Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. You should see your vet as soon as possible.It can be something serious like bloating of the stomach, ascites ( fluid in the abdomen), rupture of the diaphragm…

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Outward symptoms of bloat usually come on quickly after eating or drinking. Signs of bloat in dogs include: Dry heaves, or trying to vomit while producing nothing, referred to as “the hallmark symptom” Unproductive gagging, coughing.
If your dog`s stomach feels abnormally hard, that could be a sign that they`re dealing with a stomach issue. Common stomach issues that cause a hard stomach include gastric dilation volvulus, peritonitis, and Cushing`s disease. If your dog`s stomach is hard, you should take them to the vet right away.
Causes of Dry Heaving In Dogs

Dogs can start dry heaving or retching for many reasons including: Upper respiratory infection. A foreign object caught in your dog`s throat. Kennel cough.

If you notice this, call your veterinarian immediately. If it`s after hours, you should take him to the emergency vet. Bloat generally occurs when food or gas stretches the dog`s stomach. Some reasons for bloat can be fatal if left untreated.
It is important to understand the causes of gagging in order to provide the best care and treatment for your canine companion. Common causes of gagging include acid reflux, laryngeal diseases, megaesophagus, tracheitis, cricopharyngeal dysphagia, foreign material, and mass such as a polyp or cancerous mass.
The most common signs of upset stomach in dogs are diarrhea and vomiting. If your dog is nauseous, you may also see him eat grass to soothe his stomach or try to induce vomiting, says Jody Bearman, DVM at Anshen Veterinary Acupuncture, Madison, Wisconsin.
The classic sign of bloat is unproductive retching (it looks like your dog has to throw up but nothing comes out). The abdomen appears to be swollen and firm to the touch. Breathing may also appear to be labored and they may have a hard time getting up or even collapse.
Gagging pets, or sticking a finger or an object down their throats will not make them vomit because pets don`t have the same gag reflex as humans do. This method could actually cause trauma to the pet`s throat or could lead to the pet biting someone out of discomfort or fear. Olive oil is also problematic for pets.
If you notice that your dog is not acting normal, has a bloated belly, tries to vomit, circles like he cannot get comfortable, and has trouble breathing, you need to get your dog to a veterinary emergency hospital right away. This may be a life-threatening illness called bloat.
Non-productive retching, or dry heaving, in any breed dog is always considered an emergency due to the concern for a process called gastric dilation and volvulus (frequently referred to as GDV, or gas bloat).
Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss.
But, if the gagging is becoming more frequent or your dog is experiencing other symptoms, seems lethargic or something just seems “off” it`s a good idea to call the doctor. Based on your dog`s symptoms, severity, and medical history your vet may want to run some tests to rule out illness, or something in their airway.
Taking an x-ray of your dog`s abdomen is the only way to tell the difference between bloat and GDV, allowing for appropriate intervention. A dog with bloat can die in a matter of hours unless emergency gastropexy surgery is performed.
Dog Bloat – How Long Does It Last? In most cases of bloat the gas can actually shift after about 30 minutes. Try slowly walking your dog on the lead or gently massaging his belly to relieve some of the pressure. It`s a great sign if you hear him belch or break wind because it means that the gas is leaving his stomach!
Most often found in dogs over the age of six, Cushing`s syndrome causes bloat. Symptoms your pup may be experiencing this can include excess eating, drinking, and urinating, as well as unusual pacing and hair loss.
You Cannot Treat GDV at Home

There are no home remedies, medications, or supplements that are safe or effective to give a dog that is suffering from GDV/Bloat. No amount of Gas-X® or any other at-home or over-the-counter treatment will cure or help a dog or prevent GDV from developing.

A hard stomach can happen for various reasons, including constipation, gastric cancer, and some chronic digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Most dogs with a GI obstruction have severe abdominal pain as well as a lack of appetite. A classic sign of pain is the bowing down position. Your dog may not want to be touched on the tummy. Or she may groan and be tense and wide eyed when you touch her there.
If your dog is showing symptoms of an intestinal blockage, it is likely too late to induce vomiting. In this case, your veterinarian will start with a good physical examination, palpating (touching) the abdomen to check for pain or evidence of masses, foreign bodies, or intussusception.
What are the typical signs of pain in dogs? General behaviour: Shaking, flattened ears, low posture, aggression, grumpy temperament, panting or crying, excessive licking or scratching a specific area, reluctant to play, interact or exercise, lameness (limping), stiffness after rest, loss of appetite.
Chicken and rice are prime ingredients in many dog foods, and these mild foods sit well on upset canine stomachs. Plus, this bland meal is easy to prepare. All you need are boneless, skinless chicken breasts and rice.
Have you heard of GDV in dogs, or twisted stomach or bloat? It`s a serious condition that dogs can develop. Without treatment the condition can become fatal quickly.
Dry heaving in dogs may be due to eating food too quickly, or something more serious like bloating. You should schedule a visit with your veterinarian to determine the cause of your dog`s dry heaving. Serious causes of dry heaving include foreign object obstruction, bloating, and tumors.
Bloat is the colloquial name for one of two canine stomach disorders: gastric dilatation (GD), where the stomach fills with gas; and gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), where the gas-filled stomach then twists on itself. Both can cause shock because the distended, gas-filled stomach obstructs blood flow.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Which common foods are poisonous to pets?
ANSWER : A. That’s a great question. As responsible pet owners we need to be aware of food items that can be harmful to our canine or feline companions. Here are some of the most common foods proven to cause illness in our animals at home:

Chocolate: A favorite and irresistible treat amongst most humans, chocolate is considered toxic to dogs. In very small amounts it is usually not a huge issue, but with larger volumes and with darker chocolates pet owners should be concerned. Chocolate contains methylxanthine theobromine, which is similar to caffeine. Chocolate ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, issues with normal heartbeats, seizures, and in some severe cases, death. It is best to keep your favorite chocolate treats in a good hiding spot and out of reach of your dog or cat.

Grapes and raisins: Dogs should not consume grapes and raisins because of the risk of acute kidney failure. Most dogs experiencing grape or raisin toxicity will begin to have vomiting and/or diarrhea within 6-12 hours of ingestion. Other abnormal clinical signs include lethargy, abdominal pain, dehydration, and tremors. Kidney failure develops within 24-72 hours of the initial ingestion. There are some dogs that do not experience these devastating side effects. It is best to contact your veterinarian or veterinary emergency facility if you believe your pet has ingested grapes or raisins.

Garlic and onions: We often forget that our meals contain these two popular ingredients and will allow our furry companions a few bites or licks. Onion and garlic both can cause a type of poisoning that results in damage to red blood cells, making them more likely to rupture. They can also cause stomach upset and mouth irritation. Look for pale gums, increased breathing or drooling or any vomiting or diarrhea.

Bread dough: Unbaked bread dough is considered poisonous to our pets. The bread dough, when ingested, expands in the stomach because of the warm and moist environment. This can lead to a bloated or even twisted stomach. In addition yeast is often added to our baking products to help get bread to rise, and when this yeast is fermented it produces both carbon dioxide and alcohol. The alcohol produced can be absorbed into the bloodstream and causes dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Common clinical signs include vomiting or retching, distension of the stomach, weakness and collapse.

Macadamia nuts: Ingestion of these nuts are not proven to be fatal in dogs but can cause them to experience uncomfortable clinical sings, including fever, joint stiffness, vomiting, tremors and difficulty walking, especially in their hind legs. Often your pet will start to feel better after about 48 hours, but supportive veterinary care (such as pain medication) may help ease their discomfort.

Xylitol: The most common ingredient used in sugar-free gum is xylitol, which is a non-caloric sweetener. It is also found in some oral rinses, toothpastes and vitamins. Xylitol and dogs do not mix – it can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugars levels. Dogs will often display signs of disorientation, black tarry stool, tremors and seizures. If severe enough some dogs have developed liver failure. Keep your gum away from your canine companion.

Avocados: Avocados are not actually poisonous to dogs or cats but as many veterinarians can tell you the avocado pits can cause a foreign body obstruction. Avocados contain persin, which is actually toxic to the majority of pet birds. The abnormal clinical signs associated with avocado ingestion in birds include, respiratory distress, inability to perch, liver and kidney failure and sudden death.

Go forth and enjoy your favorite foods, but keep in mind which foods you should avoid sharing with your furry family members. Whenever in doubt, contact your veterinarian for healthy and safe food suggestions.

Q. Why do dogs eat grass?
ANSWER : A. Some pet parents get concerned when they see their favorite canine nibbling on grass in the yard. They wonder whether it is because hunger, boredom or an indication of an underlying illness. Often the consumption of grass will result in vomiting because it irritates the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. This is an extremely common problem for dog parents. There is no one reason for why dogs exhibit these behaviors and it is very much dependent on each dog. Here are some of the reasons why our dogs choose to eat grass:

1. Nutritional Issues

Historically speaking, dogs are considered omnivores, which mean they consume a variety of both meat and plant-based food. There is some indication that dogs with a low fiber diet may choose to scavenge in the grass to fulfill this nutritional deficiency. These dogs may also find that grass has an appealing flavor and consistency. If you feel that this may be the reason for your beloved canine consuming grass then consider discussing with your veterinarian on how to incorporate more fiber into your dog’s diet.

2. Boredom

Many dogs who are not receiving adequate exercise will be become bored and search out activities to occupy their time, including eating grass. Evaluate how much exercise your dog is getting on a daily basis and consider more walks or other fun activities, such as playing fetch or tug of war.

3. Upset Stomach

There is a belief that dogs with an upset or gassy stomach will self-medicate by consuming grass. Vomiting often follows this grass eating activity eliminating the contents of the stomach or changing the gas distension within the gastrointestinal tract. However, there is not much scientific evidence to back up this theory. If you are concerned about too much gastric acid in your dog’s stomach or any other underlying medical issue that could be the reason for their grass eating, consult with your veterinarian.

Overall, grass eating is usually not toxic to your dogs unless your lawn contains chemicals, including pesticides or herbicides. Monitor your dog’s behavior along with his diet and exercise to determine if there is a reason for the inappropriate grass snacking.

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. Why does my dog eat grass?
ANSWER : A. As another user mentioned, dogs can eat grass when they want to vomit. Sometimes, when a dog has an upset tummy, they will eat grass. If you notice your dog eating grass frantically, you can assume vomiting will shortly follow. Grass does not digest and pass normally. If your dog eats too much grass, it can cause serious issues with pooping. Your dogs poop can end up all tangled inside of her, and it can need veterinary assistance to remove it. The same goes for celery, so avoid feeding celery to your dog.

The other day my boyfriend accidentally left the laundry room door open where we were keeping the trash that was filled with cooked chicken bones. She ate one of the chicken bones lightning fast. We had to induce vomiting by feeding her some hydrogen peroxide. After we had fed her the peroxide, she immediately began frantically eating grass because her tummy was upset.

If there is something lacking in your dogs diet, it could be that your dog is eating grass to make up for it. I am sure that my dogs diet is extremely well balanced (I do not only feed her an air-dried raw food-type diet (Ziwipeak), but a wide variety of safe, healthy foods), so when she eats grass, I know that it is because she has an upset tummy.

That is why I think it is important making sure your dog has a very well balanced diet. If your dog is on a low quality kibble, your dog may be trying to let you know by eating grass (or eating poop).

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. Why does my dog eat grass? He throws up afterwards!
ANSWER : A. There is much debate over why dogs eat grass and then vomit afterwards. One theory is that the dog may have an upset stomach, and so eats the grass blades which then irritate the digestive system and causing vomiting to happen. Another theory is that the dogs are eating grass to mimic a “lost nutrient” of their ancestors found usually by hunting and then eating the contents of the stomachs of herbivores. A third theory is that dogs just do it because to them, it’s fun and they can.

If your dog has been vomiting a lot recently, either related to or unrelated to eating grass, then it is always a good idea to schedule a wellness exam with your vet to make sure there are not any issues causing illness. Grass, especially in areas where livestock may graze can also be a host for parasite eggs, which can in turn infect your dog with an internal parasite (and thus cause vomiting and diarrhea).

If your dog is not eating at all, this is more concerning and points further to some digestive upset causing his or her symptoms. Making an appointment with your vet as well as bringing in a sample of his or her stool is best for helping your pet feel better.

Q. My dog keep hacking like a cough or something in her throat, what can I do?
ANSWER : A. Hacking and coughing can be caused by a number of things ranging from foreign bodies such as twigs stuck in the mouth or throat, to infections or illnesses such as Bordetella or Kennel cough, common in dogs that frequent kennels, dog daycare or dog parks. In older dogs, heart and lung issues can also be indicated by a cough that does not go away.

If you think there may be a foreign object stuck in your dog’s throat, you can sweep a finger gently through the back of the mouth or throat if your dog will let you. If something feels stuck and is not easily moved by the finger, it is best to contact your vet to have the object safely removed. This usually requires sedation so that your dog does not become panicked or move, causing the object to become further stuck or cut the throat.

If your dog is showing other symptoms of illness in addition to the cough such as runny nose or eyes, fever, lethargy or changes in appetite, it may indicate a viral or bacterial illness such as kennel cough. These are usually treated with a cough medication in severe cases, plus rest and treatment of any additional symptoms until the condition improves. In bacterial causes, antibiotics may also be given to help your dog feel better.

If your dog has a constant cough that does not go away, or has had changes in ability to exercise, breathing, or appears to have swelling around the chest or abdomen, in may indicate a lung or heart issue. Your vet can thoroughly examine your dog for any signs of heart or lung problems and can then offer care as needed depending on the cause.