My Pug “dry heaves” a few times a week. What could it be?


A couple times a week my pug starts to "dry heave." It’s almost like she upchucks in her mouth and swallows it and then she is fine. Do you know what it is or how to stop it?


What you are describing in your Pug could be signs of gastroesophageal reflux or esophageal dysmotility.  Brachycephalic (short snouted) dogs such as pugs, bull dogs, boston terriers, etc seem to be pre-disposed to having gastroesophageal reflux or esophageal motility problems as a result of increased resistance to air flow in the upper respiratory tract that their conformation can create.  Other causes of gastroesophageal reflux or esophageal dysmotility can include endocrine disease such as hypothyroidism or hypoadrenocorticism (Addison's disease), gastric motility disorders or gastric-outflow obstruction, neurologic or muscular disease.   

It is also possible that what you are describing could be coughing which ends with a retch and swallowing.  There are many causes of coughing in dogs including respiratory tract infection, chronic bronchitis, and heart disease.  

I suggest that you have your Pug evaluated by her primary care veterinarian or a veterinary internal medicine specialist in your area.  You may consider obtaining and bringing video, if possible, of what you are seeing your Pug do at home, to your visit with the veterinarian.  This will help the veterinarian be able to determine the best diagnostic and treatment plan for your girl.