Natural Cures for Canine Megaesophagus

| Modified on Nov 10, 2017

Introduction To Canine Megaesophagus

Canine megaesophagus is a condition that can affect dogs of all types. Essentially, it is a condition that is caused when a dog's esophagus muscles collapse in certain sections, causing them to fail. This prevents food from properly passing through their esophagus and into their stomach.

While megaesophagus in dogs definitely sounds like a horrible condition for them to go through, there are certainly ways to treat it. Canine megaesophagus is not necessarily curable, but it is very treatable. With a little bit of work and some adjustments to a dog's eating and drinking routine, they can become comfortable and not suffer too much from the symptoms of megaesophagus, which include regurgitation of food and liquids, rapid weight loss, coughing, aspirational pneumonia, and more.

Megaesophagus Treatment

One of the most common ways to treat megaesophagus in dogs is to have them eat and drink in a vertical position. This can be done in a variety of ways, including with the help of specially designed chair devices or by simply holding them up when they eat. When this is done, it allows gravity to do its work, which helps to ensure that the food a dog is eating will pass through its esophagus successfully and reach its stomach without causing blockages of any kind. This can take some effort, but is well worth the trouble to ensure that a dog is comfortable and healthy. Also, it is a natural remedy that does not require medication. Thinner, less chunky foods have also been shown to help with this condition, as these types of foods are less likely to get caught in a dog's esophagus. While they are often not the first option, certain medications can make a difference with this condition too, which include acid reducing medicines and various motility drugs.

Overall, this condition is absolutely a tough one for any dog to deal with, but is fully treatable. Any dog with canine megaesophagus is fully capable of living a long and healthy life, as long as their owners can provide them with the care they need and take simple steps to make them comfortable.???

Raw Diet, Elevating Food, Sauerkraut

1 User Review
4 star (1) 

Posted by Jb (Atlanta,ga) on 11/19/2013

Greetings, one of my canine companions has Megaesophagus which I am managing naturally but, would like to hear from other people that has a pet with this malady.

I feed a raw diet, elevate the food, avoid activity after eating, serve smaller meals multiple times a day. Encourage my pet to sit for a while after eating. Recently, I have been adding homemade fermented cabbage (Sauerkraut) & this appears to help.

I will not use any Rx drugs, they have a history of bad side effects.

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey JB!

I am sorry to hear of your dog's affliction.

I am sure you have already read up, but this may have some additional helpful tips for you including a link to a support group:

Consider antacids to help minimize the damage to the esophagus, and nausea medication - homeopathic nux vomica - to reduce the feeling of nausea.

Additional ideas:

"based upon treatment of a similar condition called achalasia and people) These include Ypsiloheel, Spascupreel, Atropinum comp, Nux vomica Homaccord, and Gastricumeel. Whole food supplements may also be helpful in include the following from Standard Process: Organic Minerals, Cataplex B, and Paraplex. Supplements such as choline which have a direct positive effect on nerves may also be tried"


The Great Dane Lady discusses reversing this condition with thyroid medication and nutrition - see if this may apply for your dog:

‎Lastly, some report good results with Reiki and craniosacral therapy, and cures with accupuncture. It may be worth your while to check out a holistic vet for these types of therapies. The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association has a search function to find a holistic vet in your area:

This is one I found in Atlanta:

Please keep us posted on your pet!

Replied by Jb

Thanks Theresa,

I have been using the NuxV & Aloe which is soothing. I also read about Slippery Elm which I will try. She has been having a bad patch lately & am trying several feeding positions. I am looking for an acupuncturist & information on acupressure to stimulate the esophagus. It is so exasperating, one day she is fine, next day miserable. Will keep you posted. Thanks for the links.

Replied by Sandra
(California, US)

When that happens to mine, I use magnesium glycinate tablet or capsule (50-100mg for a 30 lb dog) Use only glycinate form due to it will not cause loose stool like the oxide form. Crush it and mix with just enough baby food strained meat and apply it as a paste on the roof of the mouth. Mine starts to pant when hers is getting tight. The magnesium does the trick. You might want to give half the dose and monitor. It will make them very relaxed. You know how some kids never stop moving? Magnesium deficiency is one factor. It is an absolutely necessary mineral for the normal relaxation of the muscles. Good luck~

Replied by Jb

Thanks Sandra, I will try the mag gly. I have been using Slippery Elm tea & that has been working well. Occasionally when she starts the panting business, a dose Nux Vomica seems to settle her.

I am feeding 2xs a day & have her sit as I dole out small meatballs rolled in the SE tea. She has been keeping her food down fairly well & is gaining weight. YAY!

Replied by Jb

After years of dealing with this malady I am having GREAT Success with:

1 Feeding 2xs a day

2 Making Pet SIT while feeding. No major exercise after feeding. I do not use a Baily Chair, just make her sit to feed.

3 Feeding small meatballs of food coated with a slime of Slippery Elm Tea. I roll meatballs in tea solution.

4 If any problems arise, later after eating a dose of Nux Vomica & maybe a little Slippery Elm.

5 If pet regurgitates, give them some SE or Aloe to coat/cleanse esophagus.

This has worked to keep food down & calm my Belgian Malinois. Thank God, she is gaining weight.

Replied by Joan
(San Diego, CA)

I read about the success feeding the Belgium Malinois with dog food (canned?) rolled in "meatballs" coated with slippery elm slime. Can you please explain how you get the SE tea to a "slime" consistency? I have a 6 year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever that has ME and still searching for solutions. Also curious if you ever tried the Bailey chair. The ME Yahoo group pretty much indicates that the Bailey chair is the best solution out there. I want to get one made, but can't find the directions to have one made. I don't want to pump my dog full of meds and working full time (10+ hours a day), makes it impossible to feed multiple times per day.


Replied by Katherine Chapman
(Markdale, Ontario CA)

Joan, if you are still looking for plans for building a Bailey Chair, just google Bailey Chair plans, the ISSUU Construct a Bailey Chair by For Paws Hospice site has plans .There's also a Utube video on building one and there's also a site to buy plans for $6.00.. My friend made one for his German Shepherd, the main thing is to measure your dog to make sure it's the right size..One of my dogs has it now so I'm needing one too!

Replied by Catalina
(Marina Del Rey)

I'm a little confused about the magnesium. With mega esophagus the peristalsis muscles are sort of atrophied so why would I want to relax the muscles? Wouldn't I want to tighten them so the food does not collect and then get regurgitated? I understand the benefits of magnesium in general but in regards to this condition, I'm a bit confused. Anybody?

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Catalina!

Mega esophagus is a condition where peristalsis fails to occur properly which in turn leads to the muscles atrophying.

While it is true that magnesium can help relax muscles, magnesium serves a critical role in nervous system function and energy production. The magnesium in this case helps to aid/restore proper nerve function.

Replied by Colleen
(San Jose Ca)


I have a Chihuahua and Jack Russell Terrier Mix who turned one in April. Her name is Nibbles. She was healthy and had her rabies and Bordetella vaccination. About 6-days later she began to cough and thought due to the outside temperatures (extreme heat 105, next day 75) it was causing her to cough or possible allergies. On the 8th day after her vaccinations it was HORRIBLE. I took her into the vet and they said she has Kennel Cough. I had no idea what Bordetella vaccine was, I looked it up and sure enough it is for Kennel Cough. I immediately called the vet and they placed her on cough suppressants and doxycline antibiotics. She seemed to improve but out of the blue she began to pant excessively and cough uncontrollably. Took her immediately to the vet and had x-rays etc. done. Again, another dose of antibiotics and more cough suppressants. I received a call this morning that the radiologist read her x-rays and they are certain that she does not have kennel cough (that this aggravated) but that she has Megaesophagus. That I need to bring her in and do a series of blood work etc. as this is an underlying condition that could lead to Addison's Disease (Cushings) or worse, Myasthenia gravis. My husband is a respiratory therapist and he said we need to just let her live her life and try to do things naturally. Instead of forking over THOUSANDS of dollars for a "what if" instead of a "cure" we are not going to waste our money on nonsense. When I mentioned I wanted to call my insurance company and add get her on Pet Insurance, the vet said "due to it being a NOW pre-existing condition, no one will cover her! " So as I am reading this I am realizing that my dog, who is not only our baby girl but our companion is NOT gravely ill and will die without all these EXPENSIVE tests... and can have not only eat upright, smaller meals, hand feed her etc. I will do what it takes to make her comfortable and healthy. She started with these symptoms a month ago tomorrow 7/4/15. I know it is early, but I am so thankful for you all giving me inspiration on keeping our "lil angel" healthy and happy. That she can with time, be the playful lil one she was before all this took place.

I will pick up some magnesium glycinate tabs, as well as the tea that is mentioned.

Thank you so much and if anyone has any other helpful ideas of a homeopathic way of dealing with ME I would, my husband, and of course Nibbles would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you!!!!

Replied by Rob
(Utica Ny)

It was the same with my dog. Just several months shy of his 10th birthday started with the same symptoms of coughing/hacking and vomiting piles of foamy liquid phlegm. After several weeks and some antibiotics the cough seemed to clear up but vomiting persist. Finally diagnosed with ME. Several months later. After testing different texture of foods/ removing fluids and meds. As well as using a bailey chair He is vomiting/regurging everyday. I do not know what else to try now. Magnesium if you have tried, does it work? I am wondering, and now thinking back over the years he has always had an off stomach, where sometimes he just would not eat during his morning feeding. His stomach would be gurgling and whatnot. But after it cleared up he would eat and be fine, and also though not often, occasionally over the years, and more recently several times frequently before his diagnosis he would regurge all his food. I never thought anything about it. My thinking is now is that it is something else causing the vomiting/regurging after eating, more related to his stomach. He is down over 20 pounds since May 2015 when diagnosed. Vomiting/regurging usually hours after feeding, though sometimes sooner. I am going to take him in and see if there is more going on. When they did tests and xrays they did not do lower.

Replied by Jb

For some of you having a dog that suddenly coughs/hacks after given vaccinations, it could be reaction to Rabies Vac. It can cause partial paralysis of esophagus. I had a Dach's that face swelled up after vacs, stopped them all. Rabies vaccinations can cause a lot of problems.

For my dogs, I have found another helpful tip beyond what I posted above.. If my Girl shows symptoms of difficulty I gently massage trachea, all the way down to breast bone. Seems to help move food along.

For the one lady that asked about the Slippery Elm, I keep adding & dissolving in warm h2o until it is slightly thickened. I store it in the refrigerator & warm it a bit to use.

Replied by Deborah

What role does magnesium glycinate tab play in panting episodes after a dog eats in megaesophagus? Why does a dog pant and seem uncomfortable after eating?


Buffalo, New york

Replied by Jeri

What dose and frequency of Nux Vomica would be advised for a 76 lb. Boxer? Thank you.

Replied by Allie
(Ontario, Canada)

My Maltese has ME. She is almost 3 yrs old. We have been managing this for almost 1 yr now. I have found the best recipe for her is a raw diet, however I mix it up in a blender. It's almost like a raw dog smoothie...I also give this to her in a slow feeder bowl. As long as there are no chunks & it's liquidy enough...she doesn't throw up. I also brush her teeth, as she can't have anything else. I have a homemade toothpaste I have just started using & it's great! When we first found out she had this, she went from 7 lbs to almost 5!!! She was a walking skeleton. I cried almost everyday! I was using Acana kibble at the time, just added water and blended it. She did fine on that, but wasn't gaining weight. She is now back to herself!!! You wouldn't know she had any issues until it comes to feeding time!!! It's manageable & she's not uncomfortable anymore!!

Replied by Rebecca

I want to start using slippery elm for my girl Saint. We are in a rough patch with regurge happening after most meals and I feel like I just need to calm her insides down. We used to use a shot of Cerenia when we hit a bad patch, but I'd like to use something less intense and more natural. My question is - Is the tea the best way to use it? She can't handle water - I have to add Thick It to get it to stay down, so a tea probably isn't going to work for Saint. Instead, could I crush/open up a capsule and mix the powder into her food?

Replied by Rebecca

Would you mind sharing what sort of raw food you include in the smoothie? I'd like to try to transition from the wet food and Ensure diet we are using for Saint onto a more raw/natural diet but I don't know where to start.

Replied by Valerie
(Los Angeles, Ca)

I was wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing what type of slow feeder bowl you use for your doggie. Mine has ME and she eats way too fast; however, all of the bowls seems to deep to me. But, she is around the same weight as your dog. Any advice would help.


Replied by Maggie

Would you mind sharing your recipe for the homemade toothpaste for your dog? Thank you.