, obsessive-compulsive disorders, allergies, Crohn’s disease, trachea irritation, kennel cough, stomach ulcers, inflamed esophagus, and feeling nauseous.

Lovely puppies

1. Acid reflux.

Dogs will often have gulp episodes along with excessive licking, swallowing due to gastroesophageal reflux to resolve their stomachs.

This gulping and licking occur when gastric acid is coming up and burning its throat.

This problem is pretty much common among canines and can occur at any age, especially in younger dogs. Because their esophageal sphincters are still under the developing stage.

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 causese 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.

There are times when a dog might eat an indigestible foreign object which has a tendency to get stuck in the esophagus.

Here are several examples.

To ensure the dog has something stuck in its esophagus, check if he is pawing at his mouth, retching, gaggling, restless behavior, refusing to eat, gulping, hard to swallow things,

3. A problem with the diet.

The next most common cause is an inappropriate diet or eating unhealthy food. Even occasional eating unhealthy food can make a healthy dog start gulping, excessive licking, and swallowing.


Eating unhealthy food and sticking to an inappropriate diet can irritate their tummy, causing them to release too much gastric acid, and eventually, it can burn their throat.

It’s very similar to what happens to people, right?

Here are the instances where this can happen.

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

The dog parents should be extra cautious when preparing an appropriate diet. It’s always advised to get instructions from a licensed veterinarian after thoroughly inspecting the dog.

4. Seizures.

If your dog is gulping along with excessive licking, swallowing, throwing up, it could be a seizures condition.

Many people believe that seizures mean a dog falling down and start to go rigid. However, it is not always so. Because the clinical presentation is determined by the part of the brain that has been affected.

Here are some common symptoms of seizures apart from gulping attacks.

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

5. Psychological issues.

Stress, excitement, separation anxiety, Obsessive-compulsive disorders hugely affect occurring gulping attacks on dogs.

YES! It’s not only about physical issues. Psychological problems also have some impact.

It’s not a secret that stress and anxiety in canines are also common causes of human gastritis. Well, there isn’t much difference when it comes to dogs.

Therefore gulping, licking, and swallowing are ways that they found soothing and probably help them to cope up.

6. Allergies

Another most suspicious cause could be allergies to certain things. Here are some essential things 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: Usually, Crohn’s disease is a traumatic illness-causing irritation in the dog’s lower esophagus, making gulping episodes occur along with excessive licking, throwing up, swallowing.

8. Trachea irritation: Usually, trachea irritation caused by gastritis acid is another reason why some dogs suffer from gulping episodes.

9. Kennel cough: This issue is a highly contagious respiratory disease, and it’s powerful enough to make a dog suffer from gulping attacks/

10. Stomach ulcers or inflamed esophagus: These are just some of the many unfortunate situations that a dog parent should pay more attention to.

11. Feeling nauseous: Dogs also can feel nauseous, just like humans. They may often exhibit this as they eat something really nauseous/bad taste.

Is gulping attacks in dogs something to worry about?

Actually, my answer is, “YOU SHOULD BE WORRY.”

When we walk through the above causes, for the most part, the reasons running behind this issue are abnormal, and they require veterinary attention.

Then what should you do?

As I mentioned earlier, these gulping episodes in some dogs are appeared to be weird and mysterious.

Some dogs are prone to gulp attacks probably once every three months. In comparison, some other percentage contracted the disease every six months. Moreover, one episode can last from several minutes to seven days or even more.

As you can see, there isn’t an exact pattern for this because it depends on many different factors. For instance, if a canine is prone to gulping attacks as a result of acid reflux, there are a handful of causes for acid reflux in canines. So, it depends on many different factors.


When your dog has a gulping attack, ask someone to take a video of the dog while you help it. Because the dog might not gulp in front of the vet. The veterinarian needs to see it's actually happening in order to diagnosis the issue.

What to do if a dog has gulping attacks with excessive licking?

Most important of all are the solutions. Let’s find out 9 possible things you can do about this.

If a dog has gulping attacks along with excessive licking, and swallowing, consider distracting the dog, redesigning the diet plan, avoid feeding human food, limit fragrances, maintaining a healthy weight, keep the dog mentally stimulated, always supervise the dog, and getting professionals help.

Lovely puppies.

1. Distract the dog.

If the gulping attack along with excessive licking and swallowing aren’t caused by something stuck in the dog’s esophagus, distracting the dog is an excellent way to help your dog. However, this is a temporary solution.

Catch the momentary where she stops gulping and distracting her for about 10-20 minutes while keeping her calm seems to resolve the episode.

But, But this will definitely bring some relief to the dog. Then you can consider taking her on a trip to the vet.

Here are some suggestions to distract dogs that worked for most dogs.

  • Have a ride in the car.
  • Go to the backyard and play a little bit.
  • Cuddle her.
  • Show its favorite toy.
  • Take her on a walk.
  • Feed something soft like rice.
  • Gently stroke her neck and belly.
  • More importantly, you should be calm.

2. Put hand.

I highly advise you not to do this if you are embarrassed.

Open her mouth and see if there is a hairball stuck in her throat. If so, gently pull it out. Getting a hairball out from her throat isn’t something to panic about because it doesn’t do any harm.

However, if you feel something like a foreign object stuck in her throat, taking her to the veterinarian immediately is the best thing to do at the movement.

3. Re-design the diet plan.

If these gulping episodes, excessive licking, swallowing happens as a result of acid reflux in your dog, re-designing her diet plan is something worth considering.

As discussed earlier, many foods can irritate her tummy. It is wise to avoid such foods, especially food that contains oil, spice, allergens, colorings, preservatives.

Here are a handful of vital things you need to consider when designing a diet plan.

  • The diet should be perfectly balanced. You will also need to discuss with your vet regarding the treats.
  • Avoid late night feeding.
  • Consider offering soft foods after discussing with your vet.
  • The feeding schedule should be consistent.
  • Ask for the possibilities of healthy homemade food for your loving pooch.

4. Avoid human food.

Dog parents should be extremely mindful when feeding human foods to their dogs. Because there are many dangerous human foods out there that can cause severe damages to canines.

Although you necessarily avoided offering unwanted human food, if the dog still gets table scraps, that might be enough to irritate its tummy, resulting in releasing too many gastric acids and causing unstoppable gulpings, lickings, and swallowings.

If you’re unsure whether a certain food item is safe for your dog, either don’t feed it or do small research beforehand feeding it.

5. Limit fragrances.

Limiting fragrances is another excellent helpful method of avoiding gulping episodes from canines. As discussed in the beginning, certain fragrances can really harm your dog, even those important for you.

Here are several things that are worth considering.

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

6. Manage weight.

One of the significant reasons for acid reflux in dogs is obesity. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight is vital. Take a look at the following important factors.

  • Again the right diet and correct amount of food. Also, don’t forget to measure their food.
  • Limit treats.
  • Again, avoid human food.
  • Switch to a low fat diet.
  • Provide regular exercise.
  • Don’t forget regular vet visits.
  • Offer quility food.

7. Keep the dog mentally stimulated.

Other common reasons for acid reflux in dogs are psychological issues, causing to occur gulping attacks, and excessive licking, swallowing and throwing up.

Therefore, keeping the dog mentally stimulated is one of the primary responsibilities of a dog parent.

Here are some important facts that are worth considering.

  • Provide enough exercises on a daily basis.
  • Spend some quality time together.
  • Play brain games.
  • Take her to nose work classes.
  • Teach new tricks.
  • Provide puzzle toys.
  • Give some obedience training.
  • Clicker training.
  • Play hide and seek.

8. Always supervise the dog.

As discussed earlier, another most unfortunate cause for gulping attacks in dogs is that something is stuck in the throat.

Therefore, supervising your dog as much as possible while eating, spending time in the backyard is vital. Especially puppies that aren’t socialized tend to eat things out that have a higher chance of getting stuck in their throats.

9. Get professionals help.

Even though you’ve followed the above good practices to address this issue, getting professionals’ help is crucial to keep this from happening in the future.

The first thing I can suggest is you consult your licensed veterinarian in your area.

If you figured out the problem is directly related to foods and with her diet, I highly recommend you to consult a nutritionist instead of consulting a veterinarian.

By the way, here is what to do if your dog throws up his medicine.

Things to be aware of.

It’s good to see how you are aware of possible reasons some dogs are prone to gulp attacks and excessive licking, swallowing, and throwing up. I think the solutions we have found will be useful enough for you. However, there are certainly other things you wanna be aware of.

Use thundershirt: I personally love putting thundershirts on my dogs when they get panicked by something. Try putting a thundershirt on your dog whenever a gulping attack has started. If you currently don’t have a thundershirt, try putting on the harness because harnesses can calm many dogs. It works similar to how thundershirts work for most canines.

Distract a little longer: Let’s say it is distracting for about 15 minutes enough to keep the dog from catching another gulping attack. Be sure to distract him a little longer to ensure it doesn’t come back.

Bones: You gotta be extraordinarily mindful when offering a bone to chew on. Cooked bones are hazardous as your dog is more likely to get a fraction of bone stuck in her throat. Here is a good article on whether Dobermans can chew on bones.

When licking the floor: If she isn’t stopping licking the floor, ensure to crate her or confine a small area in the pen.

They eat things: When a dog has a gulping episode, it tends to eat anything literally in front of her. It can be a plastic toy, grass, shoes, or any other thing. So, be sure to keep things away from her.

  • Slow-down food bowls are alos apperes to work fine for most dogs.
  • Provide as much attention, care, love.
  • Be patience. Don’t attempt to blame or punish her.
  • Don’t hesitate to chat with your veterinarian. Trust me. It’s so worth your time and money.


Thanks for being a responsible dog owner. Many dog parents struggle to find why some dogs would gulp along with excessive licking, swallowing, and throwing up. In this comprehensive guide, we’ve discussed 11 causes for this matter with 9 helpful things to do about that. Hope you found this helpful. Please share your experiences and what worked for you in the comment section, as it will definitely help prospective readers.


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